World Cup Insanity

They call it the beautiful game and tonight, as Argentina play Holland, we will no doubt witness the true meaning of this phrase.

Anticipation is high here in Amsterdam and sweet memories of past games against Argentina – Cruyff in 1974 and Bergkamp’s balletic mastery in 1998 – are being savoured.

The streets are festooned with orange flags and the streets are already quiet.

Across the road from my house, the telephone in the local pizzeria is ringing ceaselessly.

No-one wants to cook tonight, not when there’s the prospect of such great football to come.

So far I haven’t engaged much with this year’s tournament.

Scotland failed to qualify (again!) so my enthusiasm and excitement has been curbed as a result.

Which is peculiar, because usually, under similair circumstances, I would find myself adopting the default position of supporting England, who have a more consistent record when it comes to representing the UK at the tournament.

This year though, I can’t seem to bring myself to cheer so loud for them.

Perhaps it’s because, after twelve years away from the UK, I find myself feeling more and more alienated from my home country?

This could be so, because I can honestly say I am eagerly awaiting tonight’s fixture and will be rooting and tooting for Van Basten’s boys in great earnest.

As a Scot of course, there are some who will no doubt consider my unbridled indifference to England as nothing more than sour grapes of the bitter nationalistic variety.

Unfortunately, the grim scenes in Scotland recently, which have seen England fans as young as seven attacked on the streets of Edinburgh just for sporting an England shirt would seem to bolster such an opinion.

What the hell is going on?

Growing up in Glasgow, I was always aware of the brutality that football can induce in people.

In a city where sectarianism still exists, the rivalry between Celtic and Rangers, between Catholic and Protestant respectively, was always simmering below the surface and always tainted the game for me.

Growing up in a distinctly green side of the city, where support for Celtic was handed down genetically from generation to generation, it was unthinkable that support for Rangers, in any way shape or form, could ever be tolerated or imagined.

And yet, I found myself doing just that.

Cheering on the Gers in any European fixture, just because they were the Scottish side, the Glasgow side. They were, for the course of a match, my team, from my city.

If you come from Glasgow, you’ll understand how bizarre, how sacreligeous this is.

But there you go, it’s possible.

So why not support England then?

I have done just that for years so why can’t I get so excited this time round?

I honestly think that my dwindling enthusiasm stems from the fact that the lack lustre performance of the England team so far, coupled with the over optimistic appraissals of some of the fans and commentators, has served to alienate me.

Add to that the fact that the team of my adopted country are simply better and more entertaining to watch, and yeah, it would appear I am on my way to becoming an “oranje” supporter with every passing year.

That said, I still wish the best for Sven’s lads. As the only British team in the tournament, how can I not?

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5 thoughts on “World Cup Insanity

  1. Ooooh! The most yellow & red cards in that world cup game (ever)? Gosh. For a moment I was thinking that I’m watching American football!

  2. Jen says:

    Indeed, it was agonisingly boring (the Argentian vs Holland one I mean). Then, just as I thought it couldn’t get any worse, along came the fixture against Portugal.

    I’m not even going to begin to discuss that fiasco cos it just annoys me 🙁

  3. Jen says:

    So 2-1 defeat against Ghana means Team USA are heading home 🙁

    Oh well…

    I remember during the last World Cup in Japan & South Korea that we set up a TV in the office bar so that the fans could keep up to date with the goings on over there.

    This is what happens when the big German boss is a fussball fan and the office is laid back 🙂

    Happy days….

    So the time difference’ that year wasn’t such a pain in the ass given that we got to bunk off work for “legitimate” reasons.

    We take our football very seriously over here 😀

    Anyway, looks like Argentina have their name written all over this year’s trophy so all I intend to do now is sit back and marvel at their splendour…..sigh.

  4. Yes, the insanity of the World Cup! AWFUL timings for people in the US. All the games are over before I get back home from work. Being the soccer-alienated country, there are NO repeats. Ugh. I hope I get to see the weekend games, though. I got a TV y’day 🙂

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