Sunday, July 02, 2006



Yes, there is little else to say about the World Cup Quarter Final last night except that I like many English are totally gutted and dejected at what is becoming all to commonplace for our national side. Despite one of the best crop of players in the world, undoubtedly some of the best fans, and a performance to be very proud of (yet again, no team dies as nobly) we have again fallen to a dodgy reffing decision and the nightmare lottery of penalties. Believe it or not we have been knocked out on penalties in 5 of the last 9 major championships. In fact in the last 10 years (6 major competitions) we have only lost one knockout stage match and that only by a goal to the eventual champions in 2002 - Brazil. What could have been!

I do not feel some of the negative feelings that I felt in my younger years. In the end I blame no-one. We gave our all, the opposition played fairly and although the ref made a dire decision, that is life. Unfortunately I am sure his life will take a turn for the worse - he does not need another person’s animosity and so he does not have mine. Quite possibly negligence but I am sure an honest mistake which FIFA will undoubtedly condone due to technical regulations. It is just such a pity that it should happen just as we were getting it right…what could have been!

I have to move on, ever the optimist, even if in a dejected mode. I look forward to that elusive victory in my life that will taste ever the sweeter for past loss.

Despite the result, half of what I will remember of this occasion is the lead up to it. A fourty-eight hour race that took us from one end of the country to the other with no time to spare. Some of the memories of that I will note below.

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