How far would you go to support your country during an international tournament?
Sure, you’ve got your novelty plastic flags flying from your car window. You decide to only drink Carling for the month of June. You’ve bought a pizza from Tesco that has hilariously organised the pepperoni into the shape of a St George’s cross.
But have you ever whipped out your penis during a penalty shootout to try and distract the opposition?
No? Well we’re afraid to say you can never class yourself as much of a fan who did exactly that in England’s penalty shootout defeat to Italy in Euro 2012.
The American sports website Deadspin described it at the time as a ‘sad, English penis’, as the fan stands, arms folded with a sense of ‘Well lads, I did my job here, it’s just a pity you didn’t do yours.’
He knows he’s kept up his side of the bargain, with his meat and two veg dangling there in the Kiev night. It’s just a shame his beloved England side didn’t.
It was Andrea Pirlo’s panenka that the shootout was eventually remembered for, but as Alessandro Diamanti slotted home the winning spot kick, the image of an England fan, kitted out in not just a red and white wig but the hipster’s choice of the goalkeeper’s second choice kit, will sit alongside Pirlo’s penalty as the enduring image of England’s Euro exit that year.
Don’t think we didn’t spot the captain’s armband affixed to his left arm either. He truly is a leader amongst men, and he knows it.
This guy means business, which is more than can be said of his mate, who also seems to be making a half-baked attempt at standing in solidarity by also popping out his shame and two worries.
Then there’s the fans alongside him, seemingly oblivious to the situation that has unfolded next to them. Football has a funny habit of being able to completely focus on the job at hand, but even in this intense situation you might expect to see a couple of disapproving looks.
And what of the stewards? They’re just standing there six feet away, and haven’t yet asked this bloke if he wouldn’t mind, if at all possible, sticking the boys back in the barracks for the duration of the penalty shootout.
It makes you think how long he stood there for after Diamanti stroked the ball past Joe Hart. Did he immediately acknowledge his plan had failed, or did he stand there, like the rest of us, arms still folded, for a couple of minutes in disappointment and disbelief?
Whatever happened next, and whoever this man is, he will forever have a special place in the England banter era, as ‘that bloke who couldn’t stop Italy beating us on penalties despite whipping his penis out’.
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