How to deal with your team being knocked out of the World Cup, national pride and ignoring online trolls

So at 1am Eastern Australian time, the final game of the 2018 World Cup was played and France won the competition. Congratulations France, a very good team and hardly a shock result. This didn’t make me look forward to my 77th day of farmwork today as I work with a French girl that I knew would be more than happy to boast about it. I also work with her friend, a Belgian girl that beat England to third place the day before. The French girl was more upset she wasn’t at home celebrating with her fellow Frenchmen and women.

I’m honestly happier with our performance at this World Cup more than anything. This was the joint-best performance by England in a World Cup on foreign soil, we ended our penalty shootout curse and made it to the final four. 

Also, football helps inspire me to do as well as I can in my personal life. It is times like these that make me realise that I cannot solely rely on others for bragging rights, if I want to achieve I have to put my own effort in. The England players, as well as the players from all 32 teams, are representing a nation but also being the best they can be, making the most of their own lives. Losing helps remind me that we have to be the best we can be and probably have to rely on ourselves if we want to be successful and victorious as individuals regardless of the paths we choose to go down. 

But back to the recent tournament. The majority of England thinks that the team did very well and are happy with that. But that doesn’t prevent many people making their voices heard on YouTube videos and England’s social media sites. 

‘No one cares’

‘Without the trophy though’

‘At least something came back…’

‘You were lucky to get that far’

There are some very bitter people in the world. It takes effort to be negative online- first, I have to search the page I want to be negative on. That is unless I have already followed the page and get regular updates, which confuses me as to why someone would ‘like’ something or someone in the first place if they prefer to insult. Secondly, I have to hit ‘add comment’, type away and spread a little poison. This procedure takes a little time, enough time to make me think ‘Do I really want to spend my time doing this?!’. 

Admittedly I have been a little salty on occasions in my life, and I have been drawn in to respond to people too. Now I refrain from such comments altogether, instead I prefer to let them inspire a new post on my blog. It’s healthier and more productive.

I understand some of the hate, some people get their kicks from negativity for a number of reasons. Some are bitter they may have been knocked out by England, as I’m sure many England fans are and have been in the past. Every country is prone to this. Some see England as a big footballing nation (despite many England fans being more than willing to disagree due to our bad World Cup and Euro record) and take great pride in seeing Iceland knock us out in 2016 and Croatia this time round in the semi finals. 

In my opinion, we were much more humble during this tournament than many would think. Yes we chanted ‘it’s coming home!’ endlessly throughout each stage, a song we have sang since its release 22 years ago to no avail. If you haven’t heard it or seen the video, take a look. It’s pretty catchy:

It is a song we sing with great optimism and a little humour. If you asked many people in recent decades if they truly felt it was coming home as they belt the lyrics out in chorus, it would seem apparent that we know we aren’t the greatest football nation to grace this earth. If we are great at something, it is laughing at ourselves. It is a shame British humour doesn’t always seem so apparent outside of the border. 

But with this in mind, how many other nations have anthems that actually envision the glory seen by the eight teams that have won the competition in its 88 years of existence? I’m sure a few. Can you imagine any teams chant being humble? 

‘La la la la… we may potentially win with a good performance… La la la’. 

Not in a million years! 

Sport is about competition, and having the belief in winning surely helps it become reality. It doesn’t bother me that nations convince themselves they will be victorious. It’s a football game, not a world war. But then again, I guess I am being over dramatic. It’s only a few comments after all. But it does seem to be aimed towards the more dominant teams in world football. If Iceland’s fans shouted at the top of their lungs how great they are, it is seen as cute. National pride. If it’s a more dominant nation, it is arrogance. I guess that comes with it, everyone roots for the underdog. 

But that is what many of us think we are. Underdogs! We never expected to get as far as we did, the hope of winning something that we haven’t won since ’66 has us dreaming but not expecting. We are in that weird place between seeing ourselves as underdogs (not to the same degree as smaller footballing nations of course) and being seen overseas as an overly optimistic country that thinks it is a favourite, when really it is an underdog. 

Gary Lineker, former England player and now TV presenter for Match of the Day for the BBC, tweeted a great response to the accusations of England being ‘arrogant’ with the song:


Just having a laugh, guys…
Just another laugh, he didn’t really buy a trophy cabinet. I don’t think…

So these are my thoughts on this. Maybe I’m being too bitter myself, it’s only football banter after all and boy did I love seeing our European and South American football rivals leave the competition early. But I wouldn’t bother searching their national teams Instagram to talk shit. If we spent as much time being creative as so many people do being negative, we would all be winners.

What do you think? Do you feel certain nations of the world are seen as arrogant whilst other nations get away with it? How does your country compare and was it in this years World Cup? 

As always, I would love to hear your opinion and personal perspective wherever you are.

See you soon, Euro 2020!

The English finally have an excuse to celebrate the Fourth of July! (Is beer acceptable at 6am?)

Many of my followers will already know that I am English. More often than not I describe myself as British (I’m half Scottish and prefer to say British the majority of the time) however I was born in northern England and when we compete in the World Cup, I’m a very proud Englishman. That is until we go out on penalties, almost tradition in recent decades.

That was until today. 

This morning at 4am, July 4th on Australia’s east coast, a bunch of us woke up from our early alarms (to the inevitable anger of those that had work later than morning) and headed to the pool room to watch our nation play on the hostels only television. We played Colombia, a strong team from a football-mad continent. That is never a walk in the park. 

It was tense. We looked like we were heading for the win until (there is always an until) Colombia suddenly came to life in the dying minutes. 1-1 led to extra time and then penalties. I grabbed a beer at this point, the time wasn’t a factor considering how on edge I was. My friend on a Facebook status described my situation very well when he posted to his news feed that he was ‘shaking like a shitting dog’ towards the end. It is as accurate as it was funny. 

And then we won. I’m still processing this. We really came out victorious on penalties?! This is something I have never witnessed in my life so far, despite plenty of shootouts.

So here I am in the picture, celebrating with a cheap beer at 6am. 

Who says the English can’t celebrate Fourth of July? 😉

I had two more, one with a friend before he dashed to do his days farmwork before I stopped and realised it wasn’t even 8am. I went for a stroll to burn off the energy I had built up and went to a lovely local cafe for breakfast and watched the highlights of the game. 

Work tomorrow, another day closer to completing farmwork. But for now, a moment of celebration on a great achievement. I hope everyone is having a great day, I hope my American followers are having a great Independence Day. 

It’s great the English can finally celebrate with you!