Memories and fine margins

Jeff Knight

July 4, 2018

As the World Cup enters the latter stages, Jeff Knight says lady luck will play a big role now

If Eric Dier’s spot kick had been a few more inches closer to Ospina, then we may not have had quite the excitement as we did once that penalty shootout finished. At this stage, anything can happen. There are fine margins between success and failure, just like business I guess.

Talking of fine margins, I remember Italia ’90 with fond memories. But people often forget, England scraped though the group stage with a 1-0 win over Egypt (or would have faced lots), beat Belgium in the last minute of extra time (after Belgium hit the woodwork several times) and were seven minutes from being knocked out by Cameroon before Lineker scored a penalty to take us into extra time and score another penalty. Whilst in the semi-final, I am sure Waddle hid the post – so another fine margin between success and failure.

Psychologically we remember such games fondly, because of the result. Just like the Columbia game. Whereas in Italia ’90, England lost the semi-final but again psychologically it is remembered because of the performance (or perceived performance), which is why for many of a certain age, Italia ’90 still holds strong memories, unlike subsequent tournaments in the 2000s which has seen some torrid performances.

Let’s Believe

So let’s create a new memory for a new generation (and the old generation) of fans. If we can’t have victory, leave us with fond memories. To continue their journey, England will need luck, as will all teams left in the tournament. Even the favourites, Brazil. There will be plenty of ifs, buts and maybes between now and the Final and at this stage it is down to fine margins.

Now only eight countries have won the World Cup, four of which remain in this year’s quarter finals (Brazil, Uruguay, France and England).We have seen Germany, Spain and Argentina (other winners) eliminated. So if England don’t bring football home, it would be good to see a new name on the list of World Cup winners. We have seen some upsets at this tournament already, so let’s just believe more can happen.

Holding Out For A Hero

If England are to progress, we will need a new hero, like Gascoigne became in Italia ’90. If we don’t, we may get a new villain like Beckham in France ’98. Again, it is fine margins. For hero status Kane is the obvious choice, but it is usually the unexpected player that fulfils this. Could it be the emerging Harry McGuire or the passionate Trippier? I have a hunch. I think that Raheem Sterling could become the hero…but there is just as much chance of being the villain. Again, fine margins. Sterling has heaps of talent and doesn’t hide when thigs are tough. Yet it hasn’t quite clicked. Yet. Let’s hope that changes and gets that hero status and lady luck is with us.

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