Living and Breathing Devastating Defeat
LONDON--Finding the pub, as it turned out, was the easy part.
Suffering through a 4-1 shellacking at the hands of Germany with a barroom full of English fans was, well, a bit miserable.
You think Leaf fans always expect the worse? Not compared to English football fanatics, who have suffered through penalty kicks and red cards and seem to expect no matter what, it the end something terrible will happen to their national side.
Which of course, it did today in South Africa.
From the Hops! Pub in Covent Garden - what it lacked in ambiance, it made up for in HD televisions - the misery was real and shared as what The Kaiser (Franz Beckenbauer) had forecast came true. As I emailed back and forth with The Star's Chris Young from his digs in South Africa - Young appears to have a footie man-crush on the superb Mesut Ozil - there was cautious optimism in the pub as groups of men and women assembled for the big game. Nearby stood a tiny clutch of face-painted Female German fans, utterly unbothered as they cheered on their country,
For a mere £15 a bucket of six imported beers could be had to lubricate the viewing of the match on the hottest day of the year in London. Interestingly, as God Save the Queen played over the Telly, few sang, and fewer stood as it played. Methinks O Canada in a big city bar before a big hockey game would get more respect.
At 2-0 Germany, the response was mostly stunned silence. At 2-1, Frank Lampard's obvious goal wasn't counted, and the atmosphere stank of sullen despair.
It was "C'mon England" in the second half up until Lampard's free kick was not only blocked by the German wall, but turned into a jail break that led to the third German goal and lights out for the English. "Way to go, Fat Frank!" howled one fan, although the lean Lampard looked anything but chubby.
It was, really, anything but ugly when it was over. not a hooligan or buffoon to be seen as fans spilled out into the streets. more like quiet resignation, really, plus an expectation that the disallowed goal - no replay review in this day and age? Really? - would dominate the headlines on Monday.
Well that plus England's dreadful defense - "hopeless" according to former national team star Alan Shearer - which looked throughout like it had been organized by Ron Wilson, with Hapless David James playing the part of Vesa Toskala.
Too bad Rio Ferdinand couldn't play because of injury. Too bad John Terry turned into such a horse's ass in the months before this World Cup.
Too bad this happens only every four years. Oh, the ecstasy but mostly the agony, especially in England today.
For £15 and six beers, quite worth it, all in all.