You never see Brazil doing it. Or the Germans. Or the Italians. But England? The minute our highly-paid superstars pull on the three lions shirt and have the eyes of the world on them on the football pitch, they demonstrate just how prone they are to shooting themselves in the foot. Often their own feet are the only thing they seem capable of hitting when they shoot.
I’m not a huge football fan and yet I was starting to get swept along with the optimism that another World Cup campaign brings and the cacophony of vuvuzalas that accompanied the kick-off on Saturday. A couple of hours later and it was all over. A schoolboy goal keeping error by our country’s first choice keeper. I’m sure none of the other teams in the competition will be quaking at the prospect of facing England when they know how prone we are to the unscripted error and inability to take a penalty.
I guess you can say it was just unlucky for Rob Green. The last thing in the world (cup) he wanted to do was be humiliated and let down the nation. But it was as much the inability of other star players (notably Frank Lampard in my opinion) to perform while dealing with the weight of a country’s expectations resting on their shoulders that causes more concern going forward.
The papers also revealed that Rob Green was hiding the heartache of a break-up from his long term girlfriend when he took to the pitch against the USA. We all know that what goes on in our personal life can affect our professional life. But if it is affecting him that badly, he should either be getting counselling or ruling himself out on personal grounds.
So for Rob Green and for Fabio Capello as well, the honeymoon is over. Fabio will be judged hero or villain on the back of these next few games in South Africa. Whatever the final verdict, the nation will be gripped by World Cup fever.
I mentioned in this blog a couple of weeks ago that this competition could be the breaking point for some relationships. But a reader also pointed out to me that the opposite is also true. Many lasting relationships are made while cheering from the sidelines – and in the past successful England campaigns have co-coincided with baby booms nine months later. So it seems that scoring on the pitch has a direct link to scoring off the pitch as well.
We shall see what Friday brings.
Come on England.