I feel bad for the English soccer/"football" team, but their travails are worth it for the response they evoke in the UK press. We have a nice, wry local sample here in Clive Crook's column. But for an extended specimen, see Scott Murray of the Guardian with his real-time blog of the 4-1 rout by the Germans. Remember that he is describing his country's team:

67 min: THIS COULD BE IT FOR ENGLAND. Germany 3-1 England. The ball having bounced off the wall, four German players stream upfield, no red shirts bothering to chase back and help. Down the inside left, Schweinsteiger rolls the ball wide right to Muller on the right-hand edge of the England box. James gets a hand to the shot, but it was hit hard as you like and flies into the bottom-right corner....

70 min: THIS IS SO EASY NOW. Germany 4-1 England. England have a throw in on the edge of Germany's area. They quickly lose the ball, which is walloped up the left wing. Ozil gets there ahead of Barry, and of course - need I bother saying this? - the defence is nowhere to be seen. Ozil makes it all the way to the area, before clipping the ball across to Muller, taking out James. Mulller lifts the ball into the net. It is over...

74 min: As things stand, this will be England's worst-ever World Cup finals defeat...

76 min: England are a pathetic rabble now...

79 min: "Is it true that the England fans at the game are now singing 'It's just like watching North Korea'?" asks Ted Lee. Heh. I have no idea, but to be fair to England's support, they have moved from being rightfully livid at half time to enjoying the gallows humour.

"Pathetic rabble"! You have to acknowledge greatness when you see it. I submit that no other national press culture could really pull off this bleak gallows-humor tone. American accounts of the loss to Ghana yesterday sounded... sad. This is why, despite Clive Crook's suggestion, England must surely play on. (From the Guardian's site, below.)

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UPDATE: Howard Weaver has a better example:

When I was at Cambridge in 1992-93 I read this in one of the national papers (probably the Guardian) and have saved it ever since:

"The England cricket team - failing, morally shifty, globally insignificant, distracted by irrelevant attention to demeanor, run by discredited leaders insolently continuing in office - may not be a credit to the nation, but is a perfect reflection of it."