The nation celebrates as plucky England today hammered those giants of world football, Slovenia, 1 - 0. Mastered minded by the tactical genius of Fabio Capello our brave boys turned on the style to get through to the knock out stages of world football's greatest competitions.
Some doubted that England would qualify but the players responded with a creditable second place finish in the group of death. Only a freak result for those other footballing goliaths, America, prevented England doing the unthinkable and winning the group.
It looks like it'll be Germany in the knock out stages and already those erudite callers to 6-0-6 are proudly predicting that the boys will put them in their place........." bring it on " is the cry without the slightest hint of alcohol or something slighty stronger although a hint of irony sadly seems pretty distant !
The lads can stuff the Kaiser's comments down his throat as apparently " the boys are cooking on gas ". Like our good friends calling that thoroughbred Englishman, Alan Green, I'm fed up with the negativity that surrounds the team, some are even daring to suggest that the finest squad ever to leave these shores won't now go on and win the whole thing !
All the meticulous preparation in selecting unfit players, out of form players, players who are clearly not good enough, players who don't care about anything other than themselves and their wage packet, dissing the fans for not praising the team after a poor performance, allowing and being unaware of your former upstanding skipper to speak out of turn etc. etc. is now starting to bear fruit.
Only a highly paid Italian with little abiltiy to communicate in the mother tongue could have delivered the dream that is England's success today. How fit and proper it was to see him celebrate the win as though England had won the cup there and then.........a full dress rehearsal eh !
England can now beat anyone of that there's no doubt, just ask those 6-0-6 callers. Let's sit back and with great pride, watch them go all the way !
Despite being 6 years old at the time I can't recall anything of England's only world cup success in '66. My ealiest recollections of world cup finals is Mexico 1970. Perhaps that clouds my judgement in believing that no side will ever better that Brazilian team. Adding to the nostalgia is my first experiences of colour t.v..........it was quite a thing back then kids...........forget your HD and 3D, this was technology of the highest order !
Not that we had a colour t.v ourselves, dad was still renting a black and white one from Radio Rentals. I don't think we could afford colour until about 1974 and England weren't in the finals that year ! For 1970 we went round to my dad's friend's house to watch as he was one of the lucky ones with colour !
If you were around to witness the lads from South America in 1970 you'll know that they were sublime. Casually stoking the ball around before finally delivering the killer blow ! Fantastic stuff.
Now it's all started again in South Africa. I missed the opening game but got to see the France game. It looked as though it was being officiated by a bunch of postal worked judging from the shirts they were wearing and the ref was happy to deilver a number of cards eh ?
England have made the finals again this time and as ever it's a delight to see English flags flying from cars all across the country........a touch of class. There's a feeling that we must all get behind the boys. Perhaps this is because we don't celebrate being English in any other way or almost at any other time. Even when our lads won the rugby world cup or the Ashes, the celebrations were pretty mute compared to that which will almost invevitably greet a football world cup win.
For me, I'll be watching England games out of mild curiosity. This is because I personally can't stand the majority of low-lifes that are representing our country. I think I'd feel a bit sick if these guys won and had even more praise and rewards heaped upon them. Role models ? Er, I think not !
We've just lost one captain who " missed " a drugs test and he took over from a really decent bloke from a decent family, a real loss that, JT. Now we've got a skipper we all saw in bar brawl recently...........nice !
Wayne is caught swearing at a referee and in a friendly for God's sake ! This is fine for our former skip ( Rio ) because " he says much worse to Prem refs "..........so that's ok then. Perhaps this is all part of the discipline Capello has brought to the team. Wayne needs to be fired up apparently to play well so that means we must all accept whatever misdemeanours accompany his behaviour then !
Capello is seen as a great manager although recent performances would suggest otherwise. In addition, he lost his rag with photographers earlier in the week........perhaps spending time with those players is affecting him too !
Never mind taking the team on a safari, something I've no doubt most of them have already done or can do at any time if they want. It'd might have better to take these pampered stars to some townships, get them to meet people and give away some signed shirts, have a kick about or whatever. That perhaps would open their eyes to a world beyond their own. Little chance I fear.
What then of England from a purely footballing point of view ?
No Darren Bent again of course. I can't see him ever getting to a world cup..........he can do no more.
Heskey is going again ! George Best didn't play in one world cup and Emile has now done two.........I need say no more ! Apparently he plays well with Wayne, holds it up etc even if he doesn't score.........blimey sounds like Leaburn played about 15 years too early !
Alec Ferguson must be kicking himself. If he'd bought Heskey last summer Man Utd would have won the league....what does he know eh ?
England has several players with recent dodgy injury records. Time will tell if picking King was right but it doesn't look sensible to me when he can't train and is now expected to play so many game in a short space of time.
God knows what they'll do if Rooney gets injured or more likely, suspended. Can't see who's going to bang in the goals because as I said, it won't be Emile that's for sure !
England will of course thrash the US of A. That's the general concensus in the majority of our press and for fans of our national team. There's always this misbelief that England are much better than they are and in this case that, America are rubbish. Well, they're not and a draw won't surprise me.
I'm looking forward to games involving the likes of Brazil, Spain, Argentina etc. We'll see some good football then.
My hope is that Brazil win the cup and if they play as we know they can then they will. That would, some 40 years later, have me reminiscing some more about the boys of 1970 !
I saw my first game back in the sixties when my dad took me along on a very wet and windy day. I recall having to turn my back to the pitch because of it.....shame you can't do that sometimes now !
I sit in the East Stand with my lads who both keep the faith.
I live 75 miles from the Valley having moved away from the area in 1984 but my heart has never left !