May 15, 2008

Yodeling in Denglisch

I’ve found the forerunner to the modern sitcom: A cycle of seven one-act plays from 1893 by Arthur Schnitzler titled Anatol. In the act “Episode,” we see our philandering hero Anatol bitterly disillusioned when Bianca, a circus-girl with whom he has once had an affair, fails to recognize him on her return to Vienna. In the act “Abschiedssouper,” he gives what he intends to be a farewell supper for the ballerina Annie, whom he’s tired of, only to find, to his unjustified indignation, that she has come with a similar intention.

In June, Schnitzler’s country Austria co-hosts with Switzerland the Eurocup of soccer, which has a higher worldwide following than the Olympics, second only to the World Cup in the gathering of humans for any peacetime reason. One national team with intermittent success and constant participation in the Eurocup is England. During qualification England drew an easy group and took their chances for granted. After all, they had countless superstars on their men’s national team. However, like Anatol, their performance wasn’t memorable and they failed to impress. In a last-ditch effort with home field advantage at Wembley against lowly Croatia, England fully intended to serve their opponents a farewell supper but instead saw themselves dumped in an embarrassing 2-3 loss last November. This year’s Eurocup tournament events will have the dubious distinction of being conducted largely in Continental English for the masses of tourists, but lacking any national team from the English speaking countries of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, or Malta, all who failed to qualify.

3 comments:

ß&dragon said...

Amazing, is it the same lovable characters from week to week? Being a futurist in the genre of cheap television is a unique achievement.

Sorry I haven't posted all week, I'm on the beach in Laguna/San Diego with two tiny chihuahua puppies named Grizelda & Narwhala.

MoobyDoobyZhaZha said...

Wait, is the Eurocup different from UEFA? Why are there so many? Isn't it all the same thing? How does anyone have time to keep track of it all? Sigh. I'm more interested in arena soccer.

Ryan from Rayne said...

Another great article, Brains!

Although England can boast many great players amongst ttheir ranks, they haven't won a major international tournament since 1966, and since then have never really looked like winning one - most English fans are now used to being eliminated at the quarter-final stage (assuming we actually qualify at all, that is).

So the question is this: why does England, with its multitude of superstars, always fail on the big occasion?

A difficult question to answer, but for me the fault lies with the players - the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Wayne Rooney play extremely well for their club teams every week, yet often play poorly for their country.

There would appear to be a strong sense of arrogance and complacency in the camp. When England play lowly teams such as Estonia or Macedonia, the players make little effort, thinking that the game's already won before it's even started.

Perhaps England's failure to qualify is a blessing in disguise - the players now know they need to improve their attitudes to the smaller nations... and this lesson will stand us in good stead going into the qualifiers for the World Cup in 2010.