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The Italian Job - the long awaited sequel
By David Andrew Wardle Posted in Blog on 11th July 2021 0 Comments 4 min read
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I keep hearing that something historic is supposed to be happening today. Drop me a line if you know what that is please. I could include it in my blog if only I knew.

Anyway. So we fought off the Viking hoards and now have to face the Roman legions. This time it is not the slaves that are to be thrown to the lions but the emperor and his gladiators instead. The lions always win. Don’t they?

In the paper yesterday there was a lot written about the game and there were some comments from various fans. One fan said something which I thought was amusing. “We just have to hope that our dives are better than theirs on the night.” There is not as much of that going on as we are used to. Admittedly, our penalty against the Danes was a bit soft and it seemed to me that Sterling was on his way down already before the second defender thighed him.

I don’t believe in this tripe that ex-professionals spout in their punditry. It is fine to go down if you get touched in the box. There were a couple of incidents from years ago that I still recall. The first one was me in the box on the right of the goal. I pushed the ball around the defender and had to jump over his leg as he tried to bring me down. I then cut back the ball but no one could put it in the net. My teammates all said I should have gone down (which was completely a foreign idea to me) and they were quite angry that I had not done so. The second incident was the compete reverse. I was being challenged by a defender and I slipped but got up straight away. He cursed me roundly for trying to win a penalty but I had not even tried to claim for one. I have never feigned injury in my life. In fact, the only time I had to be helped off the pitch was my last eleven a side game in September 2012, when the defender took both my legs away and I landed hard on my back. I was in agony and kept getting spasms of pain every few seconds. How I managed to drive home that day I will never know.

Channel 4 showed the whole of the 1966 World Cup Final yesterday (in colour), which is the only time I have seen it in full. At the start of the second half Bobby Charlton goes down in the box but he doesn’t writhe around, clutching his leg and hoping for a penalty. He gets straight up, gives the defender a a no hard feelings pat and goes back to take up his position again. Weirdly though – and I didn’t know it went on then – the commentator (unfortunately it was not the famous “They think it’s all over” commentary) mentioned at least a couple of times about the Germans pretending to be hurt. On one of these occasions it was Franz Beckenbauer himself, I think.

We want to win! We need to win! But let’s hope it is on merit.

ITV have had to change their schedule and in a totally ironic way. The coverage is now starting half an hour earlier so the Harry Potter film they were showing in the afternoon has been scrapped because it is too long. (It is probably about only the tenth time they have all been shown anyway.) And the replacement is? The Italian Job. You can just hear it now, based on one particular propensity in this tournament. Michael Caine’s cockney accent saying:

“You’re only supposed to bloody score in their net!”

And what about the big dilemma at the end with the coach hanging over the edge of a cliff and the golden prize sliding precariously away. What could possibly match that? What about; 4-4 after extra time. 32-32 on penalties (after everyone on both benches has taken one including the medics, plus the assistant referees and the stewards.)

“Hold on lads, I’ve got a great idea!”

Cue the music. No not Three Lions this time. (Fifty five years of hurt does not really fit anyway.) You know the one I mean.

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1996 Final Diving England Italy Michael Caine Romans Self Preservation Society The Italian Job Three Lions

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