There are some dates you just know, aren’t there? The Battle of Hastings (1066), Neil Armstrong walking on the moon (apparently) (1969), The Great Fire of London (1666) and then there’s 1966. The first, last and only time that England have won the World Cup. It’s the date we’ve heard about since we were children. The date we see in the eyes of the elders when they get that thousand-yard stare.
Most of us have no idea how winning even feels. Oh sure we’ve had Andy Murray. We’ve had Johnny Wilkinson. We’ve won the Ashes. There’s a treasure chest of gold medals from London 2012. Sure, we’ve felt some sporting joy. But football? It’s been nothing but cup after World Cup of tears, disappointment and our England shirts in the bin.
Four years ago this summer, the sun shone, England flags were painted optimistically on our faces and our hopes were raised once more, but then… England lost 4-1 to Germany. Our faces smudged with tears. We went home. Nothing can ruin a barbecue quite like an England World Cup loss.
Well, steel yourself England because on June 12, World Cup 2014 kicks off in Brazil.
National tension and anticipation mounts. Will the lads have enough time to acclimatise or will they feel too hot? Will Rooney sparkle or flop? Will the venues just be muddy building sites? Will the host city Manaus be flooded by Amazonian rains? Will everyone contract Dengue fever? What is Dengue fever? These are the questions that pray on our minds.
Whether you’re a football fan, or you just plan to avoid the whole thing, it could be a tricky couple of weeks to navigate. We’ve put together a helpful list of dos and don’ts to guide you through it.
Not a big football fan? Do sporadically shout out any of the following if you’re a bit unsure of what’s going on: ‘Ref’, ‘Handball’, ‘That’s got to be a card’, ‘Offside’, ‘Nice’, ‘Get up there’, ‘Come on England’ and ‘Yes Rooney!/No Rooney…’.
Similarly, if you’re not that bothered about watching, do your shopping while the game is on. You’ll have the supermarket all to yourself.
If in the pub, do buy your drinks just slightly before half time to avoid being crushed by thirsty people in a massive rush.
Do, at all costs, avoid a jumping up and down headlock from a taller stranger in the event of an England goal. Beer in the face anyone?
Do appreciate it if your friend has dragged his TV into the garden, even if it’s raining. Electrical hazard, yes, but well worth it for the al fresco experience.
Do cover young children’s eyes and ears if things take a turn for the worse, but at least let them have a hot dog before they’re ushered into the car for the silent drive home.
Don’t beep your car horn in that annoying way. You know what we mean.
Hopefully this time it’ll be a more appealing sounding instrument, like maybe a harp, but just in case, don’t take a Vuvuzela to the pub with you. Very annoying.
No matter what, don’t attempt to cheer anyone up in the event of an England loss.
Look very solemn and respectful. Perhaps even go home.
Don’t say any of the following: ‘It’s only a game’, ‘Roll on 2018’, ‘Shall we see what else is on?’ l Don’t book something unimportant, like your wedding, on the day of any of the England games. Lots of your guests will hate you. Alternatively, if you’re trying to trim numbers, especially unwanted ‘partners’, this could be an excellent plan.
Don’t say anything regretful about the nationality of the opposing team.
For example, we totally depend on the Italians for coffee, pizza, ice cream and stylish clothes. In two weeks’ time, you might wish you could take back all the expletives you yelled in your local Italian delicatessen.
Don’t drink in the morning. It’s never OK. Not at the airport, not on red letter days, never. Unless you want to feel hungover and weepy by 5pm. Zzzzz.
Don’t bother buying a new England top. They cost £40+ and you can never wear it again without looking like ‘the person wearing the England top’. Just get your old one out of the bin.
Don’t ﬁx a gigantic England ﬂag to your house or car. It comes across as aggressive.
Don’t walk around town wearing an England ﬂag as a cape. Again, aggressive.
Where to watch?
The Maypole, Portugal Street, Cambridge – watch here for a screen in every bar and a lively, friendly atmosphere. Open until late for that ﬁrst England game.
The Avery, Regent Street, Cambridge – a projector upstairs, plus eight other screens, a Parker’s Piece view and two bottles of beer for £6.
The Regal, Regent Street, Cambridge – they’ve installed a new screen especially for the World Cup, have a busy atmosphere and are open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Just watch at home – front row seats, free drinks and close to the bathroom.
Round One: England Matches
June 14 – 11pm
England v Italy
June 19 – 8pm
England v Uruguay
June 24 – 5pm
England v Costa Rica