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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 July, 2004, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
English sport - not rubbish
By Tom Fordyce

David Beckham lies face down on the turf
Chin up Becks - there's always Paula at the Olympics

Doom. Gloom. Calamity. Catastrophe.

Everywhere you look, English sport is apparently in crisis.

The rugby team lose three games in a fortnight, the cricket team get thrashed by New Zealand and the West Indies, Tim Henman goes crashing out of Wimbledon to an unseeded 20-year-old and the footballers can't handle a slightly sandy penalty-spot.

Rubbish, isn't it?

Or is it? Is it really?

IT'S ALL RELATIVE

So you're still hurting from England's Euro 2004 exit against Portugal.

Would you rather be German?

At least England made it into the quarter-finals.

At least England have the best young player in the tournament, and a group of talented youngsters around which to build the team for the next World Cup.

Germany are hosting in two years time, and there's every chance they'll be forced out of their own party before the cocktail sausages have even come out.

The Germans have also seen their results in athletics, traditonally a national strength, fall away completely.

At last summer's World Championships, they finished 27th in the medal table, winning a solitary silver and three bronzes.

And come to think of it, where are the German cricket team in the latest Test rankings?

WINNING WHEN IT MATTERS

Right. So England got battered by the All Blacks twice and then shipped 50 points against Australia.

Who cares?

These summer tours don't matter in the slightest.

The few decent players in the squad will pull their socks up and so...England will win this one.
Electric Vic

One: England are missing enough first-choice players to render these reverses utterly meaningless.

Two: In a couple of years time, what will stick in people's minds - some unimportant summer jolly, or the fact that England won the World Cup in Australia's back yard?

The same goes for the cricket. England have just thumped the Windies 3-0 to win their first Test series in the Caribbean since 1968, and then come home to wallop the Kiwis in three more Tests.

And you're bothered about some one-day biff-boff nonsense?

TIM TREMENDOUS

You think Henman disgraced himself at Wimbledon?

Mario Ancic might be ranked 63 in the word today, but he played like a man who makes a habit of reaching Grand Slam semi-finals.

Tim has had a tremendous career, and you don't get to be in the world's Top 10 for a decade without having some fight
Tony, London

The lad was on fire.

If you're going to judge Henman a failure unless he wins Wimbledon, you might as well call Ivan Lendl and Pat Rafter failures as well.

For Tim to be in the world's top 10 is a sensational achievement, even if it takes his retirement to appreciate the fact.

GOLDEN WONDERS

Everywhere you look there are English winners on the world-class stage.

You just have to look a little harder, that's all.

Paula Radcliffe is the greatest distance runner in the world today. Lennox Lewis was the undisputed world heavyweight champion.

Ricky Hatton is WBU light welterweight champion. Cyclist Bradley Wiggins is world champion in the individual pursuit.

That's without dipping into the eccentric pursuits of extreme ironing, toe-wrestling and, erm, darts...




SEE ALSO
Henman crashes out
30 Jun 04 |  Tennis
New Zealand humble England
29 Jun 04 |  England
Portugal break England hearts
24 Jun 04 |  Euro 2004
Australia 51-15 England
26 Jun 04 |  Six Nations
GB lose three in a row
29 Jun 04 |  Other Sport



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