Logic told me that Croatia would be physically spent after two consecutive extra time matches with one, against hosts, Russia going to penalties. Then, England went and did what they did best and royally fucked it up. Oh well, at least they didn’t go out on penalties. Funny thing, the night before when I went to Tranmere to watch Liverpool play Rovers in a friendly, I had assumed Loris Karius had put his inept goal keeping blunders behind him as well. Wrong! Again! All through this, I’d been getting on with battling a nasty head cold amid all the travel, beer and catching up with great people.
I woke up feeling even worse on Tuesday but soldiered on the train to Liverpool. With a bit of time on my hands, I wandered around my favourite city and stumbled over the Mo Sallah tribute which promptly put a smile on my face. In the hour or so in town, I’d also managed to replace my UK SIM card, grab a new pair of slacks and a Beatles t-shirt whilst avoiding the temptations of all the great food on offer. Around 4 pm, I bundled back into another train to make my way to Hooton where I would be meeting up with Pearl, Chris and Nancy. We settled in for a cup of tea and conversation before the lure of a football match became too much.
We grabbed a quick pint in a nifty pub by the ground then headed in to watch the match. Liverpool sailed, comfortably I must say into a 3-0 lead and we were left thinking a repeat of Saturday’s 7-0 rout of Chester was on the cards. How wrong could we have been? By full time, the red men scrapped home with a 3-2 victory no thanks to our seemingly clumsy goal keeper. My thoughts over the past couple of days have led me to think it may be time for Loris to head out on loan for a season in Italy or Spain to get his mojo back. I can’t see him starting against West Ham on the opening day, that is for sure and certain.
Once home, and already knowing the result, we watched the second half of France v Belgium which meant France would be facing England in the World Cup final! It’s coming home!
Fast forward 24 hours and Pearl, Denis and myself were snuggly settled into the Cavalry Arms for a few pints and England’s comfortable passage into the final against France on Sunday. It’s coming home! And, at 1-0 just past the hour mark it seemed very much to be the case before Croatia found two goals with the second coming in the second half of extra time which meant it was no longer coming home and we’d have to wait another 4 long years before we could pull the song out again. I can’t help but think England missed a golden opportunity here. Still, the squad is young, hungry and will hopefully learn from the experience and go onto to bigger and much better things starting with the 2020 Euro’s. Here’s hoping anyway.
With a healthy number of beers in my guts, Pearl and I stumbled home whilst discussing our thoughts on what Liverpool need to go all the way to glory in the coming season. We had some pizza and watched an episode of Pointless (ironically, the end result of England’s World Cup campaign) before heading to bed.
Oh, I should mention that Pearl and Denis have two cats in the family now. Both black as the night is long and very cheeky. They seem to love their play time in the garden and eating leaves. Plenty of smiles are to be had around these two little treasures.
I woke up this morning feeling glum knowing this Sunday won’t be as wonderful as it potentially could have been. My head ran through all the what ifs before breakfast and a great quantity of tea before I boarded another train to Great Yarmouth where I would be catching up with Sarah, the kids and her family. It’s still not coming home but at least I am going to continue having some cracking adventures before heading back to Australia in 10 days. What have I learned from the past couple of days? Well, Loris Karius won’t be the keeper to steer Liverpool to that much needed Premier League title and nothing truly unites the English like a magnificent yet hollow run in the World Cup!