Are England cursed when it comes to football at major tournaments, or is it simply a case of the reverse Midas touch from Prince William? Dom Kureen ponders.
Having witnessed their male counterparts struggle to impose themselves at every tournament of note since 1998, England’s women headed to Canada for the 2015 World Cup with limited expectations.
Many weren’t convinced that Mark Sampson’s team could even progress beyond the group stages, with a 2-0 opening game defeat at the hands of France adding credibility to that argument.
From there it became an adventure; 2-1 victories against Norway, Canada and Mexico, including a 25 yard strike from the brilliant Lucy Bronze, providing highlights during a glittering run which saw the Lionesses reach the Semi-Final stage, where they faced current holders Japan.
Despite playing their best match of the tournament, England were this time on the wrong end of a by now familiar 2-1 scoreline, courtesy of two debatable penalties and an unfortunate 92nd minute own goal from the outstanding Laura Bassett, who had marshalled England’s defence superbly throughout the contest.
Big Willy Style
The defeat came on the same day that Prince William decided to stick his pointy beak into matters that don’t concern him, overloading the squad’s head with blatant fibs about them having united the entire country (a ridiculous claim that can’t have been taken seriously by anyone with half a brain), who were all staying up to watch the matches (usually kicking off at around 12.30am.)
Just over a month earlier Mr charisma vacuum had cast his poison onto another team’s dreams of glory. “Wills” gloated about being a die-hard Aston Villa fan, providing a pep talk with his extensive knowledge of the game a day before their FA Cup final appearance in May. The result? Arsenal massacred them 4-0.
The Duke of Cambridge may seem perfectly noble in these gestures of good will, but to see an entitled drip scurrying to become the self anointed (monotone) voice of the nation’s throng of sports fans is little short of ridiculous, serving as an unwelcome distraction to events, particularly that Wembley final where the infatuated TV production team insisted on panning to the guy every couple of minutes.
Stick to guarding the palace…
All I ask of the future king this summer is that he steer clear of Andy Murray matches at Wimbledon, avoids any Ashes cricket this summer and gives the athletics World Championships a wide berth… Although he’s still more than welcome to pledge his full, unequivocal allegiance to Aston Villa FC, specifically moments before their encounters with Newcastle United.
I am able to form enough incoherent, scrambled sentences myself without some follically challenged nitwit with an alluringly punchable face acting as spokesperson for me, as he attempts to piggy back on anything approaching British sporting success. At least David Cameron waits until after they’ve failed before extending empty hearted commiserations.
If either of those men breathed in the general vicinity of a cacti it would wither and die.
Infect the media by all means with your droning, rehearsed rhetoric; anyone not entirely devoid of wit can flip a channel or throw a Doc Martin boot through a screen rather than stare for days at footage of a door to ascertain whether you named your kid George, William or Henry.
Just leave sport, art and anything else not related to your royal remit out of the PR circus.