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It's a funny old game

Summer always brings sport. Like it or loathe it, you can't move for the stuff. Football, tennis, cricket, athletics, the summer months are punctuated with the panting sweaty regularity of tournaments, competitions and the usual test of wills between historic sporting adversaries. At the point of writing this reflection, tonight will see the English football team play the biggest game since 1966.

As soon as the teams were delicately drawn from the lush velvet bag of surviving competitors, the usual media swirl and hyperbole that surrounds this notable sporting fixture began in earnest. The expected editorial headline tropes were soon pulled clumsily from the sport editors top drawer to ingratiate the many back pages of our national tabloid press, yet again.

Whoever the manager, regardless of experience, previous accolades and sporting triumph, this is the game that will either create a team of honourable sporting heroes or jettison those previous footballing hopefuls, in touching distance of national glory, to the unenviable deafening rancour of sporting failure.

However, the worst of the usual media-driven hostility will be saved for one person and one person only, the manager. The person who picked the team, devised the tactics, set the training and created the game plan will, without doubt, be the object of national disappointment. Alternatively, should victory be grasped in the ninety available minutes of play, and the footballing hoodoo of penalty shoot-outs be drenched in cement and placed, never to be seen again in the mausoleum of footballing nightmares of yesteryear, the team, and it's leader, will be forever remembered as the footballing giants we all unwaveringly believed they would be. Football, it's a funny old game.