Opening game of the season – repeats

Giles unexpectedly receives a pass from a free kick and, even more unexpectedly, blasts it from 30 yards into the top corner

Jimmy Sirrel, upon Notts County winning 1-0 at Aston Villa on the opening day of 1981-82, said to start the season, you want your first goal, your first point and your first win. He perhaps should have added your first clean sheet. Whatever, I’ve repeated the homily many times, and always think of him on the opening day. – which is too early (which I also always repeat).
Salop’s 1-0 win against promotion-fancied Portsmouth – who’d bought 2 of our players – is a great result.
But welcome to the word “streaky” a la football. Our on-loan-for-a-season full-back had never hit one like that before; all the match stats were against Salop (except the red card; and a last kick of the game that seemed a certain equaliser hit a crouching Portsmouth player and ballooned away.
The full-back actually said how their determination had been to defend.
My hunch – another season of struggle and of 54 points is the target – but hey, nice kit.


England draw the Cricket World Cup final twice and then declared winners

Image and text by The Guardian

England were the clear favourites to win the final and the win probability score ran so high for their victory during the match.
So when pundits said at half-time how the New Zealand score might be good enough, it was like they were trying to keep the tension so you didn’t change channel.
The tension developed as it became clear the pitch was difficult to read and the bowling was proving difficult. Hitting singles was not enough and then England needed boundaries. And their best bowler caught one attempt – and then trod on the rope – six. Then another couple – but a run-out attempt hit the England batsmen on the bat and went for an extra 4 – six EXCEPT, turns out it should have been counted as a single and a four.
So England were able to draw; and draw again in a super over, except they had hit more boundaries so a second draw was enough to win and New Zealand were left to wonder at how unlucky they had been. And I was left to marvel at their grace, and at one of their players being known as “Lucky”.

Unlike some who want to make an anti-European point about the victory. The victory was with a captain who could have played for Ireland, and the graphic makes an interesting point of the multi-cultural nature of the team, if perhaps being a bit naughty with all the facts.

Unlucky but foul

Well, other than the forearm swipe in the 7th minute, the potential threat to not play after conceding a second goal, the crunching treading on an ankle with 60 seconds to go, oh, and a general violent approach that is so out of kilter to the conduct and appeal of World Cup ’19, I had some sympathy for Cameroon.

Cos they were unlucky. The back pass was one of horrible mis-judgements leaving the keeper in a dilemma, the subsequent point-blank free kick was gonna be stopped until the keeper pushed it around the far-post guard, England’s second goal. was the kind that used to be ruled as offside, and their disallowed goal was offside for the sake of the lower leg.

All on top of a grievance in the country’s footballing psyche burning since Italia ’90; England got 2 penalties in that quarter-final when they looked ready to fall 2-1. (And Gary Lineker did a piece for this evening’s broadcast basically admitting he’d dived for the second penalty.)
Remember too that England’s population is double theirs and our wealth per person is 17 times higher.

Tedious to hear BBC commentators whinge about the time taken to do VAR and the referee – if a side decide they are mounting a protest, patience (whilst they realise they have nowhere to go) is the only option.

and Phil Neville didn’t criticise the referee once.

From the Guardian – 
… but the referee, diplomatically, refrained from making those decisions due to genuine fears the match would descend into total anarchy. By the end she genuinely seemed to fear for her physical safety.
“The referee was trying to protect football by not giving the penalty or the sending-off at the end when Steph’s ankle was stamped on – I admire the referee unbelievably,” said Neville …

The Keeper

The “incredible true story” of Margaret Trautman, Bert Trautman, Margaret’s father, Sergeant Smythe, and all touched by the bravery and tragedy and hatred of living through the war.
Shown again on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day by Broadway, and the cinema knew what they were doing. Cos it is the most visible example of reconciliation between German and British people I’ve ever seen.
It is so much more than a football film. (Indeed the commentary of the Wembley final is the one thing the director gets badly wrong.)
I’d wanted to see it during its release in April, but elections got in the way.
It’s a great film and I’d say go see, but it’s gone.
(5 stars; e:5; s:5; p:4; wiki; Guardian – 3 stars; btw, truish rather than “true”.)

European Cup final 2019

Reminded of Tottenham Hotspur losing at Notts County in the League Cup badly in the Klinsmann / Sheringham era when their decisive cutting penetrating forward moves were rehearsed in the warm-up but in some kind of slow motion.
Ditto Liverpool last night.
Building repeatedly from 6 yards out, getting past 4 Liverpool players with passes to 30 yards out and then not finding each other in the next leap forward (typical culprits – Trippier, Alli, Son), or passing back to the keeper, cos it was till all too slow.
Just not sure what continental football made of this “all English” final, with most of the players getting ratings of 5 and 6, but it all seemed too ineffective; and lacking in glory.
The penalty award after 23 seconds was bizarre. I assumed VAR was going to overturn it – the ball hit the chest, leaving no time to react to a deflection, from a pass that had been going away from goal.
Tottenham had 62% of the possession, and many more shots on target, but the possession was never very penetrating and the efforts on target were soft.
Tottenham went into the final having lost 5 of their previous 8 games and 19 in the season throughout. They were nearly knocked out of the competition on 5 occasions. They were unlucky in some ways and cup football being what it is, they could have won.