The players on the pitch are our chosen champions

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That's the way to do it

RICK JACKSON: Girl power rules – at the age of two

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For those people who aren’t interested in football, or at least international football, the next month is probably going to be incredibly dull.

At work I’ve already come to terms with one of my colleagues sinking in her seat whenever the dreaded F-word comes into conversation.

Which, to be fair, is pretty often in our office.

Of course she understands why people love football.

It’s just something that passes her by. Rugby, my second favourite sport, is more her cup of tea.

I can see her point. Rugby players don’t dive, they’re built like giants, they don’t dare swear at the ref and to a man they have truly magnificent thighs.

But you can’t set up a rugby pitch in your street.

If you tried a drop-kick over someone’s garage, you’d get strips torn off you and sent to bed with no tea.

Jumpers for touchlines would just be ridiculous and line-outs would be a disaster.

And that’s why football is so popular around the world.

You can grow up playing it, watching other kids playing it, kicking a ball or an empty can, slowly denting someone’s garage door, hoofing the ball over fences, ditches, hedges and roads.

And always, always, you can get your ball back.

It’s an instant community, something to talk about in the road, the classroom, the terraces, the pub and the office.

The players on the pitch are your chosen champions in the old sense of the word, destined for 90 minutes or more to be your representatives in the battle for supremacy.

You invest your hopes, your fear of loss, every ounce of competitive spirit and probably a fair amount of hard cash in your football team.

It’s no wonder people get so Fever Pitch over it, no matter where in the world they are from.

So if you’re someone who can take or leave the sport, just bear in mind the years of preparation that have been invested by the rest of us to be able to discuss that opening game result in such detail – and for so long.