Wrong way Steven!
When arriving at work this morning there was no need to begin enquiring about someone's birthplace or genealogy to work out whether they were Scottish, Irish, Welsh or English. Long faces from the English, secret smiles from everyone else. The reason? The little matter of Euro 2004, England playing France in their first match. The venue the Estadio da Luz in Portugal; the score; England 1 France 2.
It's not so much the matter that we, and by we I mean those of us who dwell here in the British Isles who are not English. As I said, it's not so much the matter that we care whether England win or lose, (the English rugby union team got positively hammered by the All Blacks over the weekend and no one particularly cares about that.) it's really the manner of the loss.
It's the fact that England were 1-0 up with only injury time left to play. All they really needed to do was keep kicking the ball up the other end of the field, instead they start kicking Frenchmen instead. First Emile Heskey floors a Frenchman just outside the penalty area, Zinadine Zidane steps up to take the free kick and curves the ball into the net. (And you just knew he was going to do it!) Next Steven Gerrard, looses his sense of direction and kicks the ball half way down the pitch back to his own goalkeeper, Thieri Henry pounces on the loose ball and gets clattered by David James. Referee points to the spot, Zinedine Zidane steps up once more and slots home the penalty.
Another couple of kicks and the game is over. A few minutes have seen England piss away a one nil lead. I have never before seen a team so comprehensively throw away a match in so short a space of time. It's so utterly..well...funny. You can't help but laugh.
And David Beckham fluffed a penalty.
How does the French national anthem go again? Da-da-da-dum-dum, da-da-dum-da-dum.