This is where it all goes wrong. The day of the England game is always messy, worse still if it’s the first game of the tournament for England. Then there is the fact that friends have the day off, we’re getting together, I’m having a BBQ and there is the prospect of having a kick about before hand, all of which is somewhat dependent of the horribly changeable British summer weather. The only thing not in doubt is that by the end of the match I won’t be sober.
And so it proved, my account of the game might be somewhat sketchy but from what I remember we started well. I know there wasn’t the usual sense of fear mixed with panic mixed with wanting to run away that I’ve had in the past watching England at a major tournament. In fact when we got Ashley Young in the game, with Danny Welbeck making good runs and the wide midfield players joining in I thought we looked good.
I’m probably the only person who had Lescott as first goal scorer, just before the goal came I was joking about how a free kick in that position was almost better than a penalty as we were actually far more likely to score from there than the spot and so it proved. Gerrard had his trusty practise go but the referee wasn’t happy so he got another chance and his second effort was the perfect combination of whip and flight to leave Lloris in doubt, allowing Lescott to nut it home well, steering it down powerfully for 1-0.
Then there was an equaliser where I felt Hart could have done more, but seeing it against makes me think it was more hats off to Nasri who did him with the eyes and then bent it with dip past him while he was unsighted. Gerrard and Parker dropped deep to protect for the cross and were punished when the ball was picked up and smashed from the edge of the area.
Then there is a blur of worry and tension but eventually the salvation of the final whistle and a decent point to start off with. The Ox showed potential on debut, Milner was disappointing. Welbeck was good and dare I say it I’m almost hopeful for the Sweden game, which I’m sure is where it will really start to all go wrong.
Building a BBQ
So we got a new BBQ, which is great but it meant I had to assemble it. I just wanted food, England had got a point and I wanted a burger, but instead I had to build a BBQ. It took time and I cut myself several times along the way as the awkward process of placing together bits of mental that seem to have no relationship with each other and smashing them into position took effect. I think that’s probably what it feels like to play for Sweden, a team with seemingly even less fluidity than England.
They took the lead through their player Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but ended up losing because Andriy Shevchenko scored twice and is therefore a much better player. All the while I ate a vast quantity of meat.
Day Four is no more
England didn’t lose, which is always a good note to end on. It didn’t rain on my BBQ. There were good times, there was tasty food and then when all was said and done we had a long night playing FIFA. That’s what major tournaments and England games are all about. Mates as fans kitted out in England shirts, passion and beer, laughter and BBQ food.
Highlight of the day: Joleon Lescott first goal scorer, we love set pieces. Pork-pie sausage-roll, come on England give us a goal!