Martin Smith: Rubbing England’s noses in it...

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It’s happened again.

In our eternal bounty and bottomless good will to all mankind we’ve given the world yet another spectacle humanity loves so much it can hardly believe it.


Not just any old football, we gave the world that 150-odd years ago.

No this is Premier League-style football.

The sort of all-action game that has enthralled the planet increasingly over the last 20 years.

The sort of football where, at its best, caution is deemed unnecessary, attack is all and those who dare usually win.

And no-one ever gives up.

The kind of football that is making this World Cup the best in living memory and probably the best ever.

Where any team can (almost) beat any other team on their day, the kind of football that attracts audiences of billions around the world.

And guess what?

They’re better than us at this new version as well.

But that’s no surprise.

There are many examples of this country’s creativity and enterprise that have given the people of earth reasons to get up in the morning.

Baseball, Methodism and Grand Theft Auto are but three of thousands, but none comes close to football in its scale, scope and reach.

Football is the sport that makes all the others look like something to do when there’s no football on.

We gave the organised game to the world in the days when toffs and professional types, in this city more than any other, started to kick a ball around to keep fit in winter when they couldn’t play cricket.

For the last 60 or 70 years with a few notable exceptions, the world has been rubbing our noses in our own decline.

Now national teams have taken the Premier League style, refined it, added their own characteristics and upped their game again.

Algeria, Costa Rica, Colombia and Nigeria have learned their lessons well, let alone Germany, Holland and Argentina.

Of course exciting football has been played all over the world since Sheffield Rules were drawn up.

But this latest thrilling, all-action incarnation has it’s origins in the pace and power of the Premier League and is utterly inspiring and irresistible.

Perhaps England could try it?