Thursday, June 30, 2016

A (somewhat) belated moment of silence

 ... for, you know, dear old merry England, which apparently has been delivered a mortal blow by Brexit The Sequel, aka, Iceland 2, England 1 in Euro2016.

Iceland, for heaven's sake! The tiniest nation in the history of international soccer, taking down mighty John Bull!

(Which, if you're impartial or hail from Reykjavik, is the continuation of the best soccer story of this or almost any year. That a nation the size of Kentucky has reached the quarterfinals of Euro2016 in the first international tournament in its history is pure Hollywood. Expect this tale to hit the big screen before long, with Chris Hemsworth starring as the Thor of Soccer, Birkir Bjarnason, and the guy who plays Ragnar Lothbrok in "Vikings" portraying, who else, Iceland's star defender Ragnar Sigurdsson. And of course Jimmy Chitwood as himself).

Meanwhile, on the English side, the Brits' team manager quit on the spot in the wake of the Iceland loss. Commentators were commentating (aka, "foaming at the mouth"), saying it was England's worst defeat since those pesky Americans threw them out on their pommy ears, comparing it to the Miracle On Ice. Saying, well, it's a fine day when even Wales can lord it over you, when even the scruffy Welsh are better at kicking a ball around than the framers of the Magna Carta.

And they couldn't even blame it on those bloody immigrants, like the Brexit The First people did. What an awful fate!

Lost in this great national clutching of pearls is an even more uncomfortable reality: That England fell to Tiny Iceland not because of any defect in the management, but because England is just not very good at soccer. The last time it won the World Cup, after all, Churchill was barely cold. That was 1966, and it's been a long stretch of beige since.

In that context, England was merely the England it's been for 50 years: A side that's good at failing. And so comparing this to the Miracle on Ice is completely absurd.

Team USA, after all, beat the best hockey team in the world, not, say, Belgium. And the Americans were pretty good in their own right, just as the Icelanders are.

Which likely doesn't make this any better a week in England. First they "take back their country" from imaginary usurpers; then they lose to a glorified ice floe. Where's Wellington when you need him?

No comments:

Post a Comment