MOSCOW—In a literal case of life imitating art, Mick Jagger went to see England and England lost.
The Rolling Stones frontman was at the Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday to see Croatia beat England, 2-1, in extra time in the World Cup semifinals.
Last year Jagger unexpectedly released a pair of solo songs. One of the songs was called “England Lost,” and its starts with the tale of someone ostensibly going to watch England play a soccer match and finishes with some political commentary about Britain’s exit from the European Union.
“I went to see England, but England’s lost,” Jagger sings. “And everyone said we were all ripped off.”
Jagger arrived in Russia for the World Cup after he and his bandmates completed a short European tour in Warsaw on Sunday. He attended Tuesday’s match between France and Belgium in Saint Petersburg and then came to Moscow to see his home national team play—and lose to—Croatia.
Jagger has been a regular in recent years at major soccer tournaments. He attended the World Cup final four years ago in Brazil and also watched the United States play Ghana in the round of 16 at the 2010 tournament in South Africa. He was at that match alongside former President Bill Clinton, who had a cameo in the Martin Scorsese-directed Rolling Stones concert film Shine A Light.
But Jagger, who is also a keen cricket fan, has been thought of as a bit of a jinx at World Cup soccer stadiums.
During another European tour in 2014, Jagger wrote some encouraging words on Twitter ahead of England’s match against Uruguay in the group stage.
“Let’s go England! This is the one to win!!,” he wrote. England lost.
Jagger then predicted at a show in Rome that Italy would beat Uruguay in a subsequent group match. Italy lost.
At an earlier concert in Lisbon, Jagger said Portugal would win the title in Brazil. The Portuguese were eliminated in the first round.
Then came the semifinals, which essentially cemented Jagger’s reputation as a harbinger of bad luck in Brazil. The man who sang “Hoo Doo Blues” on the band’s most recent album went to Belo Horizonte to see the host nation face Germany with his son Lucas, who is half Brazilian. Brazil lost, big time.
Those examples only reinforced the theory that began in South Africa in 2010. A day after the US-Ghana match, Jagger attended England’s game against Germany. England lost.
He then went to watch Brazil play the Netherlands in the quarterfinals with his son, who was wearing the national team’s yellow jersey. Yes, Brazil lost.
Perhaps it was that dire history that prompted Jagger to write England Lost, which he released last July—one day after his 74th birthday—along with “Gotta Get A Grip.”
At the time of release, Jagger said in a statement that the song was about more than just watching his team lose a soccer match.
“It’s obviously got a fair amount of humor because I don’t like anything too on the nose,” Jagger said then, “but it’s also got a sense of vulnerability of where we are as a country.”
Regardless of why he wrote England Lost, it certainly didn’t help England win on Wednesday.
CONVICTED CROATIA OFFICIAL KEEPS V.I.P. STATUS
A CROATIAN soccer official will be allowed to watch the team’s World Cup semifinal match from a VIP section on Wednesday, despite being convicted last month in a corruption case linked to the transfer of captain Luka Modric.
When Croatia beat Russia in the quarterfinals on Saturday, the director general of the country’s soccer federation sat in the same row of seats as Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Damir Vrbanovic has stayed in office since being sentenced in June to a three-year jail term even though Fifa’s disciplinary code bars officials “convicted of a criminal offense in the past five years.”
However, Fifa says the sentence is not final because the former Dinamo Zagreb director general is appealing to a higher court.
“The evaluation of the position of the person concerned, then, is made only by its national association according to the applicable national law,” Fifa said in a statement to The Associated Press.
The Croatian federation said any other interpretation would be “unconstitutional and serious violation of his human rights.”
“In accordance to the Croatian and general law, Mr. Vrbanovic is innocent because the relevant judgment is not final and binding,” the soccer body said in a statement to the AP.
The criminal case hasn’t affected Croatia’s progress to its first World Cup semifinal in 20 years, despite Modric being charged with perjury in March.
Defender Dejan Lovren, another former Dinamo Zagreb player, is also under investigation for suspected false statements.
The case relates to alleged embezzlement and tax evasion in Dinamo’s sales of Modric to Tottenham in 2008 and Lovren to Lyon in 2010.
Prosecutors targeted Zdravko Mamic, a longtime influential figure in Croatian soccer as former Dinamo director, former vice president of the national federation, and close ally of current president Davor Suker.
Mamic was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison and left Croatia for Bosnia-Herzegovina before the verdict was reached on June 6. His brother, Zoran, a former Dinamo coach, was sentenced to 4 years, 11 months.
They were accused of embezzling €15 million ($17.6 million) through fictitious deals during transfers of several Dinamo players to clubs outside Croatia.
Modric appeared irritated when asked on June 15 in Kaliningrad if the case was a cloud over Croatia’s tournament ahead of its opening game against Nigeria.
“Nothing smarter to ask?” Modric said. “It’s a World Cup, it’s not about other things.”
Suker, the star forward in Croatia’s 1998 World Cup team and an elected member of UEFA’s executive committee, has not been implicated. He declined to talk with reporters at a Moscow hotel on Sunday.
UEFA said Wednesday it is awaiting developments to assess Vrbanovic’s role as a member of European soccer’s committee overseeing national team competitions.
Fifa said it is “monitoring the situation concerning Mr. Vrbanovic as it expects all officials and member associations involved in the 2018 Fifa World Cup to abide by the core values of fair play and protect the image of football.”