'What are you doing?!' I turned with surprise to the opposite sofa. The cry of dismay was to do with England's increasingly desperate defending against the Italians - this did NOT surprise me as we had been on the ropes for most of the match - more so the fact that Mrs F was getting into the whole football thing and getting quite animated about it. I sort of got an inkling that she might be interested during the qualifying stages when I dragged myself away from the Poland/ Russia game to put Master Procrastinator (I cant find my Nerf gun and pellets, I think they're downstairs but I cant remember and ............and........) to bed for the fifteenth time! 'The tele will be on some 'Allotments R Us' channel before you can say pass and move' I thought to myself and I resigned to the fact that I would be returning to hear yet more information (and believe you me you cant get enough of it) about perfect growing conditions for Maris Piper potatoes.
Now at this point, some of you are going to ask the obvious question.........................why do we sit on opposite sofa's?! Maybe you've already concluded that I am indeed Jim Royle and I sit so often in the same chair and in the same place that it will fit only my behind and no one else's! You would be wrong. The reality is that sometimes its just nice to lie flat out on a sofa and call it your own. Mrs F and I often (though not always) feel like this, therefore we use both sofa's on a first come first served basis. The children like sitting on the same sofa, in the same place, at the same time! - this is inevitably an area of tension and is the reason why the boy cannot find his Nerf gun for I have hidden it to bring out on such occasions to move the tension to other parts of the house!
Anyway, back to England.......I really ought to have put Mrs F out of her misery before the penalty shoot out. There are three things certain in life 1) Taxes 2) Death and 3) England losing on penalties! However, she was quite excited by now and once the Italians had missed a penalty then 'surely this time ...' I looked hard at the body language of Ashley Young as he came up to take the penalty and, I knew he would miss - this is an art form built up over years of experiencing defeat and failure in these circumstances starting with Gareth Southgate in 1996 - although in 1998 I was convinced that David Batty would do it against Argentina and I sat there with my good friend Mr P for an hour in silence at the end of the match - gutted!! - So with that bankable knowledge, I turned to Mrs F and said ' he's going to miss' .........he missed - I wished I'd been wrong - or did I?
I think (like the majority of England Supporters) that if we'd got through that game, we would have been crushed in yet another humiliating contest with the Germans! So I used phrases like 'delaying the inevitable' and 'it would have been painful to watch' in order to cheer Mrs F up! Alan Shearer - or Al as he's known by Al Hansen (too much taking Paul Simon at his word if you ask me) summed it up very succinctly but nevertheless accurately 'we wasn't good enough' which raised a few eyebrows among some Geordies who felt he should have said 'we wasn't good enough like!' The fact remained that for all the effort and determination of this England team - and there was a good deal more of that here than at the World Cup in 2010 without any doubt - they still came up wanting against far superior opponents in the Italians who themselves got smashed 4-0 by the utterly sublime Spaniards.
'Just not good enough' - a phrase that will have been levelled at all of us at some point during our lives. Sometimes with justification and sometimes not.... which begs the question......'if I'm just not good enough in the way I live my life then what on earth is God's take when He views me through His perfect lens?'...............much the same way actually..........thats the bad news........BUT..........in His Son Jesus (best and perfect in every way) who died for the failures and defeats of 'just not good enoughs' the world over......God sees me differently.......thats the good news if we're prepared to take a step of faith! #yesHEis..............Come on Andy Murray........just for once, prove me wrong!