If you want to an imagine an image of the future, imagine a nation's 'Golden Generation' trudging off a football field, dazed and haunted by another defeat in a high-profile knockout game, forever.
The title weighed heavily upon England in the noughties, and now it presses heavily upon Belgium, who flopped once again in last night's quarter-final against Wales.
The Welsh were admittedly brilliant, with Joes Ledley and Allen along with Aaron Ramsey passing them to death and Gareth Bale a menacing presence, picking up great positions between the lines. Belgium, however, started superbly, before oddly sitting back having gone ahead through a Radja Nainggolan howitzer, that moved through the air like a rat scampering down an alley.
Bar a brief flicker in the first moments of the second half, the game belonged to Wales from the moment Belgium went ahead. This came to a glorious crescendo when Hal-Robson Kanu went all Johan Cruyff to send the entire Belgian defence out for the newspaper:
It was a moment of extraordinary genius by Kanu, and the goal might well be the best of the tournament, but it was helped by some seriously inept Belgian defending. Belgium went into the game without Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen, meaning Marc Wilmots was forced to select Jordan Lukaku and Jason Denayer in defence.
The pair then promptly proved that it was possible to have misery without Kompany. Without putting too fine a point on it, the defenders stank the game out, with Jason having the soon to be proverbial Denay-mare. Let's take a look at his defending on Kanu's goal:
Step One - 'Okay, let's stay in a defensive line, like I was always coached'
Step Two - 'I'm sure it's grand to stand still, I'm sure nobody else will move'
Step Three - 'Oooh, look, a ball'
Step Four - Shit, I missed it! I'll get back to make a brilliant, last-ditch tackle
Step Five - 'My teammate has the man, I'd better get back in position in the box'
Step Six - 'Oooh, look, a ball'
Step Seven - Shit, I missed it! I'll get back to make a brilliant, last-ditch tackle
Step Eight - I've got you, Hal Robson Kaaa-
Step Nine - -aaanWHO!?
Let's have a look at the end of that in excruciating slow-motion:
No taking away from an amazing goal, but it's a nightmare Denayer won't be waking from anytime soon.