Monday, 28 June 2010

World Cup, Day 17

I had booked a window-seat for my evening train home, having spent the weekend in Leeds where I watched the match on a big screen at Headingley Stadium. In a moment of weakness, I deemed my reflection pretty cool - big shades, High Violet entering my brain through white wires, a slide show of daring sunset and browned acres moving over a tired me: another wretched passenger sipping on a beer leftover from an unsurprising, hot afternoon.
Instead of apologising for this vanity, I go on and wonder about Brazil 2014, Jacks Rodwell & Wilshere, Johnsons Glen & Adam, Hart, Huddlestone, Lennon, Milner and Rooney four years the better, and I'm thinking up a football revolution to crush the foreordained failure that characterises our every World Cup. It's simple; a shift from domestically decorated, awkward and overrated anti-heroes to a winning blend of the dogmatic and the inventive who may not be Premiership medalists: the current and permanent philosophy of glorified kick-and-rush has never helped England, a top 10 team in the world, towards any meaningful victory. We are still a set piece team, our master debilitated and tuxed on the sidelines.

The permanent obstacle is the hegemony transgressing media, pub, school; that there are people who really believe John Terry and Frank Lampard are fine football players and are not utterly dependant on being partnered by babysitters - Chelsea's cultured imports who make life extremely easy for these one-dimensional, hackneyed gargoyles. Neither should play for England again, but both will. Were Mowbray & Lawrenson being sincere in commentary, or were they just pandering to the dumb aspect of nationalism that shows how poorly evolved we are? Apparently Neuer isn't a good goalkeeper. When he comes and punches the ball away from the penalty area, he is "all over the place." Apparently Capello would only swap "one or two players" with the victors, despite the truth on the pitch and in the trophy cupboard, that Germany are a far superior footballing nation to England. There's underestimating and then there's idiotic patronising or unwarranted hatefulness. Are there young English people who really hate Germany? If so, shame on them. The war-jokes are dated and boring like popular culture generally is on these shores; dated and boring like James Corden's sense of humour, who really could do with a fist of mustard gas. Germany ought to be admired and cheered on now for their professionalism and penetrative attacking football.

The fear of the other is holding this country back, a burden inconducive to realistic, great expectations. I would cherish seeing our most talented (non-Spurs!) players go and achieve things in La Liga, Bundesliga or Serie A. Yet despite England's three stand-out performers in the last decade having each spent invaluable time abroad - David Beckham, Michael Owen and arguably Owen Hargreaves - dispassionate followers of football are still reluctant to lose compatriots from shabby highlights packages on a Saturday night. More worryingly, it makes no sense for agents or families to encourage players to take flight from home and the celebrity epicentre that is the Premiership. What an imaginative, indescribable player Gerrard could have been had he spent a few seasons in Spain. How I would love to see Madrid snap up, and complete, Rooney. There is nothing remotely English about this league: an Australian tycoon's overinflated toy whose greatest managers are Scottish, Italian, Portugese and French. It's no wonder Arsene Wenger always scouts overseas, and it's a real shame his tactical influence on his peers has been scarce. It starts with a child learning to trap a ball, to pass into space, to find more space. It has to start now or we'll go on getting bad results.

Thank you for following my World Cup blog. Until four years time... Auf Wiedersehen.

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