For a brief moment—a flicker of time it now seems—the world opened wide to our Spurs and all their ascendant component parts. Kane had scored twice and we led ten man Arsenal, at the Lane, and were poised to go top of the table, if only for 24 hours.
And since? Sanchez’ equalizer. The frustrating draw at home to the Baggies. Alli’s foolish suspension. The devastating halftime and after collapse to Chelsea, including Dembele’s even more foolish suspension. And then, with the title officially out of reach, the fall to St. Totteringham’s Day culminating in an embarrassment at St. James Park.
Couldn’t get much worse before August would bring the chance for a revival—but in a league now dominated by marquee managers round every corner—could it?
London calling for Roy Hodgson. (Maybe he and his other recent departee could plop down their frustrations on a sofa in a nice time share in the south of France. Dave and Roy’s excellent adventure, or “The Brexiters”. Nice fodder for an ITV soap, right?) We had to know that an England populated by no fewer than five Spurs might be capable of….. the most shocking defeat in the history of the country that invented the sport. Are we that surprised?
Kyle lost his man on the first goal– he and Danny were stifled from their normal ventures down the wings by some stiff Icelandic defending. Dele and Harry had chances and missed. Eric, despite his terrific play in previous games, gave way in Roy’s mind to a Arsenal player who only started one game this past season. Kane will come under more criticism than any other player on the pitch, and perhaps deservedly so. Whether it was the fatigue of the past 20 months, the pressure of a nation, or simply the limitations of a player not operating within a preferred system (see Lionel Messi in international finals in 2014-15-16: 360 minutes of football and no goals for him or his side), “OOOO” failed to impress.
One worries about this hangover, perhaps as much as the other big cataclysm Albion faced through its action this past week. Five young players making their first mark for country ended up in shame—and will never be forgotten for it. They will hear the stick at every away ground next season—they will have to live with losing the plot not once, but twice in a matter of eight weeks. I suppose the easy and convenient solace is that they will either build from this disappointment, or they won’t. It rains in England. Hard. Continually. Deal with it.
As for us, we can take solace from three things. First, we’re not named Cameron, Corbyn, Johnson, Gove or any of the other (great Guardian column today likening the machinations in Labour to “Game of Thrones conducted by the Teletubbies”) Brexit bunch. Second, we’re not Argentine and must live with the fact that a team supposed to be the world’s best, not just up and coming like England are supposed to be, hasn’t won a trophy in 23 years and now appears to have lost its talisman for good.
And third, if the Germans aren’t to win this, the final could just be a host country captained by our keeper and captain versus a truly ascendant bunch anchored by our two central defenders. France-Belgium. I know it’s the continent and all that, but I for one would enjoy that European flavor and for at least two hours I might forget about both of the shocking Brexits.
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