Tag: England

The Battles That Roy Hodgson Cannot Win

It can often feel as though some forms of football are better suited to the age of the internet than others. The league season, with its constant hum of white noise, is particularly well suited, as is the sudden explosion that comes every other summer when international tournaments rumble to life. International tournament qualifiers, however, seem particularly ill-served,thanks to a combination of their stop-start nature and the fact that, even as they reach their conclusions, they are ultimately a precursor to something else, and a something else that is considerably more important than they have been. The current international...

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The 200% World Cup: Tales Of An ABE

There is usually no moral dilemma for a fan of “anyone but England” (ABE) approaching a major international football tournament – or, for that matter, any England game. And the pathological ABEs will never have such a dilemma.  As “Britain’s best sporting comic” Andy Zaltzman noted in an Independent newspaper World Cup preview which I will never tire of nicking quotes from citing (“A Neutral’s guide to the World Cup”), there are few nations “with no long-standing historic grudge against the English relating to history, empire, being located on the same land mass, some iffy refereeing decisions in battles...

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The 200% World Cup: The Group D Final Round – Live!

As with both of yesterday’s group finales, this afternoon’s pair of matches feature three teams battling over the two qualification spots and one useless team who are already out. In Group D, the useless team are of course England, a source of great pride for everyone back at home. However, the World Cup is always better for getting rid of the chaff and besides, a much-changed England team can still affect today’s action even if it isn’t in their own favour. Their opponents, Costa Rica, are already through to the knockout stages for only the second time in their history,...

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The 200% World Cup: Artist’s Impression, number 7

As the noted philosopher Chris Martin from Coldplay says, “everything’s not lost”. Only England could be so down and out yet do it in such a way that there is still a sliver of hope. After all, it’s the hope that kills you and as another noted philosopher stated last night, supporting England isn’t supposed to be easy. Still, as higher mathematicians everywhere are pointing out, the fat lady has not yet sung for England. But there’s every chance it’s just because she’s been delayed in traffic. For the most optimistic among you, our resident Emeritus Professor of Hard Sums...

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The 200% World Cup Breakfast, Day 8 – How To Follow A Narrative

And so it goes. Barring a sequence of events so improbable that the mathematics of it barely stands thinking about for too long, England are out of the 2014 World Cup finals after a performance against Uruguay that involved a considerable amount of toil for very little end result. There was a period of about five minutes, shortly after Wayne Rooney finally scored his first goal in the World Cup finals for his national team, when it looked as if they might just about go on and win last night’s match. The tempo of the game rose, Uruguay suddenly...

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