I write this post at least three sheets to the wind. I am intoxicated, not because England beat Slovenia 1-0, but in spite of it (by the way, my “e” key is sporadic for some reason, any other typos are down to inebriation).
So, England have trounced the Slovenians one goal to nil.
Fact is, our glorious team are — allegedy — drawn from players who compete in the toughest league in the world. Yet, when it comes to inetrnatonial comptitions, they behave like Vauxhall Conference footballers, not the Premiership.
The 1-0 scoreline, consequently, betrays what it is to be English. Do just enough. Winning the last match means we scrape through into the next round. That is England personified. As a nation, we scrape through.
Whenever England — or Britain — is faced with a life or death challenge, we scrape through.
Isn’t that enough? The history of mankind is replete with stories of people who went above and beyond, including at times the English — or indeed the British — (Dunkirk, The Battle of Britain, Eurovision).
No, England are good at scraping through and, in the grand scheme of things, while everyeone remembers the winners and losers, no-one remembers the also-rans.
Ultimately, however, it is the also-rans who are left to write the history of how all this came to pass.
I think this comes to explain, partly, how a small country on the fringes of Europe came to dominate almost a third of the world’s population, and why the United Kingdom — let’s be honest, England — is still among the most powerful nations on the planet (we’re just a SIXTH the size of Madagascar, for fox’s sake).
Er, that’s it
Aside from the fact that, at this moment in time, it feels damn good to be English.
POSCTSCRIPT: I couldn’t get this to launch from my Blackberry — damn beta software — and so I arrved home to discover a tennis match (Mahut vs Isner) at Wimbledon which, as I write, is into its ninth hour and is currently 56 games each in the fifth set.
The players are one Frenchman and one American. Perhaps they are clinging on to the hope of “scraping through”, for it is inevitable that whosoever triumphs will depart quickly in the next round to be played tomorrow)
At least they will have the dubious honour of completing the longest match in Wimbledon — even tennis — history. Surely one for pub-quizters everywhere
All we really need is a few vuvuzelas.
- Wimbledon 2010: British tennis players are ‘spoiled’ claims Kim Clijsters (guardian.co.uk)
- Isner, Mahut playing longest match in history (nbcsports.msnbc.com)
- What would an England World Cup triumph mean for Scotland? (snptacticalvoting.com)