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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Sunday June 27 2010

I just came across this during a cricinfo commentary (on the third England Australia ODI):

Those of you in Europe who want to follow the cricket, but unfortunately not the UK, there’s ESPN Player which will service all your needs today and for the rest of the English summer.

Does this mean uninterrupted and free telly type coverage on a computer?  Maybe I will have that trip to Brittany after all.  More to the point, how about a trip to Brittany next winter, to watch Australia England, aka The Ashes?  Having now gone to this ESPN site, full of talk as it is of £8.99 for this and £12.99 for that, I get the strong feeling that the answer is: forget about it.

As for the actual cricket today, Australians should be told that throughout Michael Clarke’s innings, whenever an Australian wicket fell, I was thinking: I hope it’s not Clarke.  And I bet I wasn’t the only England fan thinking this.  Clarke is now the kind of batsman we England fans want to stay in.  There is no more horrible criticism of a one-day batsman.  Today Clarke batted at number four for over an hour without hitting a single boundary.  A real match-losing innings.  Australia lost momentum fatally (after a good start), and were all out for 212.  If England don’t knock that off and go to a 3-0 lead, they’ll kick themselves.  Ponting is also having a horrible run with the bat, but England are surely still very pleased to see the back of him for very little, as they did today.

As for the footy, now under way between Germany and England (1-0 to Germany now), I am surprised more has not been made of England’s failure to score just one more goal in the group games, and thereby avoid Germany, and Argentina if they get past Germany, in later rounds.  I seem to recall this happening in earlier World Cups.  Now it’s 2-0.  So that would seem to be that.

I promise not to turn this blog into uninterrupted sport.  There will be kittens.  Bridges.  London photos.  And reasons for the private ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.

Oh God.  Now England have scored, and for the first time, I heard noises in Pimlico, howls of joy.  Dear God it was nearly 2-2, with what looked like a rerun of the England was-it-or-wasn’t it goal in 1966, that was, but this time was not.  Then Germany nearly scored at the other end.  I can not take much more of this.  I will now go out and buy fruit in Pimlico’s deserted supermarkets.

They just showed the replay of the goal-that-wasn’t.  No doubt about that one.  Russian linesman?

LATER:  I have my fruit, and actually the supermarkets were not that deserted, although they were quieter.  I heard no more howls of triumph, only the odd cry of frustration.  Plus, I put my head round a couple of pub doors.  3-1.  4-1.  Oh dear.  Crifinfo again:

It’s full time in Bloemfontein, and England have crashed out of the 2010 World Cup ... Meanwhile, at Old Trafford we have a double change with Ryan Harris back into the attack.

SQOTD I think.  Indeed.

In the long run, Germany winning 4-1 as opposed to 2-1 (and the goal that should have been) should be good for England: a wake up call.

Let’s not forget that this was a “Golden generation,” “a better team, man-for-man, than Germany,” but which somehow, didn’t feel the need to practise with the actual match ball, or to pick a squad of fit players, or to have combinations that had actually played together before, or in a range of team formations.

After the Wembley disaster of 1953, 6-3 win by Hungary, changes were made in the organisation of English football and its national team that led towards the 1966 world cup.

If the League Cup is abolished, and either the Premier league is cut by two teams (34 games) or split into two divisions (playing each other four times for 36 games), possibly a winter break, and some of the top English clubs can copy AC Milan’s medical and training facilities, the basic conditions could exist for a world cup win one day.

But the real problem is the fantasy that merely emoting the whim to win (loudly) is a substitute for preparation and tactics. The supporters have this fantasy by the bucketful, but it seems the players agree. I never want to hear the word “passion” used in relation to a soccer team I support, except AFTER the final whistle of the final game.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 27 June 2010

I don’t quite get all this fuss about a winter break.  I really don’t see how players in June will be fresher due to a break in January.

If you want to give them a break wouldn’t the sensible thing be to do it immediately after the end of the season?  Two weeks on the beach didn’t do Denmark any harm in 1992.

I think Antoine makes an important point about the supporters.  In fact, I’d go much further.  The supporters are the <i>primary/i> reason why England fail.  They create a pressure cooker atmosphere in which failure is the only option.

That’s why I do the patriotic thing and refuse to take the slightest interest in the team.

Posted by Patrick Crozier on 28 June 2010

Yes, “Oh, that looks interesting”. <click links>. “No, way too expensive and probably not reliable” was my response to the ESPN player thing, too.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 29 June 2010
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