By Chris Rowland.
Onto Groups C and D. I don’t think it would be too harsh to suggest Group C may not get the sap rising, but with England, Italy and Uruguay pitted against each other, Group D could be a little tasty. Or an utterly sterile series of safety-first draws. It may be interesting to watch out for the media and Ingerlund fan narrative when England take on Uruguay.
The Group D Winners will play the Group C Runners up in the second phase, and Group C Winners will take on the Group D Runners up. So not the most threatening prospect for England if they manage to qualify – Ivory Coast, Colombia, Japan or Greece. Better than Brazil, Argentina, Spain or Germany anyway.
Also, I look forward to seeing the assembled throng of big screen gazers in the pub on Saturday night when England take on Italy in the middle of the Amazon jungle. Along with the usual EDL-types who stand and bellow out the national anthem, whilst looking around with suspicion and loathing verging on latent (usually latent, but sadly not always) violence at those who don’t, the 11pm kick -off should ensure as many people staying up and in the pub past their usual stop-out times as there are people who don’t normally follow football but get caught up in the England hype – the pub/football equivalents of Sunday drivers. They’re the ones who will simply fade from pub society just as they silently fade into the night when England’s next disappointment comes, pausing only to cast their St George’s paper baseball cap that came free with any purchase of anything at all from some national retail chain into the nearest waste bin, overflowing already with similar. Till the next mass gathering in four years’ time. Rinse and repeat. Call me cynical if you like, but by the time you’ve watched the same happening every time for over 40 years, if you’re not cynical yet you haven’t been watching closely enough!
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