SORRY did I say England were rubbish last week? … I meant, of course, brilliant.
That’s the trouble with England. Write them off and they’ll surprise you; start believing in them and, like an excited puppy, they’ll pee on your carpet.
For that reason I’ll continue to predict disaster en-route to the final. Starting with a nightmare against Italy. Stuffed 3-0. You can save the wet carpets for July 1.
What the Ukraine game did do, however, was give the pundits the opportunity to berate Fifa for not bringing in goal-line technology, like that’s is ever going to make a difference.
Latest statistics from the Football Association have revealed that the introduction of goal-line technology will reduce controversy in football by, get this, absolutely nothing.
Here’s an idea, why not ban action replays?
Not a single commentator, like the officials on the pitch, spotted the offside in the build up or called the Ukraine goal when John Terry cleared the ball from behind the goal-line.
Do you know why? Because no one could be sure. Wrong calls are part and parcel of the game and the majority go unreported because they don’t really matter.
Hey, wrong calls even add to the drama.
Ban replays and freeze frames. That’ll sort it.
Having run the line in football games myself, the pundits fail to (or choose not to) appreciate that for an offside decision to be made correctly, the linesman has to simultaneously watch the ball being struck and look along the line of attackers and defenders while running at speed, half the time in driving rain.
They (we) are not blessed with freeze-frame technology or swivelling eyes like a chameleon.
And unlike the TV pundits, linesmen are not equipped with comfy seats, studio monitors, expensive shirts and a hefty cheque for speaking the first thing that comes into their heads. Linesmen are equipped with a flag on a stick.
Yet abuse is freely hurled. A yellow flag offers little protection from the poisoned tongue of a crowd.
How’s about swapping the linesman’s flag on a stick for a flag on an Uzi? That ought to calm the outspoken fans and pundits, while offering a timely boost top the FA’s Respect campaign.
I’ll wager a linesman wielding a semi-automatic handgun would take the sting out of goal-line controversies, far better than any expensive technology. What do you reckon?
IF England do win Euro 2012 could there be a more deserving recipient of a winner’s medal than John Terry?
I for one would be delighted to see this paragon of virtue jogging up the steps to collect his gong.
If there is any justice in football, he will shake hands with Sepp Blatter then, just as he’s about to collect his reward, up will pop Frank Lampard in a full England kit to nick his medal and milk the applause. Now that would be a nice touch.
ENGLAND’S victory against the Ukraine was a pleasant surprise. Not least because it meant they topped the group and thus avoided the toughest clash of all … and I don’t mean Spain.
Had England finished runner’s-up, a match against Spain would have clashed with my wife’s 40th birthday party on Saturday night.
Fearing the worst, she quickly organised a big screen for her 40th but thought a load of blokes standing around watching football while the girls danced would have spoiled the party.
Thankfully, England now play Italy on the Sunday so that particular headache has gone.
Now the girls can dance at the party while the blokes, well, stand around talking about the football instead. Perfect.
FATHERS Day passed and no garish socks to be seen.
My sons presented me with what all dads are crying out for … a crate of beer and a pair of plastic binoculars!
“You can watch the chickens out of my bedroom window,” said Isaac, eight, referring to the hens one of our neighbours has just installed in a coup across the way.
Somehow I don’t think that will be happening. Peering over the neighbour’s fence from an upstairs window with a pair of field glasses may result in a knock on the door from the police.
And my son informing them that “Dad’s had a few beers and he’s now watching the birds next door,” are unlikely to help matters.
Play safe: Beer and socks next year boys.
SO JIMMY Carr appears to be laughing all the way to the bank. Should we be bothered?
I find it far easier to get angry with bankers making money at our expense, than comedians.
Try as I might, it still feels more comfortable cursing the fat cats responsible for the economic crisis driving round in Porsches, than it does calling a bloke who makes people laugh while keeping a few quid out of the clutches of the Inland Revenue.
Can’t help but feel the country’s miserable enough without David Cameron waging war on funnymen.
(This column first appeared on Friday, June 22, before England’s game with Italy)