“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that,” once said the legendary Liverpool FC manager, Bill Shankly.
I get the feeling that every major football tournament recently has featured a match between Croatia and England. It’s like some dark force is against me. Of course, as ever, this leaves me in a no-win situation. In fact, no-win, or in other words a draw, is the only winning result for me.
Sunday is D-Day! 15:00 is “high noon.” Wembley is the “colosseum.”
The Three Lions versus Vatreni! Maybe as not so many fans are allowed in the stadium due to corona they’ll be less pressure and less hype than normal. Although I doubt it. For these derbies I usually turn off my mobile and discount myself from the rest of the world, it seems to be the safest option. I guess I could watch the game from the top of Sniježnica.
According to the betting shops England are the favourites to win, but betting on the result would just make it even more stressful for me. There could be another solution. Maybe we should make a deal before the game.
Croatia already finished in the silver medal position in the last World Cup so don’t really need the sporting success as much as England. The last time we won anything worth winning was in 1966! However, Croatia does need the British tourists, especially Dubrovnik. So let’s make a deal, Croatia let England win and in return Croatia gets removed placed on the green list. That could be a win/win situation (only joking).
To be honest I’m not that excited about this upcoming championship. It could be because of the lack of atmosphere in the stadium or the fact that there seem more important things in the world right now, I don’t know, but I’m certainly not in football fever. Or it could be the fact that the tournament is spread out over 11 different countries, in my opinion that is a bad, bad idea. The then UEFA President, Michel Platini, said in 2012 that the tournament was to be hosted in several nations as a "romantic" one-off event to celebrate the 60th “birthday.” The same man who was banned from football administration for conflict of interests and taking millions of Euros in bribes in 2015. From romance to corruption in only a few years. So thanks to this fraudulent Frenchman this year’s tournament is all over the place, well that’s French organisation for you, there’s even games in that famous European capital, Baku! As the famous Eurovision terms states “Nul Points” for Platini!
But let’s look closer to home, apart from the possible sporting achievements what else could we look forward to? It looks like tourists will be able to follow their national teams in cafés and restaurants as surely the government will hear the calls from business owners for extended opening hours. In many ways this championship could help save these front line businesses, and as the Germans seem to be the most numerous tourists in the country at the moment let’s hope they can get to the finals. We will sell more beer than October Fest!
Remember the buzz around the last World Cup. The red and white squares everywhere, the centre of Zagreb packed as the team had their welcome home and the general positivity that washed over the nation.
Remember those scenes of Kolinda in the rain with Putin and Macron. All that seems a distant memory, but it was literally three years ago. 2020 might have been a year but it felt like a decade. And this is the first major world sporting event since those crazy days in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Kaliningrad.
It is seriously looking like this year’s Summer Olympics will be an embarrassment for the hosts, so let’s hope that this footballing event isn’t a disaster for Europe. My money, and I am not a betting man, is on the Germans to win this year, so roll on Dubrovnik October fest!
And as the former England striker Gary Linekar famously said “Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.”
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to