The British lose the battle
by The Press and Standard | July 20, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: July 18, 2018 at 1:07 pm
The barroom atmosphere became louder as the battle between England and Croatia for a place in the World Cup finals wore on.
The group gathered at the Main Street Grill the afternoon of July 11 was boisterous, with the exception of the three transplanted Englishmen, whose anxiety seemed to grow as the second period began.
Matt Mardell, Andrew McConnell and David Acres had been in high spirits early in the match, after England scored a goal about six minutes into the match.
But then, as the contest began to wind on, the three men — raised on football (what the rest of the world calls soccer) — began to get concerned.
The members of their country’s teams seemed to go into soccer’s equivalent of the NFL’s prevent defense, more focused on trying to thwart Croatia’s offense than sustaining their own offense.
The match was 68 minutes old when Croatia scored to tie the match.
The announcers pointed out that it had been decades since England had won its only World Cup. It was 1966 when England hosted the World Cup.
“Nine-year-olds in England know that,” McConnell said, lamenting the quality of the announcing.
When a soccer player fell to the turf in real or imagined pain, Acres, the musical director of Charleston’s “The King’s Counterpoint,” a choral group that performs sacred and secular music from the Middle Ages to modern times, gave his voice a work out.
Acres began mimicking a circus calliope tune.
McConnell quickly joined in. Laughing, he said “It’s been years since I heard that.” The calliope tune translated into labeling the player a clown, he explained.
With their heads in their hands, the Englishmen watched Croatia’s team celebrate the winning goal, taking a 2-1 lead in the match nearly two hours old.
Unlike American professional sports, there were no chants of wait until next year. The next World Cup won’t be until 2022 with Qatar as the host country.