Saturday, April 20, 2024

Why England’s Hockey World Cup script has much to savour in defeat

Bhubaneswar — There’s a scene in All the President’s Men, the classic investigative journalism film centred on the Watergate scandal 40 years ago, where Rob Redford, who plays Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, meets his Deep Throat source at an underground carpark. Footsteps echo in the cavernous space in the early hours, Deep Throat lighting a match to wafting cigarette smoke to signal his whereabouts.

I’ve seen the film a dozen or more times. I know the outcome – yet this scene grips me every time such is the eerie, intense atmosphere, the need for truth. We are led into this world where Redford’s character seems in danger, and not politically, but nothing happens to him. All is okay, it’s just a well-crafted red-herring.

This all came to mind (okay, a tiring one given this World Cup should be a two-week one for a variety of reasons) when Germany clawed their way back on Wednesday evening at the Kalinga Stadium, where England’s World Cup was going to script for 54 or so minutes. There was no danger here. We were perhaps in the midst of a potentially defining moment for English men’s hockey.

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