England are out

My emotional investment in the World Cup ended when England bowed out yesterday. Perenially content to meet expectations, they did so once again, cementing their horrible record in penalty-kick shootouts. Some English players will no doubt claim that penalties are a crapshoot, etc. Of course, they are wrong. Penalties are unfair, for sure, as they don’t accurately determine which is the better side at playing soccer, but they are not a crapshoot — some teams (that practice penalties, and study the penalty habits of opponents) consistently win, while others (that offer up excuses) consistently lose.

It’s sad that England’s in this latter category. I am somewhat fanatical about English football. I’d rather have them win the World Cup than the U.S.A. Their premier players now — Beckham, Gerrard, Owen, the Coles, etc., are, on a good day, a joy to watch. They’re honest on the pitch and earnest off of it. How can you not like them? They are the Red Sox of the World Cup — enormously talented, with great potential and a fanatical fan base, but (nearly) always insufficient in the final tally.

After tough losses you sometimes find yourself reeling for days afterwards, your daydreams (or conversations) randomly interrupted by brutal memories of the losing game that you quickly try to quell. Luckily, this loss wasn’t tough: it was well-earned (Rooney’s total idiocy) and quite expected (England’s miserable penalty performance, Eriksson’s passionless and ill-conceived managing, Rooney’s total idiocy). It’s like everyone knew the Sox had a terrible closer. How bad can you feel when he blows the final game for you?

So instead, there’s just the feeling of pointlessness. This didn’t have to happen. Well, there’s 2010 to look forward to.

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10 Responses to England are out

  1. dianaca4 says:

    word

    I feel your frustration. I actually beleived England might win for a while there. They played *amazingly* after Rooney left. I thought something had ticked and they were going to come together and make it through. ugh…

  2. rwclark says:

    I watched the game too. It was very sad. And yeah, Rooney was an idiot.

  3. walther says:

    sorry about the disappointment. this reminds me of the english football joke that ali g cracked on beckham in this interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgRpX6FU2Z4&search=ali%20g

  4. ratatosksv says:

    Wayne Rooney is a piece of crap. I’ve been wanting to say that to someone other than Caroline, and this was my opportunity. And on top of that, he played poorly every minute I him on the pitch for England – with the exception of about 2 minutes at the beginning of the Portugal match.

    That said, once Rooney was sent off, I found England much more likeable and I was actually cheering them on.

    But before the match, I concluded that Portugal would win it all this year… by analogizing Cristiano Ronaldo to Dwayne Wade (with the mad skills and the endless talk about injuries/illness/not practicing with the team between matches) and therefore analogizing Portugal to the Heat. Oh, and I find Scolari amusing, so I’m hoping he sticks around until the end.

    So that’s my prediction, and I’m sticking to it!

  5. Anonymous says:

    enger-land!

    AJ, next tournament, you have to be in England. You’d have such a good time! I love your support. This was the first time I actually got behind England, in the sense that physically sat down and watched the matches, and actually said to people in a knowing way, “you watching the game this afternoon, then?” (oh.. shit.. I’ve just realised, they would have thought I was a right idiot, not saying match, and sounding all American…) oops. I was in a pub with Matt Baker, Tim Booth, Patrick F and Kirsty on Saturday! Can you imagine? Bizarre. But it was great. I kind of expected us to lose, but thoroughly enjoyed the penalty shoot out tension, and the palpable mass hysteria/xenophobia/facism. All great fun. :P
    Have fun in Hawai’i!
    Beth x

    • aj says:

      Re: enger-land!

      Goodness. Yes I should be there! Ideally when England actually hosts the cup I’ll show up, one fine day…

      Of course, I expected them to lose beforehand too. The days before the game I felt nothing but dread at the sure-to-be horrible exit they’d be making. And yes, they do meet expectations…

  6. Anonymous says:

    They are the Red Sox of the World Cup — enormously talented, with great potential and a fanatical fan base, but (nearly) always insufficient in the final tally.

    Same could be said about the recent NY Knicks (Crawford, Robinson, Curry, Frye). But, I just hope Isiah Thomas gets the boot.

  7. piesforsale says:

    We hate you Cristiano, we do….

    Well, that was another annoyingly unsuccessful World Cup. I’m sad to see we let down such stalwart support from across the Atlantic. Still, Rooney must be pleased that he’s no longer the biggest idiot at the world cup. Step forward Zizou. At least the provocation Rooney was receiving was of a slightly more physical nature (plus the fact that he was being forced to play in a rubbish tactical system). Anyway, ponder this. Rooney, under patently illegal physical assault from two players, did everything he could to try to keep the attack going and keep going forward. Ronaldo crashes to the ground, rolls over 7 times and screams when a passing fly brushes across his hair. And which one do we punish?

    Our impotency at this World Cup is made all the more annoying by the fact that I didn’t see anything in the final to change my view that England playing to their strengths could have beaten either team without too much trouble. Ah well, there is always 2010 to look forward to…