7 Ramadhan 1437
When I first began to observe the fast in the holy month of Ramadhan some twenty or so years ago, getting to the breaking of the fast at Maghrib felt like a triumph each and every day. Now, not so much - but I continue to experience echoes of that feeling when I take the first tentative sips of water and scoff those first dates. I suppose that's one of the reasons why this month is so paradoxically positive in terms of the emotions it inspires, despite being a time of deprivation (slight as that my be for someone in my fortunate circumstances.)
Perhaps that's why I don't feel quite so bad now about the Russian goal in stoppage time. It felt like a defeat at the time, since three points seemed gold-plated guaranteed. But if England can play with the flair they manifested for the first half and quite a bit of the second I see no reason why they can't go a long, long way. They looked as if they were enjoying the game, not a perception one normally associates with the national team.