Football

England’s oldest ally

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When Luiz Felipe Scolari was coach of Brazil, he gave each of his players a copy of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, a 2,500-year-old Chinese text on military strategy.

If the game with Holland was anything to go by he will be handing the Portugese team a copy of Inoguchi and Nakajima’s Kamikaze history The Divine Wind before the England match tomorrow.

Gameside, Scolari prowls the touchline like a crazed Gene Hackman wannabe who has spent the morning grazing on cheap barbiturates. He is the total opposite of the reserved, icy, Sven Goran Eriksson.

The tactics on the pitch mirror the personalities of the managers : Eriksson playing safe, always seemingly ready to defend the slimmest of leads, Scolari the risk-taker whose gambles pay off far too often for any thinking Englishman’s liking.

Three times Eriksson has faced Scolari as England boss: two years ago Portugal sent England crashing out of Euro 2004 on penalties. But now Portugal are missing the suspended Deco and Costinha and Cristiano Ronaldo is struggling to overcome an injury that he picked up in the pitched battle with the Dutch last Sunday. Will England finally “catch fire” in the way we have been promised that they can?

A country which has often called itself “England’s oldest ally” is shaping up to be the toughest opponent so far.

Meanwhile German hooligans are threatening to make the event even hotter outside the stadium than in.

The match venue on Saturday is a small industrial city and home to Schalke 04, one of the most passionately supported teams in Germany. Troublemakers who call themselves the Gelsenszena have joined forces with at least two others, the Streetfighters from Cologne and the First Class Fighters from Dusseldorf.

Whatever happens you can be sure it will be blamed on the England fans.

Oh and the good news?

Well Gary Neville may be back…


When Luiz Felipe Scolari was coach of Brazil, he gave each of his players a copy of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, a 2,500-year-old Chinese text on military strategy.

If The game with Holland was anything to go by he will be handing the Portugese team a copy of Inoguchi and Nakajima’s Kamikaze history The Divine Wind before the England match tomorrow.

Gameside, Scolari prowls the touchline like a crazed Gene Hackman wannabe who has spent the morning grazing on cheap barbiturates. He is the total opposite of the reserved, icy, Sven Goran Eriksson.

The tactics on the pitch mirror the personalities of the managers : Eriksson playing safe, always seemingly ready to defend the slimmest of leads, Scolari the risk-taker whose gambles pay off far too often for any thinking Englishman’s liking.

Three times Eriksson has faced Scolari as England boss: two years ago Portugal sent England crashing out of Euro 2004 on penalties. But now Portugal are missing the suspended Deco and Costinha and Cristiano Ronaldo is struggling to overcome an injury that he picked up in the pitched battle with the Dutch last Sunday. Will England finally “catch fire” in the way we have been promised that they can?

A country which has often called itself “England’s oldest ally” is shaping up to be the toughest opponent so far.

Meanwhile German hooligans are threatening to make the event even hotter outside the stadium than in.

The match venue on Saturday is a small industrial city and home to Schalke 04, one of the most passionately supported teams in Germany. Troublemakers who call themselves the Gelsenszena have joined forces with at least two others, the Streetfighters from Cologne and the First Class Fighters from Dusseldorf.

Whatever happens you can be sure it will be blamed on the England fans.

Oh and the good news?

Well Gary Neville may be back…

wardytron adds:

Of course, no-one’s obliged to support England, and there are plenty of teams playing wonderful flowing football of a standard that one can only enjoy regardless of nationality. And of course one can choose to ignore the whole thing – there’s no law that means you have to like football. It is, after all, only once every four years. It’s not as though it matters to people who aren’t interested in football. There’s no reason to get worked up about it:

There are of course those that do:


I want England to get beat.
I want them to be humiliated. I want them to be embarrassed and disgraced. I want everyone who’s flying the St. George’s Cross to be bitterly dissapointed. I want the little kids with the flag painted on their face to be distraught and cry so that the paint runs down their little cheeks. I want it to be as painful and excruciating as possible. I want to see Beckham crying. I want to Rooney get injured really, really badly. I want to see them torn to shreds. I want to see their chauvinistic, fat, ugly, racist support, each and every one of them, deflated and looking as pathetic as possible.

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