Match 3: England 1 (MBE 57) Croatia 0
I have no animus against Croatia. Catholic Slavs who think they’re Austrians, basically: not a bad mix. Many of my friends, the Spiked lot – ie former Revolutionary Communist Party – turn puce if you mention the name of the country. My mate Mick Hume, for example, wouldn’t dream of going there on holiday. Ustase! Nazi collaborators! Ah live and let live, Mick. Look at Luka Modric’s mournful little face – how can you not love him? And their islands. I’ve had such wonderful meals on islands named by an imbecile: Krk, Rab, Pag.
Horseface left Jack Grealish out but otherwise picked a reasonable side. Further, the knee taking was so brief nobody noticed – I do hope the brevity does not delay the onset of racial equality. For fifteen minutes England looked like world champions but then Croatia packed the midfield and gradually Phil Foden and Mason Mount faded from the game. Harry Kane, meanwhile, didn’t get a touch. It looked, for quite a while, like the familiar boring old England, bereft of ideas. But a moment of brilliance from Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips stretched the Croatia defence wide open and Raheem Sterling poked the ball home. Later he missed an absolute sitter with all the time in the world, but we won’t hold that against him. He is probably the most naturally gifted forward we have had since Michael Owen. Football’s coming home, then. Oh yeah.
Elsewhere a player, Christian Eriksen, almost died when Denmark played Finland and needed CPR treatment. Oh – and the Belgians smashed Russia 3-0. They are looking ominously good, the Belgians, which is annoying. I hate Belgium as much as Mick Hume hates Croatia. It’s basically just a flat field used as a venue for world wars and inhabited by pederasts who have become accomplished at making chocolate only so they can tempt children with it.
Man of the Match – Kalvin Phillips (England).
Pointless feature of the TV coverage – two women interviewing each other for the BBC at half time and agreeing that it was quite warm out there and the players would probably get quite hot.