Thursday, 22 November 2007

I got terribly worked up yesterday morning about an article in the Basle edition of Switzerland's daily free paper "20 Minuten". The police chief of the Canton of Basel-Land had gone on the record to say that he hoped England would not make it to the finals as it would guarantee a peaceful tournament next summer. I can accept it if someone wants England to lose; it's a fact of life here on the "continent", although lots of Swiss do support England as if they were their second national team. But his opinion was seemingly based on nothing but the usual lazy prejudices that still get spouted around about English supporters in this part of the world. Grr.

As for the England football team itself, the less said the better. For my own selfish personal reasons, I'm deeply disappointed that England won't be taking part at Euro 2008 because the tournament is taking place in my own backyard, so to speak. Once I get over this disappointment, however, I hope that watching a major tournament as a neutral will be enjoyable in its own way. After all, there is a precedent: the 1994 World Cup in the USA - the last tournament England failed to qualify for - was one of my favourite World Cups. I still remember the buzz I felt of surreptitiously switching on the small telly upstairs at my parents' house at midnight to catch belters like Romania vs. Colombia and USA vs. Colombia.

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