With the help of BSkyB’s new gimmick, HDTV, it has been discovered that Geoff Hurst’s controversial second goal of the ’66 cup final never crossed the line…
In view of this, it is seen that England’s solitary, distant and oft criticised major honour was not won on merit, but on fortune.
Fortune! England? The two words should never been muttered in the same sentence. For since our ‘lucky’ win in 1966, the Gods of fortune have been giving us a real rough deal.
Our first taste of misfortune came no sooner than when we won the competition, as our trophy was stolen from our very own display cabinet!
Not our players, not our fans, not even the ‘suits’ from the FA could idolise Jules Rimet, there was merely a vacant space that has remained so since.
Fair enough, the trophy was recovered, but it never found its way back into its prestigious display case, it remained hidden, much like our good fortune.
Fast forward six World Cups, six European Championships and no glory and we get our next hammering from the ‘tough shit’ stick; the infamous England – Germany 1990 shootout in which ‘fortune’ decides England should not only lose then, but to repeat the feat six years later.
Then comes France 98, one of the best chances we’ve had for years. We get through the Group Stages and things begin to look promising against one of the favourites, Argentina…
That is until, referee, Kim ‘I want to be famous too’ Nielsen decides to make a name for himself by sending off Beckham for being slightly aggrieved at a malicious tackle from an overexcited Argentine. If that wasn’t enough, a late and fair match-winning goal by Sol Campbell was declared a foul, causing the nation more shoot-out misery.
If he thought himself to be unlucky against Argentina, history was again to repeat itself when playing Portugal in the Quarter Finals of 2004.
Again, poor Sol met a header, arms rigidly by his sides, but again it was disallowed for being a foul! Two ‘would-be-vital’ goals for England that were not given. Is it any wonder the man went AWOL in a depression this year?
That kind of luck would be enough for most teams or people to bear, but not England. We got the ‘Golden goose’ of misfortune, once more, in a battle with Argentina.
It is know as the ‘Hand of God’, or more accurately, the ‘Hand of a four foot, flab-bellied genius.’ I give you Maradonna. It is the semi-final of the 1986 World Cup and the tiny Argentine flies through the air, the ball above him, he raises his hand to push it into the startled England net.
I saw it, you saw it, but the referee law-ed it. Maradonna went on to lift the trophy, and England went home to lift their spirits.
It has now been near 40 years since our stroke of luck. A torrid blizzard of agonising shoot-outs, bad refereeing, disallowed goals and a stolen trophy, but still, we are told, we were lucky!
In a rare example of English admission on the subject; no, that ball did not cross that line, but since then, against England, every bit of fortune has…
Here’s to 2006.