Saturday, 9 June 2012
Being a natural born Englishman I'm steeled for disappointment from our national team, which opens its campaign against France on Monday afternoon.
The French had an even worse World Cup in South Africa than us but somehow have managed to rebuild their team to the extent a draw is probably the best we can hope for - and reaching the later rounds of the knockout stages an absolute triumph.
Expectations are low; Roy Hodgson has hardly warmed the manager's seat; the team is beset by injuries; and Wayne Rooney is banned until our third match. I don't know if excluding Rio Ferdinand from the squad has done any damage but the row can't have helped.
Although against the odds Greece rallied and Denmark pulled it off against stronger opposition so we are always in with a shout.
My hope is that win, lose, or draw the English players are a credit to their country. It's too much to hope for attractive football but I want them to go about their task as sportsmen rather than cynical professionals.
This mean keeping yellow cards to a minimum and reds not at all. It means no rushing the ref after iffy decisions, no diving, and no feigning injury to try to get opposing team members sent off.
The boys seem to have got off to a good start appearing smartly turned out in public, meeting fans and locals and doing the right thing with their Holocaust visits.
However we fare at Euro 2012 the national side should seek a sound base from which to build for the future. The first step being able to return home with its self-respect intact.