THE England football result I can handle.
We all knew it would happen in the end.
In tournaments past an England exit left you feeling like you’ve had your insides kicked out. Now there’s just the grim resignation of watching your national side shuffle off once again. It’s almost developed into a dull, masochistic thrill.
No matter how talented the players and how far down the Fifa rankings the opposition, the evidence all points one way.
Spain on penalties in 1996. Denmark 3-0 in 2002. A Beckham free kick against Ecuador in 2006. Welcome to England’s knockout success in the last 20 years.
One national newspaper’s Euros preview called it exactly before the tournament. In a wry assessment of each team’s best and worst case scenarios, the latter for England read: ‘Whatever it is, this is what will actually happen.’
And it did. To a country where the tiny number of men aged 18 – 35 is crippled yet further by seasonal depression.
So England’s defeat last night by Iceland is an easy pill to swallow, like the one crushed up and slipped into your drink by Bill Cosby.
The football is painless.
If you really want a bunch of jingoistic, chest-beating shirkers in England shirts representing you in Europe – but ultimately making you feel like you’ve woken up with a headache and a grinning Dr Huxtable – you don’t have to look as far as France.