Despite struggling through a chest infection almost specifically designed to make consumption-sufferers look like unrelenting pansies, I managed to drag my phlegm-coated carcass to a television screen to watch a football game. Boy, am I glad I did!
You see, the game I watched was England-Germany, a feud dating back from some World Wars. Sadly though, Germany are much more competent at football than they are at global domination, so this game was all set to be a rout.
England came into this game on the back of a disappointing draw with Algeria and a barely acceptable win over Slovenia (A country with a population of 2 million, near enough, which makes it about 30% of Greater London's population, so the playing group to pick from was about level), so expectations were high. After all, England didn't do well in the group in 1966 (Just had to google that to check it was right, after all, we literally never hear anything about it), and they still won it.
After the Algeria game, the England team were booed off the park. Rooney responded to the cameras, rather petulantly, "Nice to see your own fans booing you", which deserves, obviously the rebuttal, "If you weren't so crap, they wouldn't boo you off the pitch", but no-one offered it, because he's clearly making big steps with his grammar, and no-one wanted to knock him back.
Rooney was unimaginably appalling. If only he was as good at football as the adverts portray him as being. He managed to go an entire World Cup campaign without scoring, which is almost impressively bad, given that Jermaine Defoe only managed to play for 22 or so minutes against Slovenia before succumbing to the urge to score.
But the responsibility for consistently playing Rooney comes to Fabio "Fab" Capello, who was so heavily stuck in his ways that if I was in South Africa, I would find him, kick him in the testicles, and say "So sure of your decision now? Or do you want to change it up at half-time? Based on your record of never changing your plan, you have 15 minutes, then I'm going to kick you in the balls again". I'm a metaphor for the German team. He is symbolising his own stupidity and the England team. I feel the kicking in the testes metaphor is so abundantly obvious, if you don't get it, you're probably thick enough to play for England. Fabio will call you soon with your shirt number and tell you where you will start every match despite the fact you are losing consistently.
But that position won't be goalkeeper, the only position about which there should have been no uncertainty, and yet there was lots. David James was the standout hero of the entire squad, and yet, his position was given over to some young whippersnapper who promptly threw the ball into his own net with delight (Great pick, Fabio).
Anyways, to the game, and with my hopes artificially raised by a media who seem curiously obsessed with the notion that England are the best at football despite the 44 years of evidence to the contrary, England promptly conceded the sloppiest goal in a World Cup Finals.
However, fortunately, this record was quickly eclipsed by the next goal, which was, incredibly, even more embarassing. I haven't felt this ashamed in the England team since Barnes' rap.
Still, I persevered, because I am a man of iron resolve, and Mark Lawrenson's commentary is hilarious ("He got a decision right? He'll be writing home to his mum" - a classic) so I was still kicking around when England got an equaliser through the ever-present offensive danger of Wayne Rooney. No wait. Sorry, it was Matthew Upson, central defender. Just the man I would expect to have a better goal-scoring record than Rooney, what with playing less minutes than him, and also being a centre-back.
The nation was imbued with a sense of hope, and then, 54 seconds later, Frank Lampard scored! And the linesman didn't see it, which is incredible, given that I saw it, and I am several thousand miles away from South Africa (Luckily for a certain England manager's testicular region), and he was only 20 or so yards away.
Obviously, I could launch into a tirade about how goal-line technology is needed, but to be honest, Sepp Blatter is an imbecile, and I have the feeling he would allow shootings on the pitch on the basis that they'd make the sport unique and wouldn't interrupt the flow. "Player down for more than 25 seconds?" he thinks, "Must be a broken leg, put him down" (Actually, that's a pretty cracking rule I wouldn't mind being brought in, although Italy's team sheet would get a little shorter.)
Anyways, second half underway, England's centre-backs poured forward in search of the equaliser, as they were the offensive threat. However, this did leave the slight problem of "Being pretty open to an attack of a countering nature" which is a mistake against Germany. They ruthlessly finished the game by scoring two more goals in about 14 nanoseconds, and that was it. 4-1.
Anyways, I have a feeling the papers will go "Well, yes, England weren't very good, but omg, referee, goal scandal!" rather than "Fabio Capello is a nonce" or, possibly, "Wayne Rooney subjected to exile: Queen utilises powers for first time in decades, in other news, John Terry seen talking to Wayne Rooney's girlfriend".
So, long and short, England were crap, as always.
P.S. In terms of technical details, if I were the England manager, which judging by the calibre of their previous incumbents, cannot be far away, I'd have played a 3-5-2 with Crouch and Defoe up front, Terry, Johnson and Cole in defence (Since we had no real centre-back options after King and Ferdinand were out) and Barry acting as the holding midfielder, with Gerrard and Lampard in the middle (Call me crazy, Fabio, but I like to play players in their positions) and then some actual wingers on the wing (I know Fabio, I'm crazy like that) like Aaron Lennon and Shaun Wright-Phillips, or possibly Joe Cole.