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Chapter 10: Euro 2012

June 11, 2014

Our manager was appointed just a month before the tournament started, and our best centre-back, John Terry, was in the middle of a racism-row.

Brilliant preparation!

But Roy Hodgson got stuck into the task in hand, Norway away and Belgium at Wembley were our 2 warm up games, both won 1-0.

I went down to the Belgium game with Varls, Mighty, Spaz and my bro Andy. We got into Covent Garden nice and early, in the pub for 11am. A pub with a load of pissed-up Belgians.

1 was soon over trying to communicate with us, but he was that drunk we’d have struggled to understand even if we’d have been fluent in Belgian, Flemish, or whatever they speak in.

“Kompany!! 4, nillll!!!!”, is all he kept repeating. His mates soon came over to apologise, we all had a group picture, and then off we went, and I wonder if the pissed Belgian ever made it into Wembley.

Next stop was Leicester Square, Belgian’s everywhere just singing, us and a few other English the massive minority.

We ended up in the Wetherspoons next to Baker Street station for a few more beers and pitchers, the Globe pub opposite was already heaving with everyone outside singing. It was only a friendly but the atmosphere was rising…

… before dramatically falling once inside Wembley.

I was disappointed, around 89,000 in the stadium but the atmosphere nowhere near that of the England vs Jamaica farewell game at Old Trafford in 2006. All everyone did was make paper aeroplanes out of the card left on the seats to make the flag out of, and we were outsung easily by the Belgians.

Danny Welbeck netted the goal in the first half before Gary Cahill fell awkwardly and broke his jaw, a late withdrawal from the squad.

England, France, Ukraine, Sweden.

Quite a lot of people didn’t think we’d make it out of the group, understandable really. Ukraine were hosts, Sweden we never really do great against, the French strong opposition as always, whilst we had a manager who’d been in the job just over a month.

It was a solid start however, a 1-1 draw with France, something to build on.

The Brewers Bar was absolutely packed on the Friday for the Sweden game, everyone was out for it and everyone was up for it as the anticipation and atmosphere started building.

Andy Carroll’s bullet header had us all in raptures, what a great goal, before the Swedes made it 2-1 after poor England defending.

Theo Walcott came on and equalised with his first touch, before Danny Welbeck produced a little moment of class to win the game and send the Brewers Bar berserk!

What a game, what a comeback, what a feeling!!

It felt like watching the England of old, full of fight, full of spirit, making us feel a bit of pride again and with it that bit of hope…

We ended up in the Anchor that night on the karaoke, Spaz and me sung a bit of Scouting for Girls before we all got up and blasted out 3 Lions, the whole pub singing along. We all ended up smashed, great game, great win, great night!

Next up was Ukraine and I was around Varlsy’s to see Rooney win it for us and see us go through in top spot.

Not bad for a team tipped to go out at the first hurdle!

It was back to a packed-out Brewers Bar on the Sunday night for the quarter-final vs Italy, the BB had become the place to be and it’s a pity it’s not there for this summer!

Welbeck should’ve given us an early lead, and after that the Italians gradually began to dominate as we held on.

Penalty’s increasingly looked like our best chance of getting through, and inevitably, penalty’s it was.

And, inevitably, defeat it was –

I slumped onto the seat behind me as the pub fell quiet, penalty’s again it was just so frustrating now. It doesn’t matter how little you play our chances down beforehand, that moment you get knocked out on penalty’s is always absolutely gutting. I went back home in a bit of a sulk, it’s always a comedown when England get knocked out, that excitement and buzz goes from the tournament. Getting knocked out on a Sunday night just made it all worse as couldn’t stay out sorrow-drowning, had to get sorted for work in the morning!

Despite yet another penalty-shoot out defeat, there was enough to be positive about for us England fans after Euro 2012.

We had an English manager back in charge, someone who would actually answer difficult questions in English and not revert to Italian (though Hodgson is the intellectual type so he probably could!) and the England team just seemed a bit more positive and looked a lot more happier than they had done for a good few years.

If Hodgson was left to get on with it, we might just have a half-decent squad to take to Brazil in 2014…

And here we are, just 1 day before the tournament is due to start.

These are the lowest expectation levels I’ve known before a World Cup and it’s how it should be really, but I don’t get all the negativity.

We accept we’re not the best international team, we don’t keep the ball quite well enough and our defence isn’t the strongest.

But we have a squad with a brilliant mixture of experience and youth. We have Gerrard and Lampard in their final tournament, desperate for success, and Rooney in his prime who will be desperate to banish his demons from previous World Cups. We have the likes of Shaw, Barkley, Sterling, Sturridge who will be fearless and just excited about the prospect of playing in the World Cup.

We have raw pace and a directness in us that will scare older ageing defences, if we use our strength’s correctly then we can do a bit of damage ourselves instead of worrying about what the likes of Pirlo etc can do to us.

We have a squad of players capable of playing in that first XI, not like squad’s of old where 1 or 2 might be in to make up the numbers or because they’re a good utility player to have around for back-up. 

It’s a tough group, but it’s a group I think we will qualify from.

Should we qualify then 1 of Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, and Japan await in the last 16, all perfectly beatable.

If everything goes to form then Spain or Brazil await in the quarters, and that’s where I see us coming undone.

But… we’ve beat both sides in the last 2/3 years, and drew in Brazil last summer?

Gotta dream, haven’t you!

France highlights –

Sweden highlights –

Ukraine highlights –

England fans after the Ukraine game –

Italy peno shootout –

All goals –

Stats and facts –

And just fast forward this to 3 minutes again and start believing –


From → England

One Comment
  1. You never know. Unlucky against Italy the other night I thought.

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