Thursday, September 10, 2009

Speculating about the World Cup

"We didn't expect such a crushing defeat. Not in our worst nightmares were we expecting this. It was not a normal defeat. It was humiliation."

- Slavan Bilic, talking about Croatia's 1-5 loss against England

Today we are all Croatians.

Losing 5-1 against England is a national tragedy, and the world feels Croatia's pain. If there's one thing worse than being beaten in an international sporting event, it's being beaten by England. It's something Australians experienced a few weeks ago when we lost the Ashes, and still doesn't feel right.

There's something profoundly wrong about being beaten by England. Over the years, various international sporting competitions have been set up with the express purpose of allowing nations the chance to beat England in the most humiliating manner possible. Think about the World Cups for rugby, cricket and football, the Olympics, Wimbledon and (until recently) the Ashes. All these events are designed to lure England into thinking they've arrived into the "elite" group, and then once their expectations are high, thrash them within an inch of their lives.

But from the looks of things, the world might be in for a surprise in 2010. By hiring Capello, they've managed to turn their squad of talented, gormless individuals into something that looks frighteningly like a decent side - and one that has a chance of progressing past the quarter-finals.

I'm hoping this is yet another cunning plan conducted by FIFA. Give England a good coach, drill them into a long unbeaten run, get them thinking they've a genuine chance at the World Cup, and then make sure they're splendidly spanked in the quarter-finals again....

By Australia.

It's possible. We're also guilty of thinking we're better than we are, and we've got the same kind of boozy, jingoistic, nationalistic fans. Only the world loves Australia, and the world hates England. So what better way rubbing England's face in the mud than being beaten by a turgid, boring Australian side, whose fans can be guaranteed to act as boorish in a victory as their English counterparts?

Anyway, hopefully this is the plan. Because the idea that England has a genuine chance at the World Cup is too terrifying to contemplate. I mean, this is what England's captain said after their win last night:

"Their No17 spat at me. It's not a nice reaction. He came on frustrated, but it's not nice at all. He's the first person who's ever spat at me in my career. It's disappointing to see, but let's not let it ruin a massive night."

Those nasty foreigners again, hey Terry?


Vertino Aleci said...

wow and I thought my last post was Anti-England :p the problem is england think they are the best even before it is proven, you have to win something to command any sort of respect.

Connolly's agent said...

It's the duty of every patriotic Australian to bag the POMS, Vertino.