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Thursday, 20 June, 2002, 09:03 GMT 10:03 UK
Confessions of a World Cup widow
Fans welcome Ireland's team home after they crashed out last Sunday
Out, not down: Pain and jubilation among Ireland fans
World Cup fever is upon us but not everyone loves the beautiful game. Elaine Phillips, a communications manager for a banking group in Belfast, has tried to get excited but finds 90 minutes of football just too tedious.

If it was down to me, there would be a penalty shoot-out only - never mind 90 minutes with a half-hour of golden goal.

Elaine Phillips
Elaine Phillips: "Apparently it's my fault Ireland lost"
My husband Donard is an avid Arsenal supporter and always has been, so a couple of years ago I decided I had to get in on it.

I got my Arsenal scarf, got my can of beer - 20 minutes into the game I was flipping through a Next catalogue.

I understand the offside rule and all that, but when it comes to following the ball around the screen and keeping track of who's got the ball, I just lose all interest.


Donard's too upset to watch the World Cup right now - but I bet England-Brazil will be on in the house

I haven't watched any of the World Cup bar the Ireland game on Sunday, and that was a question of patriotism and not football.

I got my Ireland T-shirt, I got my hair up in ribbons, we had our friends over and the wine out. Everyone else was 'oooh!' and 'ahhh!' and 'so-and-so should have got that in', but I got so bored watching them go round and round.

I was only in it for the party - I desperately wanted us to win so we could have a party.

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My Mum jokingly wouldn't talk to me that night when I phoned home for Father's Day. I could hear her in the background shouting at Dad to tell me I'm a scud - a jinx.

Ireland fans after the match against Spain
Irish eyes weren't smiling after Ireland crashed out
Basically it was all my fault that Ireland lost because I bought the T-shirt and had the party when I wasn't a 'real' fan. You must suffer the pain of your team losing continually before you can bask in the glory of a win.

It's fantastic now Ireland is out because Donard's lost his passion for the World Cup. Before it was three matches a day, no matter who was playing - Outer Mongolia playing Mars, he would watch it. But I bet that the England-Brazil match will be on in the house.

I leave him to it; I get 'offside'. I have a Westlife concert this Friday night; my little cousin is coming up with three of her friends, her mother, and my mother, so we're going to have a girls' night out.

Brazil fans go mad at result
It's not just men looking forward to Friday's game
At work all the men were panicking about what was going to happen so they put a big screen TV up in the canteen.

Even so, the television in my department got hijacked for the last England match. The reception was desperate but they still all sat and watched. Because it was an England game, I didn't feel I could say anything for fear of it being misconstrued - you know what it's like in Belfast - so I just had to sit and suffer.

Love me, love my team

Donard and I actually got engaged the day Arsenal won the league several years ago.

Japanese England fans
Has she left behind a World Cup widower?
We were on an island off the coast of Galway. It doesn't matter where in the world we go, Donard will find a TV to watch the football.

After several pints to celebrate the win, he asked me to marry him. Apparently the two weren't connected, but I did wonder.

However it's worked out well. He doesn't leave me abandoned to go off and play the game, and he's even bought a second TV so I don't sit and moan while the football's on.


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Elaine Phillips
"My husband is an avid Arsenal supporter"


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