14 June 2014

Tension mounts

Marina endeavours to resist the creeping optimism:
A dodgy brown pitch is a boon to England, isn't it? We can't pass anyway, so it couldn't matter less to us, but if the Italians can't pass on it, and if they cleave to their traditions of slow tournament starts with a draw, and we … but no. Oh my God, no. I can feel a stirring, even though I know that way madness lies. It starts with allowing yourself to read the phrase "green crystals", and quickly mushrooms to you becoming an expert on tropical fungus. Suddenly, you're speculating about a draw with Uruguay and beating Costa Rica 2-0, and plotting routes to the quarters. But you know, you have to think that we could beat whatever winner or runner-up Group C shakes down out of Colombia, Greece, Japan or Ivory Coast, don't you? Don't you?
Must … stay … strong. I'm sorry. We'll wind up here, so I can avail myself of a Post-it note – a thousand Post-it notes, perhaps, to be stuck anywhere I might look over the next few days – on which I will write a friend's most treasured footballing crutch: ENGLAND HAVE NEVER BEATEN A MAJOR FOOTBALL POWER IN A WORLD CUP KNOCKOUT MATCH ON FOREIGN SOIL.
Sometimes, you have to feel sorry for the English ...


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