If you have ever had the exhilarating pleasure of bungee jumping, as some of the England rugby team did earlier in the tournament, you would have some idea what it was like to watch England’s dreadful run in this year’s tournament. The expectations you have are shaky and unreasoned at first, but feel justified, just as was felt before England even departed for New Zealand.
The feeling of ‘will I come back up alive?’ as you peer over the ledge into the expansive gorge, is quite akin to the feeling of ‘will England come out of this World Cup respectably, with heads-held-high? Or will they come out scathed and reeling from the media backlash?’ And then the small seconds it takes to fall, watching the ground fly towards you, before you go as far as the elasticised rope will allow, bounce up and down, then hang their, limply – all over in the merest of moments. This analogical climax appears to all but encapsulate the entire England campaign throughout this World Cup. All, bar the ‘exhilarating’ part.
…shown very little in the way of professional conduct,
After yet another couple of citings, incidents, and…Oh, it seems futile to be yet another reporter of England’s frequent mishaps. The team appear to have, at times, shown very little in the way of professional conduct, whilst in attendance at this tournament, but this may have largely been played up due to their dire performances on the pitch. And justifiably so, right?
The French team, instead of another whimsical display from them, upped their tempo and determination, bringing an element of enlivened old-time rivalry to this match. It was hardly a sorrow sight; the game contained a man-of-the-match winning display from France’s prevailing forward, Imanol Harinordoquy.
…never able to really sustain any pressure…
The French dominated from the kick-off, with England never able to really sustain any pressure of their own in order to set up an edge-of-the-seat moment for the supporters back home. It was an impressive display by France, but it looks as if they may have a tougher game on their hands against the vitalised team of Wales.
As for England; Jonny Wilkinson and the class of 2003 are the men of yesteryear, and the team of tomorrow have a new coach to find…perhaps.
Image courtesy of Imanol Harinordoquy