Smithy column: Waddle, Nobby, Keegan’s hair and why no-one over 30 will dare fancy England for World Cup

Flashback: Gareth Southgate holds his head in disbelief after missing the crucial penalty against Germany in the Euro 96 semi-final. Pic: PA.
Flashback: Gareth Southgate holds his head in disbelief after missing the crucial penalty against Germany in the Euro 96 semi-final. Pic: PA.
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So who’s having a tenner on England for the World Cup?

Deafening silence from inside Sheffield’s bookies…

Jimmy McKenna

Jimmy McKenna

One look at the Brazilian and French squads should be enough to deter any such folly but there will be the young and the reckless who will, in a week’s time, feel the old lions roaring within their football souls.

Not, one suspects, anyone over the age of 30. If you can remember Euro 96 you already have too many emotional scars to make a rational decision on our chances.

The dirty heroin of unrequited football hope has already enslaved you. The older you are the worse it is. So here’s a cynic’s World Cup guide for those 16 and under.

2002 - Golden generation, rotten referees, Ronaldinho

Match referee Chris Foy (left) books Cardiff City's Jordon Mutch (right) for diving during the Barclays Premier League match at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 28, 2013. See PA story SOCCER Cardiff. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.

Match referee Chris Foy (left) books Cardiff City's Jordon Mutch (right) for diving during the Barclays Premier League match at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 28, 2013. See PA story SOCCER Cardiff. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.

1998 - Michael Owen, one stupid boy, penalties

1994 - Rock the baby, penalties, no England

1990 - Gazza’s tears, Waddle smacks post, penalties

1986 - Genius cheat Maradona, Lineker, Robson’s shoulder

1982 - Goal in thirty seconds, Keegan’s header, Keegan’s hair

1978 - Tickertape, Kempes and Cruyff but no England

1974 – Muller, Tomaszewski and Jack Taylor but no England

1970 - Pele, colour TV and Back Home after the quarter-finals

1966 – Bobby, Nobby, and Pickles. Jules Rimet still gleaming

If you can’t remember 2006 you’re too young to have the bitterness to be an England follower but don’t despair, you’ll get there.

What about 2018? A team without superstars but with a good coach and a distinctive tactical style?

Quarter finals at best. At worst the Sun will be dusting off the ‘SEND THEM HOME’ headlines after two games.

*The intrigue bells rang when former Premier League ref Chris Foy was ‘spotted’ in a restaurant near Bramall Lane on Sunday. Visiting the Lane as a refereeing consultant perhaps?

It was pointed out that it wasn’t Chris Foy at all but that lookalike fellow from the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks, the barman Jack Osborne.

One Jimmy McKenna, a Sheffield resident enjoying lunch. There is a football connection though. Jimmy, 64, was with Sheffield Wednesday in the ‘70s before injury ended his career. But he’s not Chris Foy.