SINGAPORE - Supporting the England football team is like being married to a lousy spouse. You know there are better options out there. You hope and expect the best. But you know you will just end up being constantly disappointed.
Worse, you find yourself starting to make excuses for them.
The weather in Manaus is so hot. The pitch was bad, how can you expect them to perform? But it is okay, they tried their best and showed signs of a better future.
I made a conscious decision to divorce myself from my English obsession at this World Cup.
The option was there to chronicle the fortunes of Roy Hodgson and his merry men in Manaus.
But, thankfully, logic and the lure of Spain v the Netherlands and Germany v Portugal in Salvador prevailed.
But I still could not resist joining the hordes of fans along Salvador's scenic Barra beach boardwalk to watch the England-Italy match. It is never easy to rid yourself of your first love.
My fascination with English football, like many Singaporeans, dates back to the days of Big League Football and Road to Wembley in the 1980s.
Besides the Malaysia Cup, it was the only football staple we had. There was no Internet then, no YouTube to watch footage of other footballers. English football was all we knew.
So it was interesting to note that in Barra, the neutral fans - the Americans, Brazilians, other Europeans - were all cheering England on. I guess misery loves company. Or you can credit that to the powerful marketing of the English Premier League.
But on a night when England lost again, when a Wayne Rooney corner-kick went so horribly wrong it went straight out, one has to wonder why many of us are still hung up on England.
Okay, maybe the Italy performance was an improvement from previous years. At least this team showed more attacking intent.
But is that what it has come to? Celebrating a 1-2 loss against Italy? This is an old, past-their-prime Italy, mind you, not one of the favourites for the World Cup like Brazil, Argentina, Spain or Germany.
Perhaps it is time we rid ourselves of our fascination with the England football team and admit that they will never be good enough - at least not in my lifetime.
And there is no better time than the present, at the World Cup, where there are 31 other teams to consider. Perhaps it is time to embrace the other men in this world.
This article was first published on June 16, 2014.
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