IT’S COMING HOME, IT’S COMING HOME, IT’S COMING, FOOTBALL’S COMING HOME!
Right?! No?! Oh…
This year marks the Football World Cup, set to begin on Thursday June 12th in Brazil and unite the footballing world and fans once again.
Growing up, the World Cup was always an exciting prospect for me. When England were playing Brazil in the 2002 quarter-final, I remember coming into school extra early to watch the match. It was heavily raining that morning, but most of the students in my year braved the bad weather and we all turned up with our soaking umbrellas, bags and coats and sat down on the floor to watch the match. Naturally, the hall was filled with kids and teachers all anticipating an English win, and I distinctly remember the wave of disappointment that spread across the room when England lost and we were made to return home empty-handed.
I also remember how patriotic we as a nation were. The red-and-white flags would come out and many would lavishly display them on their windows and cars. People proudly wore their England football shirts and walked around with anything England-related on their person. To be in possession of anything England-related during the World Cup was something to show-off about in itself – especially when I was young anyway. The World Cup was definitely a time for England to feel proud in some sense.
However, the last time we did this was 4 years ago, and as ever, time is subject to change.
The perception of the English football team is now different. I don’t feel the patriotism is going to reawaken as it may have done previously. As a nation, I believe we just don’t fully believe in England anymore. The World Cup itself is an exciting tournament to watch and immerse yourself in, but the excitement now surrounds watching anyone but England play. It’s when the big guns come out – Spain, Brazil, Portugal and Germany – that people suddenly sit up and watch a game. Although England may unite to support the team, it equally unites to mock them too, and now more than ever, this is definitely the case when we think of the England football team.
The usual questions now come to mind: will England really come back with the coveted trophy? Is Roy Hodgson just another manager promising a future of success and repeating the same old story of how the team is better, stronger, fresher? Is someone going to break their leg, again? Does anybody even care anymore?
I suppose that when us England fans have always been promised so much consistently and got little back in terms of success and celebration, we become more cynical and bitter about our footballing home-nation and their prospects and chances for victory.
The World Cup may be a fantastic tournament, but I’m beginning to feel that when it comes to England and their fans, we’ve chosen to adopt a more humorous and mocking approach to how our team will play and whether or not they will bring the World Cup back home.
Regardless of this, I’m so excited for the tournament to begin.