World Cup diary 2018 – Sunday 24 June
Okay, okay…I should be reflecting on how Germany got themselves out of a hole by beating Sweden with ten-men with a last gasp fabulous free-kick, in only a way that Die Mannschaft seem to be able to do. And yes I probably should be talking about how Belgium looked frighteningly good in their demolition of Tunisia 5-2 or how Mexico took a giant stride towards progression to the last 16 with a 2-1 victory over South Korea.
However, the truth is that I simply can’t…I’m just too nervous. It’s that horrible gut wrenching feeling that comes with watching England when it comes around to tournament time. It’s strange but having watched Fulham secure a return to the Premier League at Wembley against Aston Villa, there was a strange calm about the game, despite having only a slender 1-0 advantage and having to play out the final twenty minutes with ten-men. It is just never the same with England.
The curious think is that it seems to have got worse as I’ve got older. Watching the 1982 tournament in Spain was enjoyable yet ultimately disappointing, but by 1986 and Mexico the dread had kicked in and so all subsequent competitions whether the European Championship or the World Cup have become increasingly tortuous. It possibly has a great deal to do with the way the Three Lions get themselves knocked out whether it be a contentious decision, penalties or just being plain awful.
Oh that today the team strolls to a 3-0 half-time lead over Panama and comfortably sees out the second-half. However, the reality is that it just transfers the feeling to the next game and the inevitability of an exit in the way only England can manage to do.