The evidence was against us. England has not won a Football World Cup since 1966. That’s 48 years of hoping and praying for a miracle! It was recognised that we were in a difficult group, the so called ‘Group of Death’. Two of the teams in the group are former World Cup winners and are currently ranked higher than England. But as the team set off for Brazil, the hopes of the nation were riding high.
The first match showed a lot of promise. The heat of the Amazon jungle was reflected in pubs and sitting rooms around the UK. We lost but were not disheartened; at the end of the day, our young team was playing the better side. Going into the second match, the hopes of the England fans had risen. Uruguay had lost the first game to the ‘no hopers’ of the group, Costa Rica. It was generally believed that England could now qualify if we could just win this most crucial of games.
Perhaps it was the pressure, but England lost again. Our fate was out of our hands but hope was still alive. If Italy were to beat Costa Rica, we could still qualify. But unfortunately for us Costa Rica prevailed. Going into the World Cup, Costa Rica had no hope of winning but has qualified top of the group. The England team, so full of hope is leaving empty handed.
Did we delude ourselves? I think not. Hope is always a gift of faith. We prayed for our team, we had faith in our boys and so we hoped for victory. The day we cease to believe in miracles will be a sad day indeed.