Skip to main content Text Only version of this page
BBC
Home
TV
Radio
Talk
Where I Live
A-Z Index
BBC Sport World Cup 2002

 You are in: Team Pages: England  
Front Page
Statistics
Team Pages
Features
Other News
Sports Talk
TV/Radio Coverage
Photo Galleries
Venues Guide
Matches Wallchart
World Cup Greats
History
Quiz

BBC Sport

BBC News

BBC Weather


Click on a name for more detailed team information:

Argentina
Belgium
Brazil
Cameroon
China
Costa Rica
Croatia
Denmark
Ecuador
England
France
Germany
Italy
Japan
Mexico
Nigeria
Paraguay
Poland
Portugal
Rep of Ireland
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sweden
Tunisia
Turkey
USA
Uruguay

Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
England fans suffer in ignorance
England-supporting Japanese fans hold up placards spelling out the name of Michael Owen
Sign of the times: England fans back their hero

separator
space

They say ignorance is bliss.

But try telling that to the thousands of England fans who did not have a clue what was going on between Sweden and Argentina while they sweated through proceedings in Osaka.

A calm indifference had dominated the build-up to the match with the knowledge that a draw would definitely be enough.

But when it became clear that Sven's men were not going to make life easy for themselves, the nagging fear of a Euro 2000 repeat began to loom large.

With no half-time stadium announcement to confirm the score from Miyagi, rumours of mobile phone calls made from Row Z had to suffice.

In truth, guessing what was happening in the other Group F match was far more entertaining than the uninspiring fare served up by England.

England-supporting Japanese fans at the Osaka Stadium
England are popular with Japanese football fans
Relief finally came with around 20 minutes to go.

A ripple of "One-nil to the Sweden" gathered pace and it became clear that only a disaster could now halt England's progression.

At that point the occasion lost all sense of drama.

Any energy which had not yet been sapped by the dense humidity was spent on mocking Argentina's demise rather than cheering on the boys in red.

Chants of "Cheer up Maradona" and "You`re not favourites any more" sparked up.

But all in all it was a case of after the Lord Mayor's show.

Lacking all the blood and thunder of the Argentina game in Sapporo, there was also no chance for any banter with opposing fans.

With Nigeria's fate already sealed, their following was limited to a tiny gathering stationed high in the corner of one stand.

The venue too was the most disappointing of the three that England supporters have visited.

The running track which bordered the pitch also served as a reminder of the worst aspects of Wembley.

At the final whistle, the reaction from the fans was mixed.

There were grumblings of discontent from some - eager to remind the players that thousands of pounds have been spent and just as many miles travelled to watch them perform.

Others were merely happy to revel in the fact that the World Cup dream can continue for at least a few more days.

From them, the cheer was `We`re not coming home`.

However, a similar performance against Denmark could yet mean Niigata is the last port of call for all.


E-mail this story to a friend
 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC's News Jon Sopel
"France feels terrible"
INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
TOP STORIES FROM
ENGLAND
 TEAMS
 ENGLAND
Full coverage:
News and
features
Lineker's verdict
Statistics pages
World Cup so far
Have Your Say
 SQUAD PROFILES
 RESULTS/REPORTS

GROUP F
  P GD PTS
SWEDEN 3 +1 5
ENGLAND 3 +1 5
ARGENTINA 3 0 4
NIGERIA 3 -2 1

 WATCH/LISTEN
 BBC SPORT BULLETINS
 OUR BEST VIDEO
More Audio/Video




© BBC ^ Back to top

Front Page | Statistics | Team Pages | Features | Other News | Sports Talk | TV/Radio Coverage | Photo Galleries | Venues Guide | Matches Wallchart | World Cup Greats | History | Quiz

BBC Sport >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
BBC World Service >> | BBC Radio Five Live >>
© MMII | News Sources | Privacy