England have a lucky omen: Football’s coming home

Date published: Tuesday 12th June 2018 10:57

England’s lucky omen
‘Pep is our secret weapon,’ shouts the headline on the front page of The Sun’s World Cup pullout. Here we bloody go, guys.

‘2010: Barcelona win La Liga. Spain win the World Cup’

‘2014: Bayern win the Bundesliga. Germany win the World Cup.

‘2018: Manchester City win the Premier League. England win the World Cup?’

A few things, if we may temper this rampant optimism slightly:

1) Maybe Pep Guardiola is just really good at winning league titles. He does have seven in nine seasons.

2) Spain and Germany were a lot better than England in those tournaments. Maybe that matters a little too.

3) Are we ignoring Euro 2016, or does this magic omen only apply to World Cups?

Correlation does not imply causation.


Burn baby burn
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail’s back-page story combines the England football team and weather. Add in a cup of tea, constantly apologising and the mistrust of anything different and you’d complete your Englander bingo card.

‘THE HEAT IS ON,’ reads the headline to a story by Matt Lawton and Sami Mokbel. This one’s a two-man job.

‘England’s footballers could be forced to cope with a dramatic rise in temperature when they transfer from their World Cup training base to Volgograd for their opening game.

‘Gareth Southgate’s squad on Tuesday head to Repino, close to the Finnish border, with the temperature expected to be as low as 15°C for their first training session on Wednesday.

‘But they then travel more than 1,000 miles south to Volgograd for their first group game against Tunisia on Monday with the mercury expected to rise as high as 33°C there by the end of this week.’

Clever this, using the lowest temperature in one place on one day, and comparing it with the highest temperature in another place on a completely different day to create a big difference that is then sold as a possible emergency.

A quick Google of Repino and Volgograd weather tells Mediawatch that at kick-off time on Monday, it is predicted to be 23°C is Repino and 26°C in Volgograd. A difference of three degrees (when will I see you again?) – we think they’ll just about cope.


From the Manchester Evening News Manchester United live blog:

‘Justin Kluivert completes Roma move – Amazing how that friendly word at the end of the Europa League final between him and Mourinho, who knew him as a kid from his time at Barca, sparked hundreds of articles and rumours.’

Isn’t it just, guys? Isn’t it just.

Rumours like:

‘Justin Kluivert gives major update amid Manchester United transfer links’

‘Justin Kluivert talks up Manchester United move’

‘Justin Kluivert speaks out on Manchester United transfer rumours’

‘Manchester United target Justin Kluivert and more transfer rumours’

‘Justin Kluivert’s dad advises him over Manchester United transfer’

‘Manchester United target Justin Kluivert reveals Jose Mourinho conversation details’

‘Manchester United target Justin Kluivert subject of Jorge Mendes talks claims Ajax insider’

We’ll leave you to guess which outlet published those headlines.

You did. You sparked those incessant rumours by constantly talking up a transfer that you now say was never happening.


Putting the boot in
‘Trump vs Iran’ shouts another headline in Tuesday’s Sun newspaper. It’s that wonderful crossover of news and World Cup stories that papers delight in.

‘IRAN’S World Cup hopes have suffered a huge blow just days before the big kick-off – thanks to Donald Trump,’ the piece begins with no hint of hyperbole.

‘Carlos Queiroz’s side take on Morocco in Group B on Friday, but they have found themselves struggling to find something to put on their feet to play in.

‘The Iranian players are desperately trying to settle a situation with Nike after the sports giants, who previously supplied the squad’s boots, announced it would not be doing so for the tournament.’

This is a story, of course, but Mediawatch can’t quite get on board with ‘huge blow’ and ‘struggling to find something to put on their feet to play in’, even if Nike do not supply the boots to the Iran squad.

Can anyone spot the solution here? Yes, us too, and by the final two paragraphs so too have The Sun:

‘Iran’s stars have taken it upon themselves to find a solution.

‘Some have just gone straight to the shops to buy replacements.’

My Lord, I have a cunning plan.


Kane, not able
Writes The Sun’s chief football writer Dave Kidd on Harry Kane:

‘The England captain, who has famously never scored a Premier League goal in August, has also failed to find the net in seven attempts in tournament football.

‘Tottenham striker Kane drew a blank at Euro 2016 and in the European Under-21 Championships under Gareth Southgate the previous year.’

Mediawatch agrees that Kane was pretty rotten at Euro 2016, but you can’t include the European Under-21 Championship record to make it ‘seven games’ if you’re also going to ignore the fact that Kane scored at both the Under-20 World Cup and Under-19 European Championship. It’s senior or everything, surely?


Easy street
Mediawatch agrees with Martin Samuel that the mood within this England squad feels different under Gareth Southgate, but we can’t help that the England manager is being set up for a fall.

‘It is a well-worn line that managing England is an impossible job — another documentary with that title is scheduled for next weekend — but Southgate is bucking that cliche with simple reason,’ Samuel writes.

Erm, Southgate hasn’t actually managed England in a major tournament match. While we can like him and say he’s doing well so far, succeeding where everyone since Alf Ramsey has failed is a little much just yet.

As Samuel himself writes further on:

‘Of course, this means little if England fail to emerge from the group. There has to be finite, tangible progress in Russia; a genuine sense that things are better than before.’

At which point the job becomes impossible again?


Slight difference of opinion
‘Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho hoping to seal another signing before World Cup starts with Toby Alderweireld deal in works’ – Sun ‘exclusive’, June 11.

‘Manchester United scouts are not entirely convinced about Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld and are considering alternatives. It is understood that scouts have expressed concerns about Alderweireld’s ‘profile’ and he is not a ‘100% target’ this summer’ – Manchester Evening News, June 11.

Reckon they spoke to different sources.


Local news reporting, 2018
‘Manchester United want £22m Aleksandr Golovin and £35m Phillip Max, Liverpool to wait on Shaqiri and Arsenal close in on £22m Lucas Torreira’ – Plymouth Herald.

Were any of them born in Saltash or Milehouse?


Football headline of the day
‘Brazilian legend Cristiano Ronaldo to feature in World Cup opening ceremony’ – Zee News.

Nailed it.


Recommended reading of the day
Tomasz Wlodarczyk on Piotr Zielinski.

Nick Miller on Chris Waddle and Italia ‘90.

Tariq Panja on Gianni Infantino.


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