Good morning from a sultry London. At least, I expect it to be sultry later on, or I want my money back. The shorts are on, perfectly complementing the hairy white legs, and I even got the electric fan out the loft last night it was so warm. Thatâ€™s as big a meteorological death wish as youâ€™ll ever see â€“ it will be grey and dull within days.
According to Arsenal.com, â€˜Fabregas [is] through to the next roundâ€™, which will fill the 23 men of Portugal with hope. I know heâ€™s good and his beard is skill, but even he canâ€™t do it alone, can he?
I tell you what though, heâ€™s had as restful a World Cup as you could hope for as an Arsenal fan, playing a whole hour in total, which just about says it all about the strength of the Spanish squad. If they donâ€™t go all the way to the business end of this competition it wonâ€™t be for the lack of options. If Fabregas was English heâ€™d be our best player (burned out, missing passes, moaning about being bored).
Talking of which, I was interested to read that the English players were â€˜boredâ€™ in their swanky hotel. Apparently thereâ€™s nothing to do when theyâ€™re not training. What are they â€“ twelve years old?
For those of an English hue, weâ€™ve got the chop-slobbering prospect of another England v Germany humdinger tomorrow. Contrary to what you might think, our competitive record against Germany (penalties apart) is about 50:50. The two penalty defeats though, at the World Cup in 1990 and at Euro â€™96, are the ones that most of us remember for obvious reasons.
Back in 1990 (peering through the sands of time) I was loafing about in Australia and found myself watching the semi-final at 3am in a small Queensland town, the name of which, like most things from 1990, I have long forgotten. Bizarrely, we had progressed through the tournament flattering to deceive (ring any bells?) but when it came to the semi-final we played out of our skin only to lose. The memory of Chris Waddleâ€™s 45-degree penalty is etched in my mind, as are the hideous mullets on both sides (Waddle and Voller: guilty as charged).
Strangely though, come the semi-final Chris Waddle had dragged himself into the new decade by having his mullet cut off. Was it is his Samson moment (not Kenny Sansom before you ask â€“ the biblical one)? Would England have won the World Cup had Waddle not dismulleted? Now thereâ€™s a thought.
Breaks my heart seeing that defeat even now.
By the second of those defeats, at Euro â€™96, I was living in London, and when Southgate Waddled his penalty, I remember striking up a fat cigar in a pub on West End Lane, watching a few extremely frustrated and well-lubricated England fans â€˜let a bit of steam offâ€™ in the road.
So no, I donâ€™t have any great recollections of playing Germany in the matches that matter, because by and large, in the matches that matter in my lifetime, we have lost to them.
Sorry this has been mostly about England â€“ weâ€™re promised a signing â€œquite soonâ€ by the boss, and that could well be Koscielny â€“ but thereâ€™s nothing concrete yet and Iâ€™m done with speculation.
Righto, enjoy your weekend.