VERITY LUSH: Reserved, and deserved, patriotism

Fans celebrating at The Portsbridge after England's win against Colombia in the World Cup
Fans celebrating at The Portsbridge after England's win against Colombia in the World Cup
Steve's washing machine packing up led him on a fascinating voyage of discovery

STEVE CANAVAN: The fat of slaughtered animals and a scrub board

Many a woman (and perhaps a man or two) shall no doubt be heard saying, ‘And I don’t even like football that much’, following the super exciting penalty shoot- out on Tuesday night.

And guess what – I don’t even like football that much!

There’s nothing like a bit of patriotic camaraderie to unite a nation, and apparently the final five minutes of that game transpired to be the most-watched TV moment since the closing ceremony of the Olympics, six years ago.

My husband and I had put the kids to bed but went back up to retrieve them so that our girls could watch it.

My mother was texting her stress and anxiety to me on a minutely basis.

I was watching parts of the action through the gaps between my fingers with my hands clamped over my eyes.

Was there ever such a fraught nation as ours on Tuesday night? Apart from poor Colombia I supposed.

At least our fraughtness was followed-up swiftly by incomprehensible joy that England

had finally won a match in the World Cup on penalties.

I suspect Colombia were less cheerful. Not necessarily a bad thing when, in my non-football-knowledge and humble opinion, some of them behaved more like wrestlers.

Other countries (by which I basically mean the USA), always seem blatantly patriotic in comparison to our quieter and more reserved selves.

We do not adorn our homes in flags for the four years in between World Cups.

We do not quote parts of parliamentary legislation relating to our rights. We do not quote

amendments. But we do have a strong, underlying sense of what it means to unite. 

Think of the Blitz, the war, the 2012 Olympics, the London Marathon.

We may not shout it loud and proud (or perhaps crass and proud), but we shout it reserved and deserved.

We are quieter, we are quintessentially British, but when victory is on the cards and some pride is ours for the taking, we’re there at the fore.

I shall have my fingers crossed (be they still in front of my eyes) on Saturday afternoon.

WHY FILM IT WHEN YOU CAN WATCH IT? 

While on my unexpected football theme, I have also noticed another strange phenomenon, aside from grown men indulging in grass-rolling, and that is watching a live event via one’s phone.

What is it with so many of the spectators in Russia, having a paid an exorbitant amount to benefit from seeing the real thing, are then watching the ‘real thing’ via their phone screen?

Hundreds of fans stood filming the penalties. Why? They’ll be on YouTube for centuries to come. Watch it people, it’s live in front of you, live in the moment!

If you’re a tad short-sighted, there are huge screens displaying the action.

It reminds me of when Kate Bush played her first gigs in years a while back and requested that the audience simply watch and engage.

THE HILARITY OF DIVING DIVAS

Something else that I have noticed as a football-watching novice (the kind who only pops out every four years when there’s national pride at stake), is the amount of rolling around on the pitch that some players engage in.

Much as I am sure a few are actually injured, others appear to collapse at the touch of a feather.

Down they go, tumble splat, purposefully rolling over as many times as is possible, akin to small children rolling on their sides down hills (while their mothers shout to watch out for rogue chipolatas of dog poo in the grass).

Minus the mothers yelling about the poo from the sidelines, the behaviour seems just as childish, yet provides some unintentional hilarity to a novice and marginally puzzled viewer such as myself.