So now that we’re all behind England’s bid for World Cup glory, what with their universal condemnation of ‘Thierry the thief’ on our behalf, it was of course with unbridled delight we saw them drawn in such a sitter of a group for next summer’s finals. Or something like that.
The French have been ‘handed’ an easy-enough bunch of opponents too. Had Ireland been in the hat instead then we’d be looking forward to playing the pretty hopeless hosts, the hit-or-miss Mexico and the potentially-ugly Uruguay. Alas, the only green we’ll be sporting is the colour of envy.
England are priced 11/2 third favourites by Paddy Power (behind Brazil and Spain and just ahead of Argentina) after getting three long straws in the USA, Algeria and Slovenia – sufficient, you would think, to finally turn LA Galaxy fans off the Milan-loving Mr Beckham for good.
How Fabio Capello must wish, though, that the best goalkeeper who won’t be at the World Cup, Shay Given – Tony Cascarino’s shout for PFA Player of the Year (hardly just to annoy Roy Keane?) – is from Donegal not Doncaster. For all their attacking talent, the lack of even a half-reliable No1 could cost England everything in the end.
As for Sepp Blatter offering us some sort of pathetic “moral compensation” award in lieu of being cheated out of a chance of getting to South Africa – have you ever heard anything so stupid and condescending in all your life? Well actually I have. The prospect floated in the immediate aftermath that FIFA might actually have learned anything from the Henry hue and cry.