Two days in to the 2012 London Olympics and there have already been a number of issues/topics/controversies/outrages for the ever pessimistic and moan-loving British public.
Groans of discontent and foreboding started pretty much as soon as the exuberant cheering died down after London was selected to host the games in 2005, and there have been a whole seven years for us Brits to grumble about whether the whole thing is worth it.
The issue of worth is, of course, a huge issue, but let’s forget about that until after the games have finished, the athletes leave their village, and various stadia across the British Isles gets dismantled and sheared down.
In a rather odd quirk of scheduling, events have started before the actual opening ceremony, but hey, we’re quintessentially eccentric and we’ll do things our own bloody way thank you very much.
The grand setting for the first event was the City of Coventry Stadium, which saw Japan beat Canada in the Women’s football. And HOORAH! Everything went to plan. The GB Women’s team also registered a victory over New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium, with various camera shots showing off the Welsh colour scheme of the seating.
Today was the first major contest, with the Great Britain Men’s team coming up against Senegal at Old Trafford, as Stuart Pearce’s men competed in the tournament for the first time since 1960.
As was with the coverage of the European Championships, there was a welcome lack of patriotic and unfounded ambition, a deluded sense that success is coming our way, and although phrases like “We’ll keep on getting better” kept being banded about, the media seemed fully aware that we are nowhere near good enough to medal.
Any remaining excitement and intrigue soon simmered down shortly after kick off, as the miserably quiet crowd was treated to miserably slow football. Quite clearly bored, the fans typically resorted to mexican waves, pathetically chanting ‘GEE BEE’ in a deep tone, and booing Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards due to them having the outright audacity to play at Manchester United’s stadium.
The commentary, much criticised at Euro 2012, was again lacklustre. Johnathan Pearce’s kept on losing himself in mindless chatter whilst Mark Lawrenson did what Mark Lawrenson always does, contribute very little.
Fifteen minutes in and he’d already referred to the team as England, a classic error which was always going to fall at his feet, and after some desperate GB defending he had the expert insightfulness to exclaim “There’s one challenge, there’s the second.” Thanks for that Mark.
Bellamy scored with a decent finish, and despite being assaulted in the box in the second half was bizarrely not awarded a penalty, much to the chagrin of our boys in blue.
Senegal’s physical approach to the game soon started to pay off as they took control of the centre, and countered from a British corner, taking advantage of some sloppy defending to equalise with minutes to go.
So, although we’re already underway we have the inevitably cringeworthy opening ceremony to look forward to tomorrow. Will it compare to Beijing’s? Of course, just in a really unflattering manner. I’m off to watch plumbers moan about not being able to use the Olympic lanes.