Tonight, England commenced their Euro 2012 campaign, and with it, England Euro 2012 Bingo. I will be marking off each England Big Tournament Cliché as and when I see them throughout their three group games and/or one (but certainly no more than one) knockout stage game. I will be using my special bingo pen, which bears the image of the most quintessentially English thing ever conceived, which is of course Stephen Fry wearing a bowler hat…
Naive optimism – This took literally seconds to emerge from the woebegone piehole that doubles for Andy Townsend’s pointless mouth. Professional sports commentator and Clive Tyldesley fan Clive Tyldesley asked, as the game kicked off, whether England could win the game. “Of course they can…” Townsend said, anxiously consulting the Post-It note reminding himself not to refer to England as ‘we’. Of course, in the end, England may well have done so, but with Tyldesley later giving it the full “Maybe this could be our year!” schtick when they took the lead, we can safely mark this one off.
England fans in chain mail – But of course. File also under excessive jingoism.
Negative cultural stereotyping – Returning from the half-time break, Adrian Chiles gave us one of his match round-up summary things he’s paid literally millions of pounds to pull out of his everyman arse. He talks in his professionally chummy tone about how it started so well “and then the French had to go and spoil it for us.” BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW WHAT THOSE FRENCH BASTARDS ARE LIKE, EH LADS!?! THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE MARMITE, THE SCUM!
Blame the officials – Tyldesley worked himself into a state of tantric apoplexy, with each innocuous foul either given against/denied for England gradually establishing a veneer of resentment towards the referee who was clearly biased in favour of France. “Is he going to give that?”, he squealed conspiratorially, after a minor shove on Danny Welbeck. “Well I think we know the answer is non.” Oh, Clive, you provocateur, you.
Close, but no cigar – It could yet be argued that Joleon Lescott’s opening goal may well have instilled a sense of false hope. The goal itself was the most exciting thing to have happened to Lescott’s forehead since it played host to SuperBowl XIX in 1985, irreversibly pulverising tissue and eternally changing the contours of his bonce. There was also time for the shock omission of the creatively bereft brass band. For the first time in 18 years, England’s struggles have not been set to the strained sounds of a bugled rendition of The Great Escape, as officials in Ukraine banned them from the ground. They are due to meet UEFA officials later this week, to discuss plans for the forthcoming Sweden game. No doubt they will argue their case with a solemn trumpet voluntary, a pounding arrhthymic bass drum beat, and a horde of fat men bellowing ‘ENGLAND!’ until their demands are met. In the meantime, recreate the ambience at home by shitting in a tuba.