Millions of people across the country will be deciding even now whether or not to call in sick tomorrow so they can watch England’s match against Slovenia tomorrow afternoon.
The three o’clock kick off is England’s first of the tournament (and could also be the last if they’re not careful) and may well cause mass absenteeism in shops, factories and offices everywhere tomorrow afternoon as supporters, fans and particularly the people who make England flags will huddle around TV’s praying that the football finally matches the hype and England manage to dispatch one of the weakest teams in the competition. Not quite as weak as the Algeria side they could only draw 0-0 with admittedly but then again Slovenia are actually top of the group at the moment while England can reflect on having the same number of points as those other footballing giants New Zealand.
A couple of hours later Germany will face Ghana in a match that they too must win and there is then the added delight that England could face their old rivals in the first knockout stage.
Should that happen then the media would go into even more frenzied overdrive. No doubt the red tops will be giving away free Winston Churchill masks for all their readers to wear if the match takes place, cars will be sporting not just those idiotic flags but effigies of Hitler being dragged from every tow bar (also free with every copy of The Sun probably).
German sausage will be banned from supermarkets everywhere. The World at War will be hastily re-shown so that England’s greatest victory over Germany can be savoured again and no doubt every single person who was at Wembley in 1966 will be tracked down and asked to relate how great the English were and how much they hate Germany. Skinner and Baddiel will add another twenty verses to that loathsome song of theirs and James Corden will go on a diet to celebrate (just like ITV to give a World Cup show to a man who looks as if he’s never kicked a football in his life)
In the meantime, England continue to prepare for the match by arguing amongst themselves, blaming the manager for their failings and moaning about everything from boredom to altitude. For every England fan the goal would be to qualify for the knockout stages but I get the feeling that if England fail (which they won’t) then as long as Germany also go out then the pain will be much easier to take for the flag waving, shirt wearing masses. I’m very surprised that David Cameron (that well known football fanatic) hasn’t called for a national holiday so that everyone can enjoy the sight of England hammering the mighty Slovenia. Still, no doubt that will happen should they meet Germany in the next round.
In the meantime, the internet will be overloaded tonight as people search the medical websites for complaints that have a very short incubation period and only last for a day so that they can inform their bosses tomorrow of their suffering while huddled before their TV’s ready to cheer their heroes on.
My prediction? An England victory followed by an outbreak of mass hysteria, Capello knighted, England made favourites to win the trophy and Wayne Rooney made poet laureate. And after that? You’d just better hope it isn’t Germany.