Ireland missing a World Cup of opportunity




Spin FM in Dublin ran a radio poll on Tuesday dealing with effects of jealousy in a long term relationship.

The girl whose call prompted the feature was afraid to even look at the postman delivering the mail, such was the possessiveness of her partner.

I didn’t stay around long enough to hear the final advice offered to the girl. Sport was calling as usual and I didn’t have time for jealousy. Or so I thought.

Within an hour of turning the radio off, however, I was as sick as a parrot and raging with jealousy, and not for the first time in the past week.

My ire was stoked by Sky Sports on the large television screen that sits in the corner of our “good” room as we used to call it when I was growing up a long, long time ago.

The TV is big and bold but, a bit like myself, it’s out of date in this trendy and modern world of LCD and high definition and 3D but, importantly, it does the job.

When the government decide to bail out those bankers in Anglo Irish, as they did again on Monday, I can watch the news break in glorious color. And I can get annoyed.

Annoyance, though, wasn’t the sentiment on Tuesday afternoon. Appropriately enough, considering my Spin FM experience minutes earlier, it was more a jealousy thing that got me going at a time when you were just digesting your breakfast in downtown Manhattan.

This side of the pond the big sports story of the day concerned the announcement of the England squad for the World Cup finals and the identities of those players who will have three lions on their shirts this summer.

Like us, the English now have an Italian in charge of their national team, and like us they have a world-wise man at the helm in the shape of Fabio Capello.

Again, like our own Giovanni Trapattoni, Capello doesn’t suffer fools gladly and is not afraid of the big decision which is a good thing judging by events on Tuesday afternoon.

As he finalized his 23-man squad ahead of their intriguing opening fixture against the U.S. on Saturday, June 12, Capello had to ring the likes of Theo Walcott, Scott Parker and Darren Bent and tell them they won’t be on the plane to Johannesburg.

Parker and Bent probably expected as much, having been fairly much on the periphery of all things England over the qualifying campaign.

Walcott’s demotion, however, four years after Sven Goran Eriksson surprised the world by bringing him to Germany, was a major surprise.

He was expected to be one of England’s super subs in South Africa, not guaranteed a starting place but good enough to come off the bench and make an impact against America, Slovenia and Algeria.

Naturally we heard nothing but Walcott theories all Tuesday afternoon as the sun came out again and the television prattled away in the corner.

And that’s when the jealousy really hit home. Having spent most of last week wondering how Paraguay and Algeria are going to the World Cup and we’re not, it really hit home how much we will miss out on this summer.

They keep telling us to forget about Thierry Henry’s handball and move on -- Trap and Robbie Keane said as much again last week -- but that is proving difficult.

The only thing we can do now is pray that the promise shown against Paraguay and Algeria at the RDS can turn into real hope come the start of the European Championships in Armenia next September.

In the meantime we will just have to bite our lips and shout for America when they face the English and their Three Lions in Rustenburg some 10 days from now. That’s the easy bit.

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