It took about half an hour of the first game against USA for England fans to realise that the tournament would end in failure. It took me slightly longer but my effort to join in the beer bloggers world cup sweepstake has also ended in failure.
Six weeks ago, beer bloggers worldwide were invited to join the sweepstake. Each blog would be given a random team from the world cup and be expected to write a blog about beer from that country. We were given plenty of time and the deadline to post the blog was the final whistle of last night's final match. I have clearly failed too.
Those who drew out teams like Honduras and North Korea were in real trouble even getting hold of some beer let alone writing about it. My team was Slovakia which being next door to Czech Republic I had thought would have a wide choice. I was mistaken but a local beer could not have been easier to find - at the end of the street in fact.
Like many newsagents, the one nearest my house has in recent years become more of a mini grocery providing emergency staples like milk and bread saving the inconvenience and time of a walk to the supermarkets. Many of these newsagents in the vicinity have taken to selling authentic Polish produce due to the opening up of Euro borders. My local has two flags on the shopfront, one for Czech Republic and one, luckily of me, for Slovakia.
It could not have been easier for me to pass by the fridge while topping up my oyster to pick up a beer or two from Slovakia and still I failed.
I was engrossed in the tournament, match by match went by without a beer. Slovakia left the tournament a day after England and still I could not be arsed to drink it. Once England had gone and that emotional connection had gone, I started to really enjoy the competition. We knew having seen the football played by Germany, Spain, Holland, Argentina and Brazil that England, like this blog, were well off the pace and not capable of winning the big prize.
And so it was left to the final, Spain v Holland and a cheeky Slovakian beer. I dropped in on the newsagent and picked up a can of Zlaty Bazant, the country's leading brand and settled down to enjoy it in front of the match intending to write about the experience after the final whistle. Well extra time came and went, the stalemate was broken by a winning goal to Spain, the presentation took a while and once I had settled down to watch the after proceedings with James Corden the moment and my deadline had passed and to bed I climbed to dream about the day that I too scored the winner in the world cup final.
So here I am, early morning, paying lip service to the competition, and writing my entry for world cup beer sweepstake. This blog will never be a prize winner. I come from a finance background, more creative accounting than creative writing but I do like to play my part and be involved.
The beer ? Well as you might expect, a light pilsner style - is there such a style ? Perhaps light lager might describe better. My beer was 10% - not by volume but on the Czech Balling scale and about 4%. I gather from Adrian Tierney Jones 1001 Beers book that the brewery also do a 12% beer at 4.8% a more traditional strength for bohemian pilsner. My beer was clearly the "vier" version and suffered with lack of body and flavour for that reason.