God is in his heaven and all is right with the world, today is such a day. A cloudless June sky, the oxon reposed in the shade of the mighty British Oak, the reek rising from a million barbecues and England beginning its World Cup Endeavour.
This is how The Telegraph hysterically wrote about England twelve years ago, but if we look around the media landscape of today we see that it is “all changed, all changed utterly.” This England team, is completely devoid of all hype and jingoism, and is merely a football team, a very good one at that. There are no John Terry’s in this squad, they all seem like lovely lads. With the exception of Jamie Vardy, a man who racially abused an Asian man in a casino in 2015, has a conviction for assaulting a man outside a pub and more importantly looks like he absolutely stinks of rollies. English success, and particularly success for Raheem Sterling would be a great riposte to the racist dogwhistling from from certain tabloids in relation to him; buying a house for his mum, buying a sink for himself, flying with Easyjet, flying on a private jet among others. I have refused to even hyperlink these articles, so as to deprive the outlets of the clicks they crave so much.
There is also the fact that everyone else seems a little bit crap, Spain sacked their manager, Brazil couldn’t beat Switzerland, Germany look old and slow, Argentina could hilariously go out in the group stages. Ladies and gentlemen, it is with a heavy heart that I must announce football will in fact be coming home. England have the best striker at the tournament in Harry Kane, a man which such an elite mentality that he was willing to sacrifice his daughter for a goal which didn’t touch him. Add to this that Harry Maguire at centre back actually has an Easter Island head atop his shoulders, and with Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard behind the mecurial Kane, it would be foolish to write off Gary’s Guys™. (I’ve trademarked that now, if any of you schmucks use it I will vigorously pursue you through the small claims court.)
They play tonight against a Tunisia side who have an impressive record in recent friendlies. Unbeaten in 2018 to teams such as Costa Rica, Turkey, Portugal and Iran, and only losing narrowly to Spain 1-0 in their penultimate warm-up game after conceding a very late goal. Clearly they are no mugs, but it is still England v Tunisia. Their only recognisable player is Whabi Khaziri, a former member of a Sunderland team who are a disgrace to the sport of Association Football, suffering two consecutive relegations. It is a squad of mostly North African and French based players meaning almost any reaction to tonights result will be hyperbolic. A victory means nothing as it is Tunisia, while simultaneously anything else can.
Panama are similarly no great shakes, while the much hyped Belgians are in my opinion complete and utter bottlers. Managed by Everton’s own Bobby Brown Shoes – Roberto Martinez, I cannot see a happy ending to their summer. If they reach the Semi-Final I will eat my hat. Literally.
England go into the tournament with low expectations, to such an extent people are starting to talk about this as a positive which is raising expectations. But will England go all the way? It is the question everyone is quietly asking. If England top their group a path to the final comprises of; Columbia, Mexico and then Portugal. By no means a procession to Moscow, but simulatenously England will enter each of these hypothetical games as favourites. They’ve famously not won anything since 1966, but to quote Baddiel and Skinner “I know that was then, but it could be again….”