Rocket Man’s reference below to soccer is all the invitation I need to talk about the European Championship tournament being played in Portugal. My team is England, and supporting England is a little like supporting my club side, Everton. Actually it’s not that bad. England often gives a good account of itself. Nonetheless, the last time England won a major competition was in 1966 when it won the World Cup (England’s overtime victory over Germany was the first big soccer match I ever watched — thank you Wide World of Sports).
This year, England started out by blowing a 1-0 lead against defending champions France, allowing two goals during “injury time,” the time added after 90 minutes to account for stoppages in play. Then, England beat Switzerland 3-0, but took control of the match only after a Swiss player was “sent off” for misconduct.
The only major bright spot for England has been 18-year old Wayne Rooney, who plays for Everton (but almost certainly will be snapped up by a bigger team after his dazzling performance in this competition). Against France, Rooney did all he could to seal the victory, running through the French defense and wiinning a penalty kick, which the celebrated David Beckham failed to convert. Against the Swiss, Rooney scored England’s first two goals. He thus became the youngest player ever to score in the European Championships. Rooney reports that, when he returned to the dressing room after the match, the English players gave him a spontaneous round of applause.
It can’t get much better than that when you’re 18. Not even LeBron James, who is older than Rooney, can say he is the top star of his national team, although at the rate players are dropping off the U.S. Olympic basketball team, James may be able to say it later this summer.
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