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2:53pm Friday 11th June 2010 in Across the Bourne
As most of the world (except for most of America) knows, today marks the start of the World Cup in South Africa, with England playing its first game, against the USA, tomorrow (Saturday, the 12th).
The excitement, anticipation, and anxiety have all been building here for weeks, and will reach a climax tomorrow. St. George English flags fly from homes, offices, shops, pubs and car windows. Shopping today in our large Tesco supermarket, official sponsor of the Cup, was like entering a huge pep rally, with banners, flags and signs regarding the World Cup everywhere. Certain items throughout the store, such as beer, crisps, sausages, pizza, and soda, were labelled with World Cup stickers.
We have booked to watch the game at the Swan Inn in Stoford, which is one of the many pubs having food and drink specials during World Cup matches. When my partner called to book a table, the first question the landlord asked, in a friendly tone, was "What team will Wayne be supporting?".
This is not a dificult question for me. I will be supporting England. I have become a real fan of English football, a season supporter of the Southampton Saints, and we attended one of England's qualifying matches. Bill Bryson, the famous American ex-pat writer who has lived most of his adult life in England, recently gave his answer to the same question about the England-USA match. He said he would be supporting England. He said if the USA loses nobody would notice in America, but if England loses it would be a national tragedy here. I think he is right.
I do want England to win all of its games, and win the Cup. I don't wish the USA ill, but I just don't want them to win tomorrow. Let the games begin!