By Christian Rose-Day
A trip to the Angel of the north for the big game against Slovenia. For this occasion the Fluid London Ultimate World Cup Pub Crawl needs to find a venue with lots of space and buckets of atmosphere. The O2 Islington Academy it is then.
Thankfully, it’s free to get in, despite needing to secure tickets online first. O2 still make their money though. £3.80 for a can of Tetley! ONE can of Tetley! I’m not a lager drinker by trade, but I think I’ll opt for a £2 pint of Carlsberg on the next round.
There are a couple of 100 people in attendance, half of them women, and half of them are hot; something the young lads near the front have taken full advantage of, well before kick off, approaching two stunning girls at one of the handful of standing tables dotted around the room.
I’m surprised that most people are dressed in casual wear. There are few collars and even fewer ties. Has everyone bunked off work for the day? Hang on: backpacks, tattoos, singlets, shorts - these are all students! I can hardly blame, it’s a beautiful day outside. I bet most of them will be off to Glastonbury as soon as the match is over. Bastards!
The lights are dimmed at kick off and the game begins well for England. We look bright, confident and more free-flowing compared to the woeful effort against the Algerians. The divots on the pitch are probably to England’s advantage. We’ve played on a similar surface in Wembley for months.
23 minutes - Defoe, Heskey’s replacement for this game, connects with Lennon’s replacement for this game, Milner, to score a well worked, deserved goal. This results in much clapping, singing and “C’mon”s at O2. Looks like the plan is working Fabio.
Half time - an excellent display of world class football by England. Everyone at the O2 exists for a quick smoke. This is primarily a music lovers’ venue, after all. Smoking and loud music go hand in hand. The stage where the huge screen currently hangs has welcomed the likes of Eminem and KISS in the past. Following this game, the next scheduled gathering here is the UK Beatbox Grand Final Championships. W-ww-wiiiiiicked. I may just have to return. Obviously, this being a church to music means the sound quality in here is great. I can actually hear singing in the stands, even over the vuvuzelas. Thank St George!
Skip the second half, England’s performance dwindles slightly, magnified by Rooney’s shot against the post. Picture 50 million people willing it to go in. He’ll get that elusive goal eventually. We make it through to 90 minutes though. Now bring on the Germans!