So now we know who we will be playing next summer, and quite honestly the draw could have been worse. We are in group C together with Italy, Ireland and Croatia, and with two teams going through we have to say we are confident. Italy of course are the most difficult, but who can forget that we out catencchioed the catenacchio specialists four years ago in the quarter final, and then San Iker saved two penalties in the shoot out to take us on the road to our magnificent victory! I have saved the underpants I wore that night in a frame on my wall, (once I cleaned them up that is – it took three days of boiling in caustic soda to do so, such was the excitement of the moment!), and the memory will live with us forever!
Italy then are first up, but after that we play Ireland, and we hope we can meet up with some old friends of ours over there who we met a couple of years ago in Murrays bar in Dublin (the one that shows all the football on the big screens). Do they sell Guiness in Poland? If they didn’t, they will now! Lots of it! And lastly of course Croatia, which is particularly exciting for my good friend Goran Arsic, who as you must know by now is actually Croatian. Goran has mixed feelings being drawn with Spain, but he is sure that we will be the two teams to go through. We may be standing at opposite ends of the ground for that one though!
We don’t like to think beyond that not to tempt fate, but in the quarter finals we could meet either England or France, which isn’t too bad either. True, England beat us a few weeks ago in a friendly, but as we said then, it is all part of the Marquis’s master plan to lull the opposition into a false sense of security! And France themselves are not the team they were when they had Zizou, Thierry and that little bald goalkeeper that everybody used to pat on the head! Gdansk doesn’t seem too bad either – we play all our games there at the group stage. It’s on the Baltic coast, not quite our own Mediterranean but we could have been stuck in some industrial town in the middle of the Ukraine! No, good feelings all round, and we are already saving up our slotties (the local currency, named, so Goran tells me, from their frequent use in slot machines they have over there?). Roll on next summer!