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Tome On The Range

World Cup 2010: The Wing Commander On A Past Transatlantic Skirmish
David Stubbs , June 11th, 2010 09:53

Tomorrow night, England play their first game of the 2010 World Cup against former Colonial foes, the USA. Digging into his archive, the Wing Commander brings us his match report of the last time the two teams clashed

England V USA (Friendly) MAY 28, 2008: Exemplary England's Golden Generation Shower USA 2-0

John Terry sets aside the tears and disappointment of his unamusingly ill-directed penalty kick in the Champions League final against Man Utd days earlier, leading England to victory over a lacklustre American team, whose line-up features the famously Tourettes-afflicted goalkeeper Tim Howard.

In 1944, as a senior officer in the Covert British Operations Unit, I witnessed from my seaborne position to the rear the D-Day invasion of Omaha Beach by American troops, as they sought to loosen the Nazi grip on the European mainland. I saw as these helmeted "GIs" waded ashore, in wave after wave, many of them drowning, many of them mown down by German troops stationed in nests overlooking the beach, still many more of them succumbing to bullets dispatched by myself from my trusty revolver. For, although the Americans were technically on the British side, the more farsighted among us anticipated the deleterious influence these jazz-crazed, swaggering hat-cockers were likely to have upon civilisation if not discreetly culled whenever possible during the great conflicts. These, you must understand, were the sort of people who complained if chewing gum were not featured on the menus in restaurants, the sort of people who were as incapable of pronouncing the letter "t" as they were of comprehending the chortlesome quips of "Big Hearted" Arthur Askey, the sort of people whose golf-ball-sized brains were unable to make sense of the word "plough" and, like the superfatted infants they were, decreed that it be spelt "plow". No doubt, by their logic, the word "cough" should be spelt "cow", to avoid confusion. Coughs versus cows. That was what was at stake in this vital fixture tonight.

Vital indeed it was, the most important England game to have taken place since 1776, when our former colonial subjugates achieved a temporary state of independence. We have been biding our time since then. This was the clash of the world's Big Two, both significant players at the Yalta Summit in 1945, which saw the post-war world sensibly carved up by British civil servants using their pencils and set squares, to subsequent, harmonious effect. And, like Yalta, it reduces the forthcoming Euro 2008 convention of our European cousins to a mere trifle by comparison.

The national anthems indicated the contrast between the two teams, the two nations. The British rendition was delivered manfully, without frills, braying out the hope that our cherished Elizabeth be saved as surely as an innocuous Croatian long-distance shot by Scott Carson. The American anthem, meanwhile, performed by a negress, was not so much sung as very slowly vomited, as if regurgitating a typical American breakfast of waffles, molasses, honey, blueberry jam, whipped cream and treacle. The USA team clasped their hands to their heart and sang along lustily, with pitch microphones picking up goalkeeper Timothy Howard's contributions; "Land of the . . . COCKFERRETS!! . . .and the home of the . . . CUNTBUBBLEFARTERS!!" (Ah, Monsieur Tourette, you may have invented the syndrome, but it was we Anglo-Saxons who took the ball and ran with it.)

It is, of course, inherently absurd that the USA should be playing their masters England at the game of association football, and it was the job of the referee and his assistants to go around to each American player and confiscate from them any helmets, padding or bats they might have imported onto the field of play in their burger-brained imbecility, as well as to explain to them that the game would not cease every two minutes to provide for ten-minute breaks for advertisements for dog shampoo. The game was conducted at a brisk pelt, with England providing a masterclass in how almost to string two passes together without the ball bouncing loose for a fucking throw-in to the opposition. The Americans provided no worries – it was anticipated that, in keeping with their war record, they would not themselves actually participate in the game until midway through the second half. "Manager" Fabio Capello, hired as an amusing joke to show that even a witless Euro-Simean could be nominally put in charge of the England team, prudently did not object when his bowler-hatted English masters decreed that young prospects David Beckham and Jermain Defoe be given the chance to show what they are made of, and what they might contribute to the team when they hit their stride and their early forties.

There were other notable performances. Wes Brown, who owns two European Cup medals, showed how and why he is twice the player Bobby Charlton is, who owns but one. Frank Lampard paid a touching tribute to his late mother by playing as if he himself no longer existed, while Wayne Rooney showed the doubters that he is, indeed, England's angriest, hairiest, most frustrated potato. But it was John Terry, reborn again, purged in adversity yet emerging a stronger, handsomer man for his experiences, who truly inspired, and even changed the mindset of some of us. It has always been my belief that only homosexual men cry. However, having seen John Terry's display I am now of the firm conviction that "trick photography" is more advanced than many of us anticipated – and that a conspiracy is afoot among television companies to besmirch the masculinity of our great captain.

As New Yorkers mass nervously in Times Square, looking anxiously at the ticker-tape reading "0-2 . . . ALL IS LOST, ALL IS LOST", it is clear that America's assumption of independence from the Empire has been conclusively discredited. It is high time that the British ambassador present his compliments to the incumbent Mr George Bush and insist that governorship of the United States be handed over to a British Royal – Prince Edward, perhaps, who could juggle the role of American overseer with the running of his small theatre company. Either that or face the wrath of his military brother, Prince Andrew. Once more unto the beach, dear friends...

For more of the Wing Commander's match reports, go here to purchase his new tome, Send Them Victorious: England's Path to Glory 2006-2010 out now on Zero Books