England– haven’t we been here before?

 My other half is a fan of Steve McQueen. I see his mug, on pictures, every time I enter the kitchen or pay a visit to the downstairs toilet.

 So when The Great Escape is shown every Christmas it’s essential viewing! I’ve lost count of the number of times she’s watched it and as result, albeit impassively, myself. However, it’s one of those films where you still believe, despite knowing what the outcome is. You think that Donald Pleasence, despite his eyesight, will somehow evade the Germans when his plane crashes and get home. Likewise Richard Attenborough, Nigel Stock and Gordon “Good Luck”Jackson. When Steve McQueen straddles the motorbike you still think that he may have taken some lessons from the WW2 version of Evil Kenevil and clear the barbed wire fence however, as always, it ends in disappointment, an unholy tangled mess!

 Last night England prick teased the nation again by taking the Italians to penalties. Had they gone through would have been a great escape as they didn’t deserve too, the Italian’s save a brief period in the first half, dominated. However like the film you always hope against the harsh truth of the inevitable? You know what the outcome will be but you always think may be this time…. then it happens again and you start kicking yourself for being so stupid, so optimistic, how many times are you going to get caught out?

 It took around five minutes after Diamanti’s coup de grace for the BBC panel to start bemoaning the inferiority of the English to well, I’m not quite sure. I assume it must have been Italy although all they seemed to concentrate on was Pirlo as if the entre result was down to him. The word “technically” when discussing England in comparison to well anything (should it have been the four sides who progressed to the semis?) was used about six times in as many minutes. At the end the BBC trotted out their pre planned sad film looking back over England’s tournament with appropriate twee, non descript, cod soundtrack from some non entity that was probably in nappies when England last won a penalty shoot out! Did they have another more upbeat version just in case they got through? If they did it’s probably on acetate!

 Truth be told England, in fairness, as they do in most tournaments, found their level which is around the quarter finals. We shouldn’t complain, and Roy Hodgson can be fully satisfied with the job he has done. Perhaps the age and makeshift nature of the team finally caught up with them? Passes were carelessly misplaced and the ball was lost far too often. Let’s be charitable and say this was due to impatience and trying to force the play rather than “technical” issues.

 Had England managed to “rob” Italy of victory surely they would have hit the buffers against the Germans just as they did in South Africa two years ago? Surely defeat, against them, once more in a semi final, would have a bitterer (is that a word?) harder pill to swallow than last nights dose? To this end Jurgen Klinsmann, who was also on the BBC duty last night, must have had good cause to feel a tad peeved atEngland’s exit. However, and bless him, he remained, just like Roy in his interview after the game, polite and diplomatic to the very end! As Steve McQueen knows, you need to be good to take on The Germans!

 So where do England go from here? Probably onto another tournament in which they will probably qualify from the group stages, perhaps beat another team before going out against the first half decent side they meet, the circle of life! People thought it would be different this time, it was to a degree, however although the journey was refreshing, the destination and the outcome was the familiar one?

 Oh well ho um, I’m over it now, seen it too many times just got to get through work tomorrow and tiredly discuss the game with people who think because I’m into football I must be heartbroken. However to be positive perhaps this tournament will spark off something new? A laid back acceptance, and realistic expectation, a knowing of the England team’s limitations in the overall scheme of things. I for one would welcome that rather than the bloated, ridiculously over optimistic, jingoistic nonsense that we seem to get every two years.

 If that happens then perhaps I might identify with it a tad more, in the meantime back to talking bullsh*t about Liverpool!

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