An FA spokesperson has confirmed that England are looking to save everybody a lot of unecessary bother by staging their dramatic World Cup Quarter-Final penalty shoot-out exit next month at Wembley – seven months before the tournament is due to start in South Africa. England fans had been riding the crest of a wave following last week’s 5-1 victory over Croatia to ensure qualification to next summer’s tournament with a 100% record, although the FA are, it seems, taking a more grounded approach.
“We’ve all been here before, haven’t we?” said an FA spokesperson at Soho Square last night. “We qualify for an international tournament, everyone gets over-excited and thinks we’re going to win every game 7-0. People are losing sight of the fact that, as a nation, we always tend to bottle these situations.”
As such, the FA have asked FIFA, football’s governing body, for special dispensation to arrange a World Cup Quarter-Final shoot-out eliminator at Wembley next month to put everyone out of their misery early, and prevent everyone from relentlessly banging on about how ‘England are going to win the World Cup’ when you actually know there’s probably more chance of a jar of pickled herrings winning this week’s Euro Millions jackpot.
“The ten or fifteen minutes of shoot-out agony will take place at some time in mid-October,” the FA spokesperson confirmed, “probably against either Bolivia or Azerbaijan. To be honest, we haven’t bothered checking if either is close to qualifying for the World Cup, but we’re still pretty sure they will beat us on penalties. Standard practice in these situations is for a plucky squad player to miss a decisive spot-kick, plunging the nation into despair so the smart money is on one of Wayne Bridge, Peter Crouch or Wes Brown to burst everyone’s bubble.”
The shoot-out will run in accordance with normal FIFA rules, with both teams having the opportunity to take five penalties each. To be fair though, England’s opponents could play without a goalkeeper, and with both legs strapped together and still win, so they should probably just start celebrating now.