Despite my outward protestations of the Ing-ger-land team and how I really can’t stand international football, this tournament side of it I have found rather useful, so naturally I’ve tried my hardest to properly get into the swing of it when England have been playing. I am three quarters English after all.
But as I look back on the England vs Iceland game last night, boy am I glad I had a German grandmother, because that link allows me to focus my allegiances on a half-decent team now. Plus they have Mesut Özil.
As for England, well, they were abject. If I was typing this blog from my computer and not my iPhone, I’d probably be hitting ‘Shift+F7’ over the highlighted word of abject, to see if I could get enough variation on words for abject. I’d try for 11 variations, to match the clowns that represented those on the pitch in white yesterday.
It was a bit like watching a Stoke, or Watford, or Burnley, rock up at The Emirates and have two shots and beat us 2-0, wasn’t it? Lots of possession, but absolutely no end product from a team chocked full of Spurs players, which should tell everyone all you need to know. This is, after all, a team that finished third in a two-horse race last season.
I wanted England to win. As I said, I am predominantly English, but this last week has had my own construct of who I am whittled away a bit. So perhaps I should defer to the key thing that I am. I am no longer European, because others decided that for me, I am no longer English because they are embarrassing, I am Arsenal. Or as Arshavin would say: I am Gooner.
I am Arsenalese.
So when I start to think of myself like that, I can see the funny side of this result, because I’m a little less emotionally invested. If you’re English and you’re reading this, come on, you must see the funny side too? England lost to a country with more volcanoes than professional footballers. A country with a population less than the London Borough of Barnet. England have essentially lost to the equivalent of one of London’s boroughs! Lolz, as the kids would say.
So this morning there will be mass outrage in the papers. The journos will be roaming at the mouth and the only reason why I haven’t gone media blackout like I do with Arsennal when they lose, is that I don’t have the same emotional attachment, thankfully. So I’m intermittently checking the player ratings, seeing what people are saying, having a chuckle at the odd red-top I see someone reading.
Perhaps, actually, I’m taking this badly too. Perhaps I’m hurting my anger underneath this facade of finding everything funny. But if I am doing that, then I’ve surpressed my rage so deep, I’m not sure if it exists. So the net effect is that I am not furiously stabbing at the touch screen of my phone. If there’s a choice between that and what I felt when Arsenal lost at home to Swansea last season, I’ll take this all day long, thank ye very much.
We should probably talk about individual players, shouldn’t we? Ok, let’s start at the back, where Fraser Forster must be wondering who’s leg he has to hump to get a bit of game time. That should be the end of Hart really. Rob Green disappeared from international football after a couple of similar performances and the City goalkeeper should fall on his sword too I’m afraid.
At the back: wowsers. Walker, Rose, Smalling and Cahill. I’m mighty thankful none are Arsenal players. Remember when some people thought Smalling would be a great signing? You can keep him, Jose, because he’ll give anyone a chance.
In midfield, well, need I say anything at all. Wayne Rooney as the new Paul Scholes? Chortle, chortle, chortle. The guy could string more than three completed passes together and alongside Eric Dier it looked like the two of them had won a sponsors competition to play for England.
If anybody has seen Deli Alli, can they wave? Or at least get him too. He’s good at that.
Sturridge and Sterling. I thought it was only some Arsenal players who were supposed to have reputations, but flatter to deceive and frustrate in equal measure? That those two were so pointless kind of put me at ease – it’s not just some of our players that can drive you mad.
Then there’s Harry Kane. The ‘Hurricane’, as that lot embarrassingly call him. Well, the only thing he was blowing was himself, because he was atrocious. That whole “I’m on free kicks, lads” thing was laughable. After the third attempt had sailed in to the stands, why didn’t the manager just tell him to get in to the box and stop being a douche. This isn’t the playground boyo, and you’re certainly not the best kid on it that doesn’t allow anyone else to take them, so do you’re job.
Please, please, please; football gods, if you can hear me, let him play like that all next season. It’ll be hilarious.
So there we have it. Freedom. Freedom from expectation. We can all thankfully also get closure on the Vardy stuff, which we’ll all probably feel a little bit happier about now. If that substitute appearance last night was anything to go by, we are lucky he rejected us, because what Iceland did to England last night is what 60% of teams try to do to Arsenal in the Premier League. Vardy isn’t a striker who can play with his back to goal and as a result he’s better off at Leicester. Bullet. Dodged.
And with that positive ending, I bid you all adieu. If you’re an England fan and you’re smarting this morning, just be thankful hat Arsenal exist, which is what I am.