This next one is going to get me in a lot of trouble…
This week, the world watched and cheered as 33 Chilean miners were rescued after spending 10 long weeks trapped in the bowels of the earth.
Still easier than being an England fan.
Of course, I can joke now. All of the miners are safe and sound… and to be honest, some of them looked like they enjoyed the ride up. But’s it’s not been a fun ride for those who support the Three Lions.
Tuesday’s game against Montenegro was ghastly: shades of the World Cup against Algeria. No ideas, no goals, errant passing and shoddy refereeing. You could say England have been fumbling around in the dark with no way of knowing how this will end. Ashley Young looked like he tripped over his neighbour’s hard hat…
The Chilean miners had their entire country and — you could argue — the entire world cheering for them. But no one feels for England and its spoiled millionaires. By the middle of the second half, you could hear the frustrated fans groaning every time England tried to move forward, only to have a player stumble over a cross or lose the ball in no man’s land.
On the Guardian’s podcast, the crew mentioned how tiny Montenegro overachieves for a country its size, with decent handball (snicker) and water polo teams. Add football to that list. The former Yugoslav state is the fifth seed in the group, but after playing half of its Euro qualifying games, it sits in first place… undefeated.
It’s not all darkness for the Lions. They are also undefeated. But in a group that plays two fewer games (meaning there are six fewer points up for grabs), they can not afford to finish second. That means their final qualifier next year in Montenegro has assumed greater importance.
Let’s hope there’s a light at the end of the tunnel… even if it is a long way off.