In frustrating yet amusing fashion, she went at snail’s pace towards our desired location; grinning at the determined and panicky faces of Menna and I in her dash mirror.
Arguably the greatest disappointment of a football supporters’ life is that they may end up supporting Manchester United.
In all seriousness, it’s an atrocity that the World Cup only comes around every four years. Since the last, I’ve completed my A Levels, gone to University for three years, met my girlfriend, obtained my degree, and moved to China. So upon the realisation that I’d be in China for the entirety of the competition, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t gutted. Not only would I miss the bravado, national excitement, and patriotism of being in England during the games, but I may miss the games all together. You see, the internet in China is generally quite poor. Now I’m sure there are exceptions in certain areas like Shanghai, Beijing and other large cities. However, the internet in my own apartment was lacklustre. The Champions League Final, or what I saw of it, hinted at what was to come when the World Cup began.
Fortunately, Menna and I had a holiday which began on the 18th June, the day before the England v Tunisia game. How fortunate.
Due to the time difference, the group games began at 8.00pm, 11.00pm, and 2.00am the following day. So after a full day exploring the city of Kunming in Yunnan province and hiking through the jaw dropping Stone Forest, we made our way to O’Reilly’s – the local Irish bar.
Sweden v South Korea came and went. During the second half of the Belgium v Panama game, Menna and I were approached by an Englishman and his fiercely pro-England, American born son, who we soon got chatting to. John and Andy were both immensely welcoming and it was great to meet some friendly faces to chat to about the football, travel, expat life, and other various topics.
We happily agreed to move bars and watch the England game – due to start in about an hour – in a more lively location where many of the city’s expats were based.
Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication and said bar was closed that night. Intent on singing the national anthem before the start of England’s World Cup story, we sprinted to the nearest taxi to take us to the new, definite, location of the expat crowds.
Unfortunately, with only 5 minutes before the start of the anthems, it seemed unlikely we’d make it for the opener of the Three Lion’s campaign; haste was of paramount importance.
Unfortunately, our taxi driver, Julie, had little regard for the appeal of the World Cup, even when Andrew (who spoke fluent Chinese) directed her to speed up. In frustrating yet amusing fashion, she went at snail’s pace towards our desired location; grinning at the determined and panicky faces of Menna and I in her dash mirror.
Leaping out of the taxi, we sprinted to the bar, eager to catch even a slither of the anthem. As we turned the corner, we heard the all too familiar words:
“… long live our noble Queen...”
To the delight of the other English supports, we blasted out the remainder of the anthem and treated ourselves to a deserved pint.
John, Andrew, and I.
Three exhausted, yet hopeful Lions.
Fortunately, Harry Kane.