Being an England fan brings many emotions, and sometimes the emotion is downright confusion, injustice or laughter as unexplainable moments of World Cup mayhem unfold before our eyes. As I started to compile a list of all of these times I realised a few things. 1) We have been very unlucky on many occasions with refereeing regrets staining our tournaments. 2) We really are a unique nation. And 3) We can’t take penalties.
As another chance for the Three Lions to roar comes around in exactly two weeks’ time, sit down and enjoy your ‘HalfTimeCuppa’ as I explain some of England’s World Cup memories, with a new story being published every couple of days (if not daily) for your entertainment, and probably pain.
#1 Lampard’s goal that never was…
It was 2010 and in the blazing heat and humidity of the South African climate England were having an underwhelming tournament but were into the last 16.
After drawing twice against USA (shout-out Rob Green) and Algeria respectively a Jermaine Defoe goal claimed a victory against Slovenia to take us through to the next round finishing second in Group C.
With the blistering form we were clearly in it was safe to say that when it was realised that we would be playing our old rivals Germany we knew it would be tough and so it proved to be… but how it could’ve been different.
When the 27th of June came around I, like many of you, remember where I was and who I was with to watch this crucial contest, and part of that is probably due the anguish of what happened next.
Matthew Upson’s hanging header brought the game back into contention after Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski’s goals had put Germany clear in the lead early on in the game, and it was perfectly poised for a potential England comeback. Step forward Frank Lampard.
As the Chelsea legend let fly from 20 yards out in the 39th minute just two minutes after Upson’s goal, my living room echoed millions around the country as we all erupted with joy. It was a wondergoal, hitting the crossbar and going well over the German goal-line; or so at least we could see.
But hang on a second, why isn’t everyone else celebrating?! Why is the game continuing?! Why is it still 2-1?! In just a matter of seconds the feeling of joy had flipped to pure anger and disappointment as we realised the referee Jorge Larrionda somehow hadn’t given it.
Lampard’s reaction is something every England fan can relate to and remember to this day as nobody could believe what had just happened. The replays hammered home just how far over the line the ball had gone and even my dearest Mum (not quite a hardcore football fan) suddenly turned into Danny Dyer with rage clear to see.
Just as millions around the country were processing this and unleashing their inner Danny Dyer too, the halftime whistle was blown. 2-1.
In the end the German’s blew us away and a Muller brace in three minutes made it a comfortable 4-1 and took Joachim Löw’s side through to the quarters eventually finishing the tournament in a respectable third place, but for Fabio Capello and his Three Lions the journey was over.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter did give an apology to the English FA after the atrocity causing him to re-open the debate on goal-line technology in his next board meeting, but this was of little comfort to the England faithful who were baffled at the injustice in front of their eyes; oh don’t we love football.
I suppose this is one slim positive from the affair and since this event goal-line technology has been engrained into the English game and the global scene, with a step-up of VAR being implemented at this year’s World Cup to try and ensure that a refereeing howler doesn’t affect anyone this time.
The question on every England fan’s lips was how things could’ve been so different if we were in fact level at halftime, having comeback from two goals down and with the Lion’s tails up. But we will unfortunately never know.