Battle of Britain

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Battle of Britain

Something like one and one quarter million phone calls were made in attempts to secure one of the 36,000 seats available to the general public for Scotland’s Euro 2000 knock-out first game with the Auld enemy England. Who says the Battle of Britain is over? Within hours of ticket availability, the black market had pushed prices up to 30 times their asking price and growing. This particular war will be waged over two days, November 13th at Hampden Park, with the surviving warriors or replacements being summoned to Wembley four days later. It’s very simple – two countries enter the fray, one qualifies and one doesn’t. No place for the feint of heart. Let the soccer decide.

Now some folks will describe this as just a game of soccer, particularly in North America, but let Suite 101 educate you somewhat. This is a game of soccer but it is also history. Even as a 10 year-old soccer fan trying to learn the game in the Republic of Ireland, I looked forward with relish to the annual “Home” internationals clashes which included an England versus Scotland match alternating between Hampden and Wembley each year. Theoretically, these games had nothing to do with an Irishman, of course, but few games have ever generated greater intensity than these matches have, and you can learn a lot just watching. Remember that these annual clashes go back to 1872 and only stopped about ten years ago. Any business you can conduct for over one hundred years has to have some appeal.

Kevin Keegan predicted that lucky England will emerge as European champions next summer after they squeezed into the draw. It make s no difference what Kevin Keegan says. It makes no difference what the rankings say. It makes no difference what happened in their last game or ten games. 180 minutes, and then some, of passion, human effort, concentration and commitment, and likely some mistakes will enlighten us soon and much more will be written.

I enjoyed German FA president Dr. Egidius Braun’s witty response at the draw when he was asked if he would mind answering a few questions in English. “My dear fellow,” he said, “ I think of English as I do my wife. I love her but I do not command her.” Are you listening….

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