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Chapter 7: World Cup ’06

June 8, 2014

The End: Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo fired his penalty into the top corner, and you have never heard a full pub or bar fall so silent.

Portugal, again, Ricardo’s saves, again, penalties, again.

We stood leaning against the wall, no one talking. Everyone was too deflated. Blokes were in tears. I headed outside into Yates beer garden where the atmosphere was equally as sombre.

Sheer silence in the Saturday sunshine.

The penalties –

The Beginning: Jamaica

4 weeks previous and it’d all looked so promising!

Varls, Mark, Joe and me headed upto Old Trafford for the England vs Jamaica friendly.

We found a great pub by chance which from the outside looked like a hotel, but there was an underground style bar there that was packed – can’t remember it’s name.

After a few Boddingtons and Castlemaine’s we walked down to Old Trafford, English and Jamaicans having a good laugh with eachother, a proper carnival atmosphere.

There was something like 10,000 Jamaicans inside OT who contributed greatly to the best atmosphere I’ve known at an England game, granted I’ve only been to 3 at Old Trafford and 4 at Wembley but still, this was some party.

Next to me sat a Jamaican courting couple, they must’ve been well into their 40’s possibly 50’s but they spent all game groping, kissing, basically just fraternising with each other and not giving a toss about the game! Fair play, that’s how the Jamiacan’s roll.

England won easily 6-0, Crouchy treated us to his robot celebration and also missed a penalty in this eventful afternoon.

After the game I remember us streaming out of Wembley and a Jamaican bloke running up to a TV camera and shouting in it “We was robbed!!”

Here’s all the goals (with some great US commentary!) on what was 1 of my favourite ever football days. –

The Middle: Paraguay, Trinidad, Sweden, Ecuador

It was the same party atmosphere in Yates that we became accustomed to during Euro 2004. Everyone packed in for the Paraguay game and it was the usual sing-songs to 3 Lions etc before the national anthem and the chants of “Eng-er-land Eng-er-land Eng-er-land…”

It was a dream start vs Paraguary, 3 mins in and a Carlos Gamarra own goal gave us the lead. We assumed this was just the beginning and more goals would flow, but no, England laboured in the German heat and it was a pretty dull game after that. Still, a winning start.

Paraguay highlights –

Next up was Trinidad, and a chance to boost the old goal difference. Or so we thought. This was a Thursday evening fixture and being the young pisshead that I was, the Thursday and Friday were booked off work.

The afternoon was spent in Lord Burton before finding a spot in Yates, and we awaited the goal-fest. It didn’t come.

We just could not score. Trinidad rode their luck but they were good value for it, and the unthinkable started to become a real possibility.

But it was good old Crouchy to the rescue! Yes Crouchy rose highest at the back post to head in (whilst pulling the Trinidad defenders dreadlocks!) and Yates erupted, beer up the wall, chairs upended, bodies on the floor, the usual.

Stevie G added a 2nd in the last min to secure the victory.

Everyone’s England shirts were covered in ale, but Varlsy’s white England home shirt was beginning to look like a red England away shirt. During 1 of the goal celebrations, I can’t remember which, I jumped from a chair onto Varlsy. Varlsy was off balance anyway and we ended up on the deck. We get up, someone comes upto Varls to let him know there’s blood pouring from his arm, he’d cut it on a bit of glass.

It was a tasty cut, quite deep with a lot of blood. But Varls being Varls told us “Look, I ain’t going hospital”, got himself another beer, and spent the rest of the night getting funny looks as he stood in his blood-covered England shirt.

Trinidad highlights –

We’d already qualified, but avoiding defeat against the Swedes meant we would top the group. It finished 2-2 with Joe Cole scoring an absolute screamer –

Sunday afternoon and we’re back in Yates for the Ecuador 2nd round tie. A game I can’t remember much of ended 1-0, Beckham with a free-kick –

Which bought us all back to Yates on Saturday 1st July, and yet more England heartbreak.

All the World Cup ’06 stats and facts –

All the goals, and there’s some belters! –


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