I did a deal last night with my five year old, agreeing that he could stay up and watch the Germany v Italy World Cup semi final provided that he had had his bath, brushed his teeth, and was clad in his pajamas before the 8pm kick off. As it happens he fell asleep on the couch during the first half and I put him to bed at half time, but I'm sure that Tony Blair would not approve and we can expect legislation in the next Parliament after he changes his mind about making way for Gordon Brown.
Strangely, this took me back to the 1970 World Cup when I was eight. In those days, colour TVs were rare, special, expensive and exotic. I remember that my Dad got a last minute invitation to watch the Group D England v Brazil game in the home of someone who actually owned a colour set, and that he took me and my younger brother Vince with him to watch the match even though it was so late that we were already in our pajamas.
At the time I was mortified with embarrassment at this turn of events, but now I look back on it fondly. Trivially, I can still remember the problems that the cameras seemed to have with contrast in the Mexican sun, so that play near the touchlines in the shadow of the stadium was all but invisible, and less trivially I can still vividly remember Gordon Banks making the greatest save in history from Pele in that very game.
Would it have been so terrible in the great scheme of things if Benny had been up until ten thirty and seen two goals in the last two minutes of Italy/Germany?