Sucking heartily on life's half-time oranges

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

EUROTASTICS 3! England v Ukraine

Phew. Well. There we are. Usually the reaction to going out of a tournament rather than going onto the quarter-finals, this was the array of utterances at the final whistle of tonight's saggy balloon of a match. Despite Adrian Chiles' best efforts to sell ITV as the home of thrills-a-minute England games, much tonight's experience was a bit like going to Legoland on a wet October half-term.

Up north for some workshops and gigs, I watched the first half with my singing compadre Sarah in the pub garden of a York suburb, ready for a rampant match bathed in glorious post-Olympic torchy sunshine. The screen was way too small and the crowd rather too muted to give it some lairy atmosphere, so after a first half in which the pub's barbecue was the only thing that sizzled, we dashed back home for comfy sofas, the company of sleepy in-laws and some restrained shouting at the telly. I really can't think of much to report: Rooney's sweet celebration in honour of Andy Carroll's hair product (castor oil? It's the only explanation); Terry's miraculous scoop-out in Ukraine's non-goal, with the fifth official failing to see that it was over the line despite being practically IN THE GOALMOUTH; Scotty Parker taking balls in the face and ear with nary a hint of recognition or anguish (my HERO!); a wondrous save by our surest player, Joe Hart. Obviously it was nice for Rooney to score, even in a no-brainer like the Ukraine triple deflection he got, and I so WANT him to be crowned Wayne the Lionheart, Lord And Ruler Of Our Noble Land, but there was much less of that spark tonight. Pfftth.

CLICHE OF THE DAY: Interviews with players are always such tedium; with media training probably injected into their very veins every morning, perhaps forced to watch archive interviews 'A Clockwork Orange'-style with their eyes pinned open, every damn interview always comes back to Cliche Corner. Even Steve Gerrard's 3-minute embarrassed shrug of a post-match interview still managed to contain the phrases 'we take each game as it comes'; 'you need a bit of luck along the way'. One day, a player's dull eyes will flicker, arise out of the fug of media doping and say 'You know what? You're right. My goal was fucking GENIUS! I'M a genius! I'm the best one in this team and they ALL know it! Oh yeah, and of course Spain are better than Italy.'

TATTOO OF THE DAY: Well-meaningly earnest, punctuation-lacking scrolls on Joleon Lescott's torso. The one on his chest reads 'Don't listen to one who has known me because to have known me would mean there is a new me'. Which isn't as bad as 'Roses are red/violets are blue/I play for England/Whoop doop de doo', but only by a whisker.

HAIR DISASTER OF THE DAY: It looks like someone has draped a beaver's tail over Ashley Cole's cranium. Davy Crockett gone all wrong.

SHIRTWATCH: Gareth Southgate sported very good socks and shoes this evening. It's all about the details in men's fashion, and Gareth KNOWS it.

ADORABLES: Sarah deemed Scott Parker 'well fit' (to which he would have swept her off her feet, done a bit of swing dancing with her before taking her on a cheeky loop de loop in his Spitfire, had he heard), although she also thought Andy Carroll had something about him, which obviously means her judgement is suspect. The only thing about him worth knowing is to make sure you don't go for a ball near him, because you will be crushed by his lumbering barn-door weight. Oof.

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