Wondering how you will manage to make it through an entire month of the upcoming European Championships? It's not easy, but Neil Humphreys presents his tips on surviving all those sleepless nights...
It’s not easy watching international football tournaments like Euro 2016 in Singapore. The next month promises no sleep, bleary eyes and crushing disappointment – and that’s just Wayne Rooney in his opening game. So here we present some of FourFourTwo's imperative dos and don’ts to get Singaporeans through the exhaustion and tedium of Roy Hodgson’s tactics.
1. Don’t stay home alone
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In the internet age, there’s something disturbing about a grown man sitting alone at 3am in front of a screen, in his boxer shorts, and getting overly excited.
Besides, there are only so many times one can scream: “Why do you keep picking Rooney, Roy? Is there a secret sex tape involved?”
In the end, nosy neighbours will call the police to complain about the man in his boxer shorts screaming about balding men and sex tapes.
So a communal setting is the preferred option for watching matches over the coming month.
After all, Rooney’s midnight horror show must not be endured alone.
2. Keep an eye out for ‘Confucius’
The sage of soccer, he’s a regular on the Singaporean scene and easy to identify at bars and coffee shops because he’ll open every statement with “the ball is round”.
His analytical knowledge is explained entirely by his ability to define the shape of a football.
That’ll be his profound answer for everything this month. Can France overcome their weaknesses at centre-back? The ball is round. Will Wales be able to pull off a miracle with a one-man team? The ball is round. Can Italy escape the group of death without an obvious No.9 up front? The ball is round.
And, best of all, the statement is always, without fail, delivered with a wry nod of the head and a knowing smile, as if the speaker has just disclosed the meaning of life.
He means well, but in choosing your football companions throughout Euro 2016, you’ve got to ask yourself one question. Will this literal description of a spherical object get a little repetitive at 3am? The ball is round.
3. Beware the king of stats
Statisticians are the bane of a football fan’s life. Most supporters can live without the knowledge that the last time the two sides met in the Euros was in 1960, when they played out a 0-0 draw and a cocker spaniel ran on the pitch at half-time.
But Singapore not only has regular fact fans. It also has gambling fact fans, and superstitious gambling fact fans, and superstitious gambling fact fans potentially keeping you company in the dead of night.
So there’s a better chance of you ending up beside a guy who’ll say: “I’m taking goals between Germany and Northern Ireland because Germany have scored 2.1 goals in every game since Joachim Loew started wearing a tight white shirt and have beaten Northern Ireland 15 times and I’ve had 15 pints of Guinness and can no longer feel my legs.”
But if you happen to be a fan of meaningless facts, on the other hand, by all means hang out with the king of stats. He’ll be at the bar, sitting on his own.
4. Staying awake between games
For the best part of a month, a regular sleep pattern just isn’t possible in Singapore. With games kicking off at 9pm, midnight and 3am, finding ways and means to stay awake becomes an overriding priority.
There is the obvious bedroom solution that involves one’s partner. But such a request might be accused of lacking romance if it’s made not in the interests of love and marriage, but because you’re trying to stay awake for the Iceland-Hungary game.
The hour or so gap between fixtures can be a killer, as it’s not quite long enough for a nap, but long enough to pull down drooping eyelids.
Look for quick, entertaining diversions. Watch YouTube clips of Zlatan Ibrahimovic doing, well, anything.
Avoid Hodgson’s press conferences. That man could talk a glass eye to sleep. See what Roy Keane has been up to. His interviews could be used to wake patients from comas.
5. Beware the stranger with his balls
Ah, the well-meaning stranger with his balls can be a drawback of watching late-night games in a coffee shop. He’s uniquely Singaporean and it’s a wonder he hasn’t been included in Singapore Tourism Board ads, standing in his white vest, shorts and slippers and inviting you to eat his balls.
For the uninitiated, this kind offer may represent a disconcerting request. But it is of course local betting parlance.
The taking and eating of balls refers to goal handicaps placed on bets, the understanding of which is a key prerequisite of enjoying the Euro 2016 experience.
If the stranger isn’t referring to football gambling, however, then you might want to rethink where you watch matches.
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