I have, unfortunately, been bullied by the English media into get quite involved in the World Cup (in Scotland, of course, the very mention of the world cup, especially in relation to England, is likely to see you being brutally murdered). Don’t get me wrong, I was predisposed towards a certain mild interest, supporting the English team out of a duty towards heritage, but now I’m behind them one hundred per cent.
If you’re reading this from outside the UK, you might be of the opinion that it is the media’s grandstanding patriotism and optimism that have driven me to care about the kicking about of an inflated pig’s bladder by men being paid enormous sums of money to do so. Perhaps I have been brainwashed by the consistent declaration by the pundits that we are the best team in the world, and will romp home with the cup. Alas, if this were the case, I would probably recoil from the whole thing and get on with other things.
Instead, the media have done nothing but stamp on the reputation of the team, and their efforts. In England, apparently, winning three of four matches, and drawing the fourth, isn’t enough. Winning the opening group isn’t enough. Getting to the quarter final isn’t enough. England not only have to win, but they have win with a flair and style that clearly demonstrate that the competition is a moot point, and that all other countries should stop wasting our valuable time with this tournament nonsense, and just give us the cup.
According to the media, we aren’t playing well enough (although, so far, the team are clearly playing well enough to get to the quarter finals, after many other worthy nations have been knocked out). The media demands blistering perfection of the players and the team, and finds fault at every opportunity. A particularly fine example came after the match against Ecuador, which England won. The captain, David Beckham, scored the only goal of the game with a frankly beautiful free kick. That goal put England into the quarter final of the world cup. You would expect accolades of national heroism, but all he seems to have got is a kicking from the media for not being brilliant often enough.
All of which is driving my sympathies towards the men on the ground, playing on and winning despite the heinous kicking their reputations are getting at home. It’s making a supporter of me, damn it. I want England to win, not in order to demonstrate that they are better than other teams, but to kick sand in the face of the whinging UK media.