Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
24 hours ago
I?m standing in the rain at a horserace. I?m standing outside a church in Bath. I?m standing at Stonehenge. I?m standing in Stratford upon Avon. I?m standing beneath the Eiffel Tower. I?m standing on Omaha Beach. I?m standing in the Louvre. I?m standing in Trafalgar Square. I?m standing in the stands at Lords. At Old Trafford. At Highbury. At Stamford Bridge. I?m walking through Soho, past a woman who has done her hair like a Dr. Seuss Sneetch. Somewhere across the oceans the Sharks are winning. I?m everywhere except where I want to be. I?m living in a world without rugby _________.
In a world without ________ the gap that exists in your life gnaws at your soul like a flesh eating virus. You try to fill it with family, religion, friends, money, alcohol, hard drugs, rock and roll, Californian co-eds, sex, culture, television, movies, musical theatre, world travel, fame, success, power, but you still find yourself empty and alone in a world without _________.
I'm standing in the stands at White Hart Lane, trying desperately to use soccer to fill the void left by a world without ________. I'm standing. I'm cheering. I'm arguing with the guy next to me. I'm trying to feel the same passion for soccer that I feel for _______. I'm trying to imbue into guys named Lampard, and Gerrard, and Jose, the same feelings I feel about the great men of _______. But it doesn't work. It can't. It was destined for failure from the start. There is not the crispness of the passing, or the deftness of the kicks, or the savage ballet of brutal hits and soul destroying tackles. There isn't the mind numbing passion that drags you to the doors of Euphoria that exists in a world with _______.
I'm standing in Griffin Park watching Super______?s London Broncos. I?m yelling at Luke Dorn. I?m yelling at Solomon Haumono. I?m yelling at Mark Tookey. It?s just not the same. I don't care about these guys. I don't care about these teams. I don't care about this watered down version of the game I love. I'm standing in KC Stadium. I'm standing in Headingly. I'm standing in JJB. It's still a world without ________. There isn't the depth of feeling. There isn't the love, there isn't the hate, there isn't the history that you feel in a true world of ______. There isn't the need to be victorious, the desperate desire not to lose. There is nothing within Super______ that drags you to the doors of Euphoria, or hangs you above the chasm of suicide watch. There is nothing within this world without _______ that allows you to lose control of reality. There is nothing which allows you to escape the real world. There is nothing which compels you to climb a fence, to hurl violent abuse at a referee, to become so caught up in the moment that you lose control of the person you are for a moment in time when you really, truly, love and hate with all your heart and all your soul. There is nothing in this world without _______ that provides the emotional highs and lows that you crave and long for when you exist in a world without _______.
I date girls from California, but they won?t dress up like Mermaids. I can visit Euro Disney, but it?s not Toyota Park. I?m paid exorbitant sums of money to do very little work, but I can?t buy the one thing I really want in life. I?m standing at Sword. I?m standing at Juno. I?m standing at Omaha. I?m standing at Utah. I?m standing in the footsteps of generals, on the shores of greatness, at the scenes of great victories. Though none will compare to beating Newcastle at home, and living in a world with ________.
I wake up in London, in a world without ________. I wake up in Paris, in a world without ________. I wake up in Manchester. I wake up in Cardiff. I wake up in Amsterdam, in Caen, in Rome, in Berlin, in a world without _______. I wake up next to supermodels, in fine hotels, with expensive clothes, and company cars, and first class travel, but every time I wake up, the nightmare still goes on.
I?m standing at Notre Dame. I?m standing at Sarce Couer. I?m standing by myself. I?m standing everywhere except precisely where I want to be. I?m standing, in a world without ________.