England have done it! Another major competition qualified for, what a milestone. And with Harry Kane among the goals again surely it is a sure thing that we go to Russia and sweep aside all before us as we did in France in 1998. Ah yes, we didn’t, did we? Well we certainly showed Europe what for in Belgium and Holland in 2000. Er, yeah, don’t remind Phil Neville in particular about that one. It was completely different in Japan and South Korea in 2002 though when Sven’s lads annih– oh yeah, best not to mention that one to David Seaman. We will always have that summer in Portugal in 2004, when Wayne Rooney burst onto the scene – before popping his metatarsal and David Beckham let the country down again. Has there been any memorable tournaments? Germany 2006? Austria and Switz– no, never happened. South Africa 2010? I could list every tournament until the present day, the result is the same – England fly through the qualifiers before underwhelming at crunch time. England have made a bit of a dogs dinner of this qualifying campaign and probably should have qualified a lot earlier than they did do. That either means one of two things; either Gareth Southgate is going take his side home early after being humiliated in the group stages in Russia, or England are going to win the World Cup. My guess is that it’s unlikely to be the latter.
Wales, la. What happened fellas? It was in your hands. All you had to do was hold your nerve against a much inferior opposition. All you had to do was carry on winning at home. Instead you were beaten by the Republic of Ireland. Their best player is Jeff Hendrick! How has this happened? Even without Gareth Bale, you had Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and the new goalscoring hero, Tom Lawrence. I think there’s only one man to blame for all of this. One man must bear the brunt of the fans anger and rightly so. “Who is that man?” I hear you cry. Ashley Williams. “But he has been a figurehead for this team. He has carried a Championship defence on his shoulders for years. He captained Swansea into the Premier League and took Wales to the Euro 2016 semi-final as captain. He has been a leader, a talisman for this side. Why would we ever turn on him now?” The answer is simple: He plays for Everton. Do you need any stronger of a reason?
This weekend proper football is back. After all this international shite is over and done with, we can finally get back to the real football. Now that’s cool. We must be the only country in the world that groans at the thought of international football. Even minnows like the San Marinese and the Lichtensteini’s probably get more pumped at the prospect of getting twatted by Spain that we do at the thought of playing out a tight 2-1 win over Slovenia at Wembley. We are also probably the only country in the world who prefer our club sides to our national side. How the fuck are we supposed to cheer players we spend 90% of our lives hating on a weekly basis? I want no part in supporting players like Michael Keane and Marcus Rashford, as much as I respect their ability, when they play for the rivals of my team. No, let me tell you something Mean Gene, Liverpool are playing Manchester United on Saturday and I have a week of wallowing to look forward afterwards. I don’t need England stressing me out too.