Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Football is coming home. But we’ve moved

Football is Coming Home. But We’ve Moved
Figure 1 The nation is going football crazy

Kids in the park, jumpers for goalposts. Endearing images aren’t they? We’re all a little football mad right now and the developments in Qatar have meant that the population of England is now utterly convinced that the Three Lions will be returning with the World Cup. Until the team lose against the USA, of course.

The World Cup betting markets have gone into overdrive with everyone and their dog backing the boys to go onto glory. So, with refrains of ‘it’s coming home’ in the air, we thought we would look at the actual chances of England winning the World Cup in Qatar – and what it would mean to the country.

56 Years of Hurt

When David Baddiel and Frank Skinner, came up with their easy-to-sing-a-long-to Three Lions ditty in 1996 they couldn’t have dreamt that the fans would still be chanting the, now outdated, lyrics 26 years later. But the royalties boost every time a tournament comes around has probably softened that blow somewhat.

It is now 56 years of inescapable hurt since England won the World Cup in their own stadium and with the help of a friendly linesman. The merest sniff of a victory in the group stage and the fans get misty-eyed – and, for once, it’s not because of all the teargas in the air after a scrap outside an Irish bar on the continent.

Three Lions on Your Chest

Baddiel and Skinner are always happy when the World Cup is on. But there is another area of industry that rejoices when England qualify for a major tournament. Tattoo artists from Barrow to Barnstaple have been coining it in thanks to the sudden desire of half the population to get ‘inked’.

The famous Three Lions badge is a particular favourite. But just wait until England score the winner in the final in under a month’s time. A quick tutorial on how to tattoo Harry Maguire’s face will be the most viewed video on YouTube and the shirtless majority will be scaring everyone with their new body art in the new year.

Kane Injury Halts Nation

There has been some sombre news out of Qatar this week though. After England dismantled Iran’s defensive unit like an Ikea wardrobe in the first game of the group, all seemed well with Gareth and the boys. But the news that Harry Kane needed a scan stopped everyone in their tracks.

We are still not entirely sure what the problem was but we have been assured by medical experts that it was not to see whether the England captain was pregnant or not. I guess we will have to wait for that kind of good news. Apparently Harry can play against the USA as well now too.

Football is coming home. But we’ve moved
Figure 2 The fans have continued to follow their well-balanced diets

Politicians Inserting Politics Into Football

There is not much more unedifying than the sight of a politician pretending he or she enjoys ‘footy’ while a major tournament is in process. It is always completely obvious that these statements are simply a way to convince the hard of thinking that the politician in question is a man or woman of the people.

Bringing politics into football seems even stranger with this World Cup, as FIFA itself has decided that the best way that it can stop criticism of the host country and keep politics out of the game is to massively go on about the political issues and make itself look even further out of touch. That’s quite an achievement in itself.

How Many Bank Holidays?

We are barely into the first week of the World Cup and the burning question on most England fans’ minds is just how many bank holidays will we get if Gareth Southgate comes home with the trophy on a specially chartered British Airways flight out of Doha?

The way commemorations and celebrations are going, the public could be in for an unprecedented time off work. That will surely be welcomed by almost everyone. But just think of poor Baddiel and Skinner, who will be frantically writing a no more years of hurt song about England actually winning a trophy.

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