ENGLAND World Cup fever? I’ve had longer sneezes.
No sooner were the England flags clipped to our car and the St George’s Cross banners hung out of the living room windows than it was all over.
“So,” asked our Isaac, aged 10, and still sporting his England top, “even if we beat Costa Rica, we’re out?”
“Even,” he replied hopefully, “if we win 100-nil?”
“Even,” I sighed, “if we score a thousand goals, son.”
That was best response his confused brain could muster.
Hold on to that feeling, son, you’ll get used to it.
I returned home on Tuesday afternoon with 30 minutes still to go in England’s game with Costa Rica to a sight which, in many ways, summed up our national team’s campaign.
The flags had been neatly folded at he foot of the stairs ready to be put away; our eldest, Bradley, aged 13, was in his bedroom playing on his PlayStation; our Isaac was out in the park with his friends, leaving only my wife watching the TV.
And she wasn’t watching the game … she was watching Pointless! How apt...
Out of some misguided loyalty I commandeered the TV to watch the death throes (again) of our national game.
I lasted 20 minutes before switching over to the Uruguay v Italy game. After 20 minutes of England, I desperately wanted to watch some football.
As it was, we were given the double bonus of do-or-die football with a hint of Twilight. He’s no Robert Pattinson, but Luis Suarez has added plenty of bite to his game. Fangs for the memories, Luis. Chew are ya? (repeat vampire puns to fade ...)
Watching England, we were told before this World Cup, is all about managing expectations.
Where’s the fun in that?
This must be the only World Cup that England have taken part in where everyone has followed the advice of the manager and not weighed down the players with the burden of expectation.
Without this public and media pressure, the players would be free to express themselves … or so we were led to believe.
And, as usual, they let us all down.
This is the first year, however, where the national team has exceeded expectations. I expected them to be bad, but they were terrible.
Disappointment is, however, part and parcel of being an England supporter.
And I am glad my children are learning this fast. It’s character building.
To help build their character, I spent a lot of time convincing them that England would do well.
I wound my kids up until they were like, well, a 17-year-old Wayne Rooney – rabid, win-at-all-costs bulldogs convinced they could beat the world.
And, as expected, the whole Brazil escapade finished like, well, the current Wayne Rooney’s barnet – a very expensive, limp and unconvincing affair you really just want to cover up.