Football and a pint

A language school is an interesting place to be, when the international football is on.

There was some talk in class yesterday about whether the cinema or the football would be the better choice for this evening’s entertainment, or indeed whether both could be fitted in.

From what I could gather, later in the afternoon, the football seemed to be winning out. It (and by it, of course, I mean the game between England and Germany, not any of those insignificant World Cup qualifiers) was being shown down the road in the Earl of Derby.

earl_of_derbyAs I write, I’m watching the game on TV with the volume down – England seem to be running around a great deal, to little effect so far, which is worrying, because although Germany are notoriously rubbish at football, they are also notoriously lucky. Sooner or later they’ll get the rub of the green.

In addition, I have a stream of the France-Ukraine game, also with the volume down, open in a window on my laptop, on the off chance that France fail to qualify (they need to beat Ukraine handsomely to go through), and another window with a minute-by-minute report on the Croatia-Iceland game, to see if Iceland will make their first ever World Cup finals.

I believe this is called multi-screening.

Multi-screening is all very well, but it doesn’t really compare with watching the game in a pub. A pub, with the right game, the right quantity of beer, can be more atmospheric than the ground in which the game is being played. And more cathartic when you lose. I remember that when England went out to Portugal in 2004 after extra time and penalties (2-2, and 6-5 on penalties, since you ask), I walked home (from the pub by Parker’s Piece) feeling not bereft, depressed, drunk, or bitter but pleasantly calm and empty (and perhaps a trifle drunk), having shouted and variously emoted myself to a rarely-visited Zen-plane of equanimity. Now that England were out I could stop worrying about their progress. The game went as follows:

Ah well. Glancing up, I notice that Germany are now a goal to the good. Mertesacker’s head somehow intervened between a harmless floating cross and the far touchline, and the ball mysteriously found its way into the England goal. France, I notice, are beating Ukraine by two, and Croatia are beating Iceland by two. Football can be an unjust sport. Perhaps it’s just as well I’m not in the pub.

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