Saturday, February 16, 2008

Give it a rest!

I sat euphoric as Eduardo Da Silva and Croatia romped past England and into the European Championships. Yet for me the key difference was the sportsmanship between the two teams. All you have to do to understand the epitomization of this is to watch the player's reactions whenever an England player is allegedly fouled. The Croats take the referee's decision, usually with little reluctance. It appears however, that England forgot not only to take notes when learning how to beat the offside trap, but also passed a blind eye over the finer points of footballing etiquette.
A typical scenario: the whistle blows. The poor referee faces a charge not disimilar to a Panzer division. The expletive-spewing Wayne Rooney is backed up by his trusty steed, the horse-snouted Rio Ferdinand. Similary, Fat Frank and John Terry berate the referee whenever a decision goes against them.
It was this lack of sportsmanship that made it feel very hard for me to feel sorry for the Three Lions when they lay, destitute on the muddy pasture that is Wembley. I wrote this seeing my Gunners being hammered by the Devilish Reds, so take that for what you will.
Ironically, I am a former Man Utd in hiding, disillusioned by the arrogance that was, and unfortunately, still is, a ever-present feature of the Arena of Nightmares - no, sorry - Theatre of Dreams. So you can imagine my sense of deja-vu when Nani went waltzing down the pitch playing keep-up. And a big thank you to Mathieu Flamini for restoring normalcy with what can only be described as a "heavy" -but legal- challenge. If only the midfield terrier had started the game, then Manchester Utd would not have been able to take such liberties with the Gunners and the result would have, perhaps been a little different.

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