RICHARD ORD: Don't mention the war...

With any luck, I shall be waking up in the spare room this morning draped in a Union Jack, clutching a traffic cone, with my better-half giving me the cold-shoulder.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 12:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 5:02 pm
Fans arrive to watch the UEFA Euro 2020 round of 16 match between England and Germany at the 4TheFans fan zone outside Wembley Stadium. Picture date: Tuesday June 29, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER England. Photo credit should read: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

As I write this column, the build up to the England versus Germany game is reaching fever pitch.

And by fever pitch, I mean I have received a text from my eldest son (he’s been in the pub since noon) fuming at Gareth Southgate’s omissions from the England team. No Grealish or Mount apparently.

Given that, at this moment (3.47pm, Tuesday) the team hasn’t been announced, I fear for his mental state at full time (since he’s a student, I’ve long given up fearing for the state of his liver).

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For me, this game could be considered a Lose-Lose.

For regular readers of this column (hi Mam), you’ll be aware that my partner is German. I hint at this by continually referring to her as The German (what do you expect? I’m a journalist not a poet). To regular readers it is taken as a lighthearted and affectionate pet name (as intended). To those who stumble across my columns by accident, it must sound slightly sinister (also intended).

They say all’s fair in love and war, but what about football?

Turns out it’s not fair at all. The German couldn’t give a stuff about football, but regularly punctures my frail loyalty to the England team with unintended but savage truths.

“I don’t know much about football,” she once told me, “But I do know that the number of stars on the shirt denote how many times you’ve won the world cup. We’ve got four.”

You can guess the follow up question. Wait for it. Wait...

“How many have you got?”

To which I launched into a lengthy defence of our heroic 1966 victory against Germany and how we were cruelly robbed in Italia 90. Before accepting that we have just the single star.

“But we gained that star by beating Germany,” being my pay-off line.

“West Germany,” she adds. Yep, our only World Cup success was against half of Germany. Guess we should be grateful we weren’t playing a team chosen from the whole of the nation.

Still as the match approaches (it’s 4.25pm now) I’m sure her true colours will out.

I asked her what she’d be wearing for the big game. “My coat,” she replied. “I’ll be taking the dog for a walk. It’s the perfect time.”

Practical Germans. She’s taking the dog for a walk because everyone else will be stuck indoors watching the match.

Final text from my son before the start of game: “Don’t mention the war.”

I think I’ll join The German on that dog walk...