Monday, June 11, 2012

It's all about the footie

I probably shan't be blogging all that much for the next three weeks. I won't be doing anything about sorting my life out either. I am currently on an indefinite vacation... and greatly enjoying the reckless self-indulgence of that. 

Having a major football tournament on, and being able to watch it in a convenient timezone (for the first time in 10 years!), is yummy icing on an already delicious cake.

At the weekend, I launched a Euro 2012 discussion thread on my disreputable drinking blog. Please go and take a look at that if you share my passion for the game (and might like to hazard some predictions of how the various competing nations will fare).

I am feeling a - probably foolhardy! - rush of optimism about England's chances. We have the best balanced team we've put out in a decade, and finally some promising young blood coming through.

And I fancy a speculative wager on Croatia as a 'dark horse' challenger. They have been absurdly underrated by the bookmakers, and have a very good chance of making it at least as far as the semi-finals.

Anyway, I have offered more detailed prognostications over on that comment thread. Now, to get us in the mood... here is THAT Paul Gascoigne goal: the spark of genius against Scotland at Wembley that kickstarted our tournament for us when we hosted the European Championship in 1996. [Not very good picture quality; but it seems to be the only full clip available at the moment. And it will probably get removed from YouTube soon, so enjoy it while you can. Hmm, maybe I should try to find it on the - less well policed! - Chinese video-sharing site Youku instead...]

Marvellous as that goal was (I've celebrated it on here before), I think the greatest and most sustained ecstasy I have experienced in supporting England was our drubbing of the Dutch in the next game. Shearer, Sheringham and Gazza were rampant - this is the best my national team has played in my lifetime.

Come on, England!!


FOARP said...

Somehow I still manage to convince myself every time a big competition comes around that England are in with a chance. Even this time. Why? How?

Froog said...

I think this time we really are in with a chance. Germany and Spain are not as invincible as people suppose, France and Italy are still rebuilding after a disastrous last World Cup, and Holland and Portugal are quite poor now.

I think I haven't felt this bullish about our chances... well, possibly ever. We're probably not as good as we were in '96, but we're not very far short. We just need one or two players to come alive and have really outstanding tournaments: Rooney, Gerrard, Welbeck, Hart - any of these guys could make the difference for us. Believe!

I may do a post on why I rate our chances so highly a bit later on today.