Now, I have never claimed to be a football fan (soccer fan, to some of my readers) but I didn’t realise just how out of touch I was until I discovered just on Thursday that the World Cup is starting in less than two weeks.
Well, that’s not strictly true, as in some part of my brain I was generally aware that it would be happening this year, this summer even, but the details had passed me by. So I watched the England – Peru friendly on … one day last week … with some interest. Nice to win, but especially nice to see a young team with hardly any big names. After the last big tournament, I voiced the opinion that we would stand a better chance of winning if we sent out youngsters who genuinely wanted to play rather than older, overpaid players who have an inflated idea of their own worth and a complacent attitude to the sport. Their attitude seemed to say – “I am one of the highest paid players in the world, so I deserve to win. In fact, it’s an affront to my status if I don’t win.”
It’s about skill, of course, but it’s also about attitude, team spirit and endeavour, and that’s why the women’s game is so entertaining to watch.
I am thrilled to read that no-one expects us to get through to the final eight or whatever it is, let alone win so I hope that the press don’t lash the players if/when we lose. Because that’s the other side of this – the willingness with which pundits look for a scapegoat to blame for failure. All the national teams are well coached, skilful and fit, and the result of each game is a combination of many factors, not least luck.
I would far rather go out in a blaze of glory after an exciting and entertaining match than scrape through to a nervy penalty shoot-out, but that’s just me. And what do I know anyway?