With the World Cup commencing next week, the countdown to the disappointment continues unabated. The FA admin team are hovering over the hotel check out date, in the knowledge that two of the four-week booking will not be economically viable. The press are finding their stride as, interspersed with stories about Meghan’s paternal grandfather, they build the nation up. Nationalism and pride in one’s flag reaches a peak, as do ale sales, before a sudden crash back to reality after the group phase. Meanwhile the Russians find new and innovative ways to train their medical staff to beat the system, as they inject the squad with powerful stimulants while swearing blind that it’s a cold war conspiracy.

Suffice to say, the Scots will look on in bitter envy, with their celebratory peak being at precisely the same time as the English demise. We will rush home from work to catch Morocco vs Iran. Putin will milk the applause from compatriots fearful of inducting themselves into the Dickensian harshness of a Siberian internment camp should they not bow to the bare-chested, horse riding kingpin who, to the casual observer, will leave Russia looking vlad all over.

Despite the anticipation, the spectacle, and ultimately the England games, it is the incidents, not the matches that live long in the memory. Having undertaken a few clean sweeps of watching every game in various tournaments, it is not the final that lives long and prospers (they are generally dire) but the incidents of fun, frivolity, national euphoria and downright daftness that thrill.

Maradona left us fuming with his hand of god, before we mocked him for receiving Russell Grant’s bod. Strachan tried and failed to vault a two-foot-tall hoarding and Roger Milla became, briefly, the oldest swinger in town.

The World Cup attracts the good, the bad and the ugly: tournaments are now used as a political football (pun intended), with threats being carried out by our government not to attend in protest at Russia's Syrian intervention. Pop stars are attracted to the glamour with the opening ceremony being the prime event in which to gain global exposure for your latest fayre. In 1994 Diana Ross infamously sang and then lumbered across to the penalty area. Her finishing was less than supreme with the spot kick trickling wide, yet it still caused the goal to split in half as she wheeled away in celebration at her less-than-choreographed chain reaction. Still, if Harry Kane can claim the Erikson goal, she deserves hers.

In 1930, the US Doctor ran on the pitch and fell with his bag. Sometime later he was called on again and this time collapsed. It turns out the chloroform in his bag had smashed on the first run and rendered him unconscious.

As talking points, Zidane’s headbutt and Moore’s fake jewellery theft accusation stand the test of time, along with notable moments such as David Platt's over the shoulder bullet and Gazza’s unfortunate yellow against ze Germans.

As for our chances, despite the hype, I hold out some hope, but not much. The one positive is we have no showboating star players. That’s not a bad thing as it is teams that win trophies. No doubt off-the-field antics, football hooliganism and imminent terrorist threats will, initially, cast a dark cloud over what is fast moving from a joyous event to one of fear and over commercialisation. Whatever the threat, you would have to go a long way to beat that faced by the Zaire team in 1974. Having lost 9-0 in the previous game, they were threatened by then President Mobutu that they would not be allowed home if they shipped four or more goals against the Brazilians. They thankfully only shipped three and lived to tell the tale.

I await this year’s animal Mystic Meg. We have suffered a parakeet and octopus who have ‘predicted’ outcomes of games. This malarkey generally dies a death after game two, when the law of averages proves the beasts to be nothing but a fraud.

Yes, I’m looking forward to the world cup with the ice-cold beers and sounds of cheers from the back garden over yonder. We will back the minnows who will gamely do their nations proud as we urge ill will against the big boys. Ultimately though, we will be left disappointed when we learn that the England team’s penalty kick coach is Diana Ross. Three lions on a shirt, Jules Rimet’s still gleaming, 52 years of hurt, never stopped us dreaming…

- Brett Ellis is a teacher who lives in London Colney