Tuesday 8 January 2019

Tottenham For Hire - Parties, Weddings, Cup heartbreak

So in the end, England went out of the greatest tournament in the world in eerily the same manner that Tottenham Hotspur, the club that literally most represented them, went out of the greatest club and domestic cup competitions last season.

Tottenham too, were a goal up and buzzing with momentum in the first half of their second leg Champions League quarter final tie against Juventus at Wembley. Then the Italians scored two in the second half to go through. Tottenham too, were a goal up in the first half of the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United at Wembley, with Harry Kane unable to turn in a chance for 2-0. Then Manchester United equalised and scored a second half winner to go through.

Even in the League Cup the pattern was the same, 2-0 up in their 5th round match against West Ham at - again - Wembley, only to lose three goals to the soon-to-be-departed Slaven Bilic's side.

England against Croatia were the most careless, though, Jesse Lingard of United joining Kane - looking every inch the equal of his Euro 2016 self - in wasting golden chances to kill the game by half time. Then the Croatians scored in both normal time and extra time to go through. On the highlights, Guy Mowbray - too concerned to bother Danny Murphy with knob gags - saw the demise coming at 1-1.

And so it is the dead men walking of Croatia that will play France in the Final. Luka Modric was critical of the English after, for having rubbed their hands in anticipation of his team's apparent fatigue and constant droaning on of It's Coming Home. Gary Neville surely didn't need to counter Modric's 'attack' as he did. Modric was just puffed up and defiant after an emotional win, as he's surely allowed to be. As Neville himself said in the minutes before the semi-final, England "have taken us to a place we've never been  before", so how then can he can know what that place feels like? I bet he was sneering at those Bayern Munich players in their Nou Camp changing room in 1999. "Where were the Germans...or where are the wooden spoons, for that matter, sure I had one in here, can't bloody understand how these things happen, still I've got six years before that documentary".

I can relax now and look forward to Sunday, with licence to be patronisingly pleased that England fans got to enjoy a fun summer watching their team. Although England's presence pains me, it's better that people in this country are ignited rather than dispirited. A succession of dismal failures seems like it would lead to a death of something. If no one supported England in England then I probably would probably actually get behind the team (subject to personnel), but lots do and a lot of people get carried away, which I find annoys me, while realising that getting carried away is the whole point. We can't affect what happens, so why not dream and go with it and get excited? There's certainly enough in life not to get excited about at the moment.

But I'm glad the England fans won't be so excited by the Final now.    


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