Posts Tagged ‘Lampard’

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Pre World Cup 2010 Friendly Report: England v Mexico


He is a rum fellow, Diego Mexican – conquered, with ease, of course, by Spain in the 16th century, who were looking to establish a worldwide monkey empire of their own to run in parallel to those established by the Northern peoples. The hapless Mexicans offered little resistance to the Spaniards, merely using their panpipes as makeshift sawn-off blowpipes in order to fire dried beans at the invaders (a strategy that would have been taken up as UK Defence Policy had the Socialist Party retained power for a fourth successive term in the British Isles). Finally admitted to the human race by a narrow vote of world nations in 1919, theirs has been a negligible contribution to global affairs. In an amusing constitutional quirk, they have their own, token “President”, whose job is to be helped into a suit by a UN delegate and to look solemn and attentive as he takes his orders from an IMF representative to sack nine tenths of his Civil Service. Thereafter, all that is left to him is to wait patiently to be assassinated, a fate that has befallen 19 of the country’s previous 22 leaders, at my estimate.

It was against such a people, whose principal exports have been the wave and the bean, that England’s chiselled Knights were ranged this unseasonably warm evening. It had been said, by sideshow turn Signor Capello’s keepers, that England would experiment with a selection of 30 players in this fixture. However, in truth, any 11 of any 30 Englishmen would have been more than adequate to take on these dazed little fellows, doubtless airlifted by crate from across the Atlantic. Yonder stout, bald fellow in the stands and your equally rotund compadres with the letters “E-N-G-E-R-L-A-N-D” painted across your bellies, little pencil moustached fellow from the East Midlands shaking his fists in a high, febrile manner to camera, step forward. You would have done.

For little they are, the Mexicans. They do not run to height. It is said that the tallest ever Mexican reached the height of 5’10” and was considered such a quirk of nature that he was toured from village to village in a mobile wooden cage and pelted by small children with orange peel as the womenfolk gathered up their skirts in horror. One feared that as the camera panned across the two teams lining up prior to the match, it would only catch the tops of their heads, as they were dwarfed by the English mascots. Thanks to the British technology of adjustable tripods, this humiliation was at least averted. However, the national anthems would reveal a far greater disparity. Ours was delivered by every man jack in white with customary gusto – it must be a comfort to Her Majesty to be assured that, much as if she were a football punted speculatively from 30 yards out moving about in the air at David James, that God, like James, would surely save her. As for the Mexican Anthem, its ominous, martial air suggested that the crashing timpani on the second chorus was a cue for a renegade lieutenant to fire a cannon directly at El Presidente, plume hatted, upright and saluting in the stands. But this was a clash on many fronts.  Bulldogs versus Chihuahuas. Baked versus refried. The Coldstream Guards versus fat men in ponchos making yelping noises. Catastrophic earthquakes every few years versus barely a rumble in our green and pleasant land at all. For all this, we were fighting.

One questioned the selection of referees, all of whom came from Japan. Our own Prince Phillip has in the past questioned whether this people have the appropriate range and depth of optical capability to officiate at a match of this import. My own sentiment was that, since the pitch had been covered copiously in sand beforehand, it was perhaps lax not to have buried these officials up to their necks in it all afternoon prior to the game on such a hot day, as lenient retribution for what the Japanese did to our own Mr David Bowie, as shown in the documentary Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence. An oversight by the groundsman, I feel.

The game commenced at a cracking pelt, with England setting a measured, controlled and above all manly pace – Walcott blasted the ball at Gerrard, Gerrard blasted it at Rooney. As England charged about, almost keeping possession at times, they were indubitably imbued with the red, white and blue spirit, with no sense of the words “red” and “white” having been replaced with “arsed” and “flies”. Theo Walcott ran down the wing, time and again, to the extent that it seems unfair that a finishing tape was not hung between the left goalpost and the corner flag, so as to reward his efforts appropriately. Steven Gerrard incurred a head injury and could count himself among the walking wounded. It would certainly have made a great deal of fucking difference if he’d merely been carried round on a fucking stretcher in circles in the midfield by the equally useful and utterly descript  Carrick and Milner. The uncertainty as to whether Frank Lampard was playing lasted right up prior to the game, and indeed right through till the final whistle. And, as the Mexicans advanced time and again in attack they were easily repelled, with England fans at no point forced to wonder what the fuck a team with any kind of fucking attacking edge might do against a fucking defence like ours with more holes in it than a fucking second hard dartboard.

By the second half, with England three to the good, the game was essentially a waltz, a reminder of gayer times. The pitch was like some ballroom of old, with England’s players cavorting with glee and abandon, while the opposition shambled about them, abject and dusky, like so many waiters and underlings performing the clearing up chores appropriate to men of their subordinate caste. They had shown themselves a poor lot – Sven Goran-Eriksson had led a Swedish expeditionary force to Mexico, stepped ashore and declared himself manager of the team a few years ago but his altruistic efforts to bring European superiority to this rabble had proven in vain. By the end, England’s fans were chanting “ole, ole”! As England strung pass after pass together. First one, then another. Then, a few minutes later, another one. Followed by another.

It was abundantly clear, as the final whistle blew, that England this night displayed all they will need to in order to bring the World Cup back home to Great Britain where it belongs, where it can at last be set in the British museum, perhaps adjacent to the Egypt room or the Elgin Marbles. With Ledley King so deadly from one foot out, particularly when given the space his due, and Peter Crouch equally lethal from one inch out, and with Glen Johnson sure to repeat several times the run and shot that led to his altogether typical goal, that all that remains is to check that the MOT on the open top bus has been properly carried out.

Treasonably, however, there were voices which suggested that Peter Crouch’s second goal might have been in some way illegitimate, on the grounds of his having practically performed a volleyball manoeuvre in order to steer the ball into the net. Absolute banana oil, of course. It was clearly a case of “ball to hand”, and for it have been penalised would have been as unjust as the censure suffered by England’s comely Champion John Terry for the “vagina to penis” incident for which he was recently so cruelly ostracised . . .