Good morning. Right. The World Cup. Do not expect lengthy analytical blogs about England's attempts to break out of the group stages and dare to dream of knock-out glory. I'm doing my utmost to enjoy the entire spectacle and unlike club football I have low expectations. I'm also completely disassociated to the throwback of the Golden Generation where we all deluded ourselves we had the players to win it. England are young, inexperienced (at this level) so what will be will be. I don't want to get bogged down with writing about it at the same levels as a league campaign. It's not Tottenham.
I've only fallen for the national side again because of the Spurs lot (call me fairweather, I don't care). I've been hurt by them so many times in the past, especially in my younger days. I feel daft for having a St Georges cross and Three Lions tattooed on me. At one point I despised some of the players representing us along with the calamitous Football Association and the rabidly inane tabloid press. Yet here I am, humming World in Motion and screaming in delight at goals scored by our next generation of wannabes.
I've actually avoided most of the build up (aside from enjoying some of the wonderfully casual interviews with players like Sterling and Dele). I was over a week late to the insight of Tony Adams, who proclaimed that England wouldn't win the WC because of the Spurs contingent not being 'winners'. My sides split open. Hey Tone, we talking about England needing the same ilk of winners that got crushed and humiliated in the Euro's back in 1988? In fact, every squad since the hedonistic 60s has included winners in the first eleven so exactly how does this theory work? I'm guessing Adams and his loyalty to them lot down the road has left him bitter and already prepping the scapegoats for when it will most likely all go wrong (history is harsh but also brutally honest if you wish to listen to it).
Still, if you asked me if we could win the tournament seconds after Harry Kane scored the winner against Tunisia I'd have bitten my fist off trying to contain my excitement. Talk about dramatic. So proud for the lad, captain of his country and scoring a brace to kick start his march to the Golden Boot (sod it, I'm all in now).
The opening twenty minutes was super encouraging but the cheap penalty resulted in most of the remaining game being a laboured affair. That initial high pressing swaggering movement was lost in-amongst far too much awkwardness and discomfort. Even if we arguable controlled most of the game we hardly carved them open. Well, aside from that patch where we could have scored five times. Put your foot through it lads ffs.
Hopefully it was nothing more than first game nerves/adjustment. Gareth Southgate still had some selection questions to answer in terms of players he could (and probably will) rotate for the game against Panama before we face off Belgium for what might will be a top of the table decider.
Tripps played well (delicious deliveries). Loftus-Cheek impressive when subbed on. I dislike Young. Sterling was massively disappointing. Dele should have been taken off at half time if anything to protect his thigh. No idea how the officiating/VAR is meant to work for capturing WWE style wrestling inside the box. Talking of Kane, my word, I love him.
I promised no depthy analysis so I won't score the players out of ten or point the finger of disdain by ranting paragraphs at the ones that under performed. I'm sure you lot have done that already in the comments section. I'm simply happy we've got off to a winning start and sort of half broken that 'Same Old England' stereotype we always default to. Sunday now awaits.