England 1 – 3 Portugal
I feel cheated:
By a media that only saw the negative in any performance of the England team
By media that made the manager’s life so miserably that one has to question the sanity of anyone who would want the job?
By an underperforming team whose fear of losing always dominated any hope of winning
By a manager whose tactics and strategy were confusing to everyone not the least the players
By commentators who gave no insight and who failed to recognize that patriotism is no sin and that one can be patriotic without being hostile to an opponent
By a football establishment that felt that is fair to complain about England’s performances but not to condemn and take action on play-acting and the unfair play that was rife
By a tournament that promised so much but delivered precious little in the way of magic
By a game so moribund that we forced to admire the skills of a 33-year-old Zidane as no younger players imposed or introduced themselves
And still I have reason to believe
.. That the game is so beautiful, so uncertain, so full of delight that a player a team will emerge to set the game alight
.. That 10 lionhearts can give their all for their country and insodoing create a sense of gratitude in this country for a job well done.
.. that we, as a nation will discover a pride, an identity, a fervour that is joyful and expresses itself in acts of tolerance and understanding and laughter
.. that our game, distorted by the few, is loved by many and promises to return our love if only we are patient
.. That at the lower levels of every league that are stars, gems waiting to be discovered