Posted by: Paul | June 28, 2010

Get back on that horse

When you have a fall, as the song says, you pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and start all over again.

There are more important things in life than football. And frankly, there are more entertaining football matches than England games. Part of me is relieved about last night’s result. I would hope that it’s a much needed reality check for all concerned – the players, who are far from as good as they and the press think they are. The FA, for the problems with the running of the national side run very, very deep indeed. England fans, for the unachievable hope and expectation heaped on the team at major tournaments. FIFA, for being shown up to be very short-sighted in not introducing goal-line technology when the integrity of the game is crying out for it. And Fabio Capello, for the inflexibility of playing 4-4-2 when it’s clearly not working, and sticking with players who are not performing.

But sadly, I fear the status quo will continue, and we will experience disappointment after disappointment for years to come – until that is, the World Cup comes to England in 2018 or 2022. I imagine we’ll be able to sort ourselves out in 12 years, won’t we? Won’t we?

So, with England gone and no emotional attachment remaining to cloud any judgement, I’m looking forward to some cracking matches in the remainder of the tournament – starting with two mouth watering second round games in the shape of Brazil vs Chile tonight, and Spain vs Portugal tomorrow night. The equivalent of local derbies at international level, both these games should be absolute knockouts.

And of course, even more than the football, Wimbledon cranks up a gear this week with some of the big boys and girls facing each other in today’s fourth round clashes. Some picks:

Hewitt vs Djokovic. What an awesome game this could be – Hewitt nearing the end of his career, the dogged trier desperate for a last hurrah, and nearly-man Djokovic who could be so, so good if his temperament was right.

Murray vs Querrey. The big-serving American with the disarming lopsided grin who won on the grass at Queens just a couple of weeks ago, against the lone wolf carrying the hopes of British sport. I hope Andy realises that all the emotion focussed on the England football team in the last two weeks is now coming his way. On second thoughts, I hope he ignores that completely!

S Williams vs Sharapova. I don’t really like the dominance of the Williams sisters at Wimbledon – I think it’s quite an indictment of the women’s game that no-one can give them a run for their money when they choose to turn it on. But one of the only women to break the Serena-Venus monoploy in the last few years, Maria Sharapova, has hit some form and I’m hoping for a closer contest in this game.

Clijsters vs Henin. What a shame they’re meeting so early. The comeback queens of European tennis face each other today in what I hope will be one of the matches of the tournament. I guarantee you this will be a better, more closely fought game than the eventual womens final.

In other news, this week I’m continuing with a project for a museum in LA and starting some new work with a dear old friend in London. Could always do with more though, so open to offers all the time!

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