I am sitting by my TV waiting for the start of England vs Czechia. Why do I sign up for this inevitable disappointment, check my name on the list of the 40 million who think we’re due a trophy, sit down with cheap snacks and then fall asleep? The misery of it. For 55 years. As a ten year old, I thought we would win the 1970 World Cup and ended up aghast and howling. As a 26 year old, I thought we would win the 1986 World Cup. And... and so on. We don’t win because we eschew the talent and stifle the rest. We are the greatest example of why utilitarianism is a flawed credo.
Oh, but football. It can still on occasions exhilarate way beyond any reasonable remit. And even make one cry. Denmark 4-1 Russia. What a fabulous game, hewn out of hubris and desperation and team spirit. What a brilliant sport this can be when so much is at stake. A beautiful and wonderful sport — better for a multitude of reasons than its close rivals — the moronfest of basketball, cricket with its agreeable longueurs. And rugby’s homoerotic, talentless, thuggery. Football has catharsis and a balletic beauty. It is for Everyman. I actually cried at the end of that Russia game. What a wonderful thing to happen, don’t you think?
But back to England. Forget everything that long-faced idiot has told you, England. Strut. Show off. Score a goal or two. You know you want to.