OK, so it’s not real football but it is Scotland at a World Cup Finals – [I’ve got the Topps Trading Cards to prove it] -and there are not that many top international sports events where we are represented as an ‘Independent’ nation. Didn’t the Murray brothers do well at the tennis recently – for Great Britain……

Anyway, back to the Rugby and in our opening matches at eight World Cup Finals, Scotland have only lost once – to South Africa in 1999. Compare that to our appearances at eight FIFA World Cup Finals which have seen Scotland WIN only two of their opening games – versus Zaire in 1974 and New Zealand in 1982.

So Scotland are now one step closer to lifting the Webb-Ellis Trophy – named after the pampered and privileged public schoolboy who, instead of sticking to the rules of 1823, picked up the ball and ran with it. Isn’t it ironic that when that genuine sporting hero Thierry Henri tried something similar in a World Cup play-off match against the Republic of Ireland in 2009 he got pelters for it? Incidently, Japan are due to host the 2019 Rugby Union World Cup Finals. I fancy that. I’ll be sixty that year so it could be my last major travelling hurrah. The Tartan Army were denied a visit to the Land of the Rising Sun in 2002 [and an opportunity for me to dress up as a Geisha Girl and sing ‘He’s my Japanese Boy’ to Billy Dodds] thanks largely to our inability to beat Belgium and Croatia in FIFA world cup qualifiers at Hampden.

We will probably not win the 2019 Rugby Union World Cup but following those with the funny shaped balls half way around the globe would also allow for a pilgrimage to be made to the cities of Kobe and Saitama – the sites of our 2006 Kirin Cup glory. Sayonara Scott and Gavin……and only fifteen days to the Poland game now.

Robert Marshall

First posted on Facebook September 24th, 2015