Opening night July 12th, Brazil kick off their own World Cup campaign with a win, albeit with a little help from a Japanese referee who hasn’t been seen since. Roy’s boys were in Rio relaxing in their luxury abode waiting for their opening game against the mighty Italians.
So Saturday came and England’s multi- million pound squad had come to the jungle, Manaus to be exact to kick off their own campaign and to get their hands on the Jules Rimet trophy. The talking had been done it was time to deliver or in Gerrard’s words time to walk the walk!
Full of expectation, Fans gathered to take a look at the England squad, after Roy had brought in younger players, the fans were hopeful that they could get out the group and progress to the knock out stages.
Facing Italy for a second time in two years in a major competition they were hoping to gain revenge after a penalty shootout defeat, The game kicked off and 90 minutes later it was the same story, same end result, a defeat and just as in the case of 2012 in Ukraine one man dominated the game from start to finish, Step forward 35yr old Andrea Pirlo, or as he is now known by Brazilian supporters Pirlolino! A class act who had shattered England’s dreams once again and left Roy and his boys punch drunk and facing an uphill task to qualify out the group.
So the inquest had started, Rooney was to blame apparently, Column inches, Twitter and Facebook were in overdrive, every man and his dog had an opinion, Coleen was in town to give her man some much needed moral support and Roy had to defend his troops as they were packing up their kit bags and flying to Sao Paulo where they would meet Uruguay.
When Thursday arrived and all the talking had been done, the players were lined up in the tunnel Gerrard stood at the head of the pack, a captain, a colossus and at the age of 34 an elder statesman who has been around the world cup block. He was to face a comrade in the opposition team who he knew well and someone who 5 weeks ago was being wheeled out of a Uruguayan hospital in a wheelchair after having undergone knee surgery. Luis Suarez stood next to the England team in the tunnel and even had time to give his Liverpool teammate a cheeky quick wink before they emerged into the cooler Sao Paulo atmosphere.
England and Gerrard knew all about the Liverpool striker and with Roy having stoked up the fires before the game by saying that if Suarez was to become a world class striker to match that of Pele, Maradona etc then he would need to prove it in this world cup. 90 minutes later oh how he wished he could take those comments back, As Mr Suarez demonstrated to the world, that to destroy English hopes you only need one good working leg and with this, England’s chances of progression into the knock out phases was more or less goosed!
Friday arrived and with Pirlo and his men having an off day Costa Rica sent England home to think again!
Whilst Lineker and Chiles were left flummoxed by their country’s performance, Journalists around the English hemisphere were left looking for scraps of plus points to fill there supplements and to keep English hearts beating.
English supporters are looking for a match winner to rival that of Pirlo, Suarez, so now with Roy having been given the dreaded vote of confidence, all talk is of France 2016 and the expectations will be high, if they don’t get it right next time, The Eurostar awaits to bring them home.
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