England didn't qualify for Euro 2008.
The more I think about it (and I have had a few days to mull this one over) the more I'm certain this is akin to rabbits eating their young so the fox won't get them. If we don't qualify, then we won't lose on penalties will we?
Being an ex-pat means experiencing this kind of thing in a vacuum. It is strange to have something so personally momentous happen and for it to cause so little stir in your immediate surroundings. As if a tree fell in a crowded forest and no-one heard a thing.
Being an England fan this kind of travesty is nothing new, and fortunately, being a football fan you can usually find something else to cheer about (even if it's only Chelsea losing at home). My silver lining to England's giant nuclear mushroom cloud is Harrogate Railway still being in the FA Cup.
For those of you not in the know, the FA Cup is a competition any football team in England can aspire to win. Any team no matter how lowly can work their way up through grueling early rounds played on dodgy pitches with only two old blokes and a dog for support, to having the BBC film your next match. Can you imagine that happening in baseball or basketball? I don't think so.
These are not professional players, they all have full time jobs elsewhere, my brother used to play the occasional game for this side, and now the BBC are to pay £75,000 for the rights to show the match because they've hung on long enough to reach the 2nd round where the League Teams are introduced. Hopefully some of that money will trickle down to the players this time.
The match is to be played on Sunday December 2nd - I'm sure you'll want to check ESPN or your local listings(!) If they win this match they get through to the 3rd round where the really big boys enter the fray, the Premiership sides. I can see it now, Manchester United v Harrogate Railway.
Stranger things have happened - as it says in the flyleaf of my Christening Bible, '1973 The Year Sunderland Won The Cup.'
Come on you Railway!