Only once in my lifetime have I witnessed an England team reaching the semi-final of the World Cup, and that was during the Italia ’90 campaign (the one where Gazza cried). That World Cup, like most, (maybe with the exceptions of U.S.A ’94 and Japan ’02 because the matches were played so late in terms of G.M.T.) was everywhere – in the sense that not only was it on the T.V., but shops and cars and people were all displaying football related stuff. And in fairness, England didn’t qualify for U.S.A. ’94, so that’s perhaps an odd one to judge by, but there was the same merchandising and fervor surrounding England’s Japan ’02 Quarter-Final appearance (the one with Beckham’s mohawk), where people stayed up late to watch important matches.
So, where is the fervor surrounding the latest England team to reach a World Cup semi-final? I know all the matches are on late because it’s being played in Canada, but the supermarkets that are usually so quick to pounce on merchandising ideas have not done so on the occasion of the England Women’s team reaching the last four. If it were the men’s team the whole of the aisles as you walk in the store would be awash with booze, flags, t-shirts, barbecue stuff (cos when you’re drunk you’ll eat any old half-cooked rubbish). There’s not a lot of stuff around, so if you didn’t know, you’d think there was nothing much going on. This seems bizarre to me. Having watched all of England’s matches, with the exception of the French match, they’re a really good team that plays good football and they have a pretty good chance of beating the current holders, Japan.
So I ask: are flags and booze reserved for men only?