An estimated eighty percent of the nation will be glued to their TVs between seven and ten a.m. It's all about soccer ...about the World Cup in Japan and South Korea, and about three fantastic weeks in which we've rediscovered what it's like to be successful.… and the delight of being modest in triumph.
First came the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. Four days, literally millions of people on the streets and an outpouring of national pride. Then came that Lennox Lewis victory in Memphis. Lennox, courteous as always, after he'd finally battered Iron Mike Tyson into defeat. And then, to everyone’s surprise, our national soccer team has started winning at last …trouncing the Danish team last weekend, but more importantly, our old enemy Argentina the week before. Twenty years ago we went to war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. Since then, they’ve beaten us twice on the soccer field. Revenge was sweet last week, and English flags are flying in every street. But it's not just the winning that has captured us. It's the way we've won. Our boys, trained by a Swede called Sven, behaved like true Englishmen under a hail of abuse from the Argentine team. The English simply shrugged and walked away from each possible confrontation. We’ve seen enough soccer hooligans smashing up city centres. This time, our supporters have behaved like, well, like Gentlemen. And to add to the sweetness, take a look at the French – our long-term rivals across the English Channel – their country seems to be descending into chaos. Their soccer team, former world champions and this year’s favourites, crashed out of the World Cup at the first hurdle… and twenty per cent of their electorate voted for a fascist as President.
You know, it’s great to be an Englishman at the moment