Monday, 25 June 2012
The Great Escape
The missed opportunities in love, work and play are reflected in the missed goals in the penalty shootout. The sense of purposelessness which can infect your life is aptly mirrored in England's midfield play. The sense of helplessness a parent feels watching their child doing a particularly crass thing, is re-enacted in the range of expressions on the England manager's face.
Not only that, England's team holds up a mirror to our nation's endeavours. We haven't won a major title for nearly 50 years, our footballers are paid ludicrous amounts for achieving very little. Our game is in the hands of overseas owners, its fans a seething mass of malcontents, desperate, baying and pleading in turn. Our team is launched on international campaigns, only to return tails between its legs, monstrous sums spent on achieving bugger all.
I could have been talking about the state of our nation.
We are diminished, a small island lashed by storms meteorological and financial, comically believing we are more than we are. It takes an octogenarian floating down the Thames to momentarily revive the nation's sense of itself, and a comic to expose the gnawing sense of privilege that haunts our nation's conscience.
We have the football team we deserve, limited, lacking any sense of direction and bankrupt.