Omens eh

So when it comes to sport are you superstitious? Do you believe in omens like all those f**wit presenters on Talksport? No me neither until yesterday when news emerged of England rugby’s loss to South Africa 42-39, with England having led 24-3 in the first half.  Eh? That’s 5 successive defeats for the red roses after being unbeatable about a year ago. Sigh. A Welshman then went and won cycling’s Criterium du Dauphine and Spaniard Nadal won the French Open. I then watched Scotland, who are not even a recognised test status team and for whom cricket is like their 17th most popular sport, beat England the official one day cricket champions in a ODI rather excitingly. Sigh again. Never mind Hamilton was in 4th place on the grid at the Canadian Grand Prix. Surely The Englishman in his all-powerful Brackley-based Team Mercedes supercar would catch that insufferable Vettel and stretch his lead in the F1 Championship. Nah. He ended a place further back in 5th as the unlikeable German assumed leadership in the F1 leadership race. Gott und dammer. So it looks like the omens are stacking up against English sporting success  just as we head off to Russia for the World Cup. Or so you might think….

You see the England u-21’s only went and cemented England’s dominance at youth football by winning a third successive prestigious Toulon tournament title earlier this week. Believe it or not we, England, are utterly unbeatable at every football level beneath the senior team. If they can do it…..? Then yesterday afternoon my super grandson’s Moretonville u-11’s team, superbly led and managed by top son-in-law Stephen, won a local tournament – on penalties! Wey hey. Following this, last night a final omen (and this is a stretch I accept) an England 11 led by that footballing hero Robbie Williams and managed by the hugely-respected former international manager Sam Allardyce beat a World XI celebrity team on penalties again (final shot secured by dimwit Neil from the Inbetweeners) in the Soccer Aid trophy match at Old Trafford. All right I admit it doesn’t have a huge bearing on World Cup proceedings but I bet the lads were watching in their rooms at England’s training camp at St George’s last night and must have been inspired by Olly Murs et al….I mean he picked up that trophy like he’d actually won the Jules Rimet itself (even though earlier he’d missed an open goal that my aunty Betty could have scored).

So here’s what I’m thinking; I don’t really believe we’ll win the World Cup (but long to of course) but for once I don’t think we’ll be utterly dismayed at the team’s performance out in Russia. A QF or possible SF would be pretty great as long as we go out excitingly. Because there has been a lot of hurt for an England fan….

1958 Sweden

This was the first  WC on which I can actually remember some TV coverage. Wales did rather well as did England, missing out via a drawn match v Brazil (something of a developing theme over the years) although we remained the only team not to lose to Brazil in the tournament. The tournament was memorable not for England’s successes but for the breakthrough performances of the 17 year-old genius Pele who helped Brazil to win the tournament, brilliantly.

1962 Chile

My old footie books had lots off pictures of this tournament but I don’t recall any media coverage at all. We lost to Brazil in the critical match. Another WC success for Brazil. The end for England manager Walter Winterbottom.

1966 England

A 16 team tournament still (seems incredible doesn’t it?) and the perfect outcome of course. I loved watching the match and may even have shed a few tears at the end. Blackpool FC player (albeit in the course of a transfer to Everton) was Man of the Match. Can you believe that? Nor me.

1970 Mexico

Although we lost to W Germany, unnecessarily, in the QF I still rate this as the greatest WC of all time. I loved every second of it. Brazil won it, Pele was just magical but a great tournament including England’s performance.

1974 Germany

We didn’t qualify – the end for Sir Alf – and the music had died. A very poor tournament won by Germany v a great Neths team.

1978 Argentina 

Watched this fab tournament on a tiny b/w protable tv set in our tiny flat in Wood Green. Parents of two lovely daughters by this stage and absolutely no money to our names. Didn’t stop us enjoying all the ticker tape receptions and wonderful Mario Kempes. England did not qualify again but at least the brilliant hosts Argentina won against a super Neths team again.

1982 Spain

England qualified but a dull tournament and we went out having not lost (but not doing much else). The end for Ron Greenwood. Italy won – who remembers?

1986 Mexico

We qualified with a decent team, Lineker got the Golden boot, but went out to an Argentina team led by the brilliant Maradona (dirty little hand-cheating bastard). Argentina worthy winners.

1990 Italy

We watched a lot of it on holiday in Holland and viewed some great England games with fab goals from David Platt and Gary Lineker. Gazza’s tears etc as we lost to bloody Germany on pens in the semi’s. The last great performance from Engand in the finals. The end for Bobby Robson. Germany won, bastards.

1994 USA

Having had a great tournament we only went and failed to qualify again for this one. We watched a lot of it on a visit to the USA with our great friends Marta & Shay. However an unmemorable tournament, Brazil beating Itay in a dull final.

1998 France 

Is it really 20 years ago since Beckham got sent off and England went out on pens to Argentina? So disappointing  – the hurt continued. A deserved home win for a great French team. The end for Glenn Hoddle.

2002 South Korea/Japan 

Oh lord out to a flukey (?) goal to Brazil who went on to win a dull tournament.

2006 Germany 

We lost on pens again, this time to Portugal. Hurt, hurt, hurt. We were living out in Italy at the time and switched our allegiance to our adopted country, who won, Forza Italia! Enjoyed this one – the first in a while. However the end for Sven Goran Ericsson.

2010 South Africa 

Oh dear. We got hammered by Germany though robbed of a perfectly good goal. Poor tournament again won by Spain I think. Should have been the end for hopelessly-overrated manager Fabio Capello but he struggled on earning £10m a year until the Euros 2012.

2014 Brazil

Oh fuck. We got knocked out after just two games this time. Utter desperation watching this event. Bloody Germany won it of course. Should have been the end for hopeless and never-rated manager Roy Hodgson but he too strugged on to the Euros 2016 where we lost to the mighty Iceland and we left a tournament prematurely yet again. He left shortly afterwards and we all sighed  thankfully.

So there we are. A lot of hurt – 60 years in my case (save for one glorious event and two decent ones) –  but I just have a feeling the boys will do us a little bit proud this time. Harry Kane to be player of the tournament and golden boot winner. Cry God for Harry, England and the St George training centre!




6 thoughts on “Omens eh

  1. Nice one. Two corrections, the World Cup Trophy hasn’t been called the Jules Rimet since they replaced that trophy with the new one called the FIFA World Cup Trophy for the 1974 World Cup.
    You visited us for the first time in 1984, not 1994.

  2. 1958 Sweden!!! You’ve either got a great memory from childhood days or you are a lot older than we all thought. We will struggle to get out of the group stage – if we get to QF it will be like winning!

  3. I seem to remember Scotland became world champions in 67 after the Wembley humiliation. Please don’t remind me of the 5-1 two years later! Anyway, it will have to be Spain for me. Although in a poll I would put England ahead of Nicola Sturgeon. Although, maybe she’s not so barking when saying she hopes England win and it will stop them talking about 66 !!!

  4. We’ll never stop talking about it Al. But I can’t see it happening again any time soon. But you never know. If Scotland can beat us at cricket (and it wasn’t a fluke) surely we can beat Germany and Brazil again?

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