We’re not saying that The Sun are getting carried away and raising expectations above a reasonable level but…no, we are saying exactly that and it’s making us feel a tad uncomfortable. Because the only way from here really is down.
England beat Panama 6-1 on Sunday but Panama are ranked 55th in the world (just below Burkino Faso and Jamaica, and quite some way below Scotland). The only team they have beaten in 2018 are Trinidad & Tobago; indeed, Switzerland beat them 6-0 in March.
They were quite frankly terrible on Sunday – or ‘pathetic’ if we quote The Sun’s own football man – and yet somehow still managed to threaten England’s goal on several occasions.
So now of course The Sun ‘believe in miracles’ and tell us that ‘HARRY HITS HAT TRICK…LIKE ’66’. No, Harry did not hit a hat-trick like ’66, he hit a hat-trick like Miroslav Klose in 2002 against Saudi Arabia or Laszlo Kiss in 1982 against El Salvador. At a stretch, he hit a hat-trick like Gary Lineker against Poland in 1986, though a hat-trick in a 3-0 win is a tad more impressive than a hat-trick in a 6-1 shellacking.
What Kane emphatically did not do is hit a hat-trick in a World Cup final to lift the trophy. His hat-trick did not ‘conjure memories of Geoff Hurst’s trio in our 1966 victory’ in anybody a) under the age of 60 or b) of reasonably sound mind.
If you were in any doubt about the smallness of The Sun’s world, then witness their piece about England celebrations:
‘The scenes of jubilation stretched even as far as Spain, where hordes of Brit holidaymakers greeted the triumph around a Benidorm pool.’
Even as far as the most British place on earth?
Pass me not
Neil Ashton, The Sun, March 2018: ‘The World Cup, yet another World Cup, is about to pass England by’
Neil Ashton, The Sun, June 2018 after a 6-1 win over ‘pathetic’ Panama: ‘THEY told the world they were here to win it. Maybe now we will have to really believe them.’
A mix of emotions
Terry Venables in the Daily Mail after the 6-1 victory over Panama: ‘It knocked me out, enthralled me, excited me and made me think of the brightest of futures.’
Forget patting your head and rubbing your tummy, that is one hell of a trick to pull off.
Stones in the road
Martin Samuel is getting giddy in the Daily Mail:
‘It was landmark stuff. John Stones became the first Manchester City player to score at a World Cup finals since Trevor France in 1982.’
Or since Sergio Aguero last week.
It’s coming home
According to the Daily Mirror, that 6-1 win over Panama was so impressive that ‘bookies quickly slashed the odds on England winning the tournament to 9/1’.
Slashed. From 10/1 to 9/1.
Pesky fact: There are still five teams with shorter odds.
Obviously, by 11am on Monday morning, the Mirror were done with England’s history-making 6-1 triumph over Panama.
The top story on their football website the morning after the day before?
‘What Cristiano Ronaldo did from his hotel window when Iran fans armed with Vuvuzelas tried to stop him from sleeping.’
Football might be coming home, but the clicks still come from utter nonsense about Ronaldo.
Oh Jason. Silly Jason Cundy. When you are in a studio with Piers Morgan and you look like the unreasonable bigot, you know you have a problem.
For it was former Chelsea, Spurs and Ipswich defender Cundy who appeared on Good Morning Britain on Monday morning to say of Vicki Sparks’ BBC commentary on Portugal’s win over Morocco last week:
“I found it a tough listen if I’m honest.
“Personal preference I would like to hear a male voice, for 90 minutes of football hearing a high-pitched tone is not really what I would like to hear.
“When there is a moment of drama as there often is in football, that moment needs to be done with a slightly lower voice, it’s a personal preference.”
Morgan then called him a “sexist pig”, to which Cundy of course had a water-tight argument:
“It’s nothing to do with their insight, the way she delivers it, or her knowledge or her ability to do the job.”
Oh that’s okay then. So you’re definitely not sexist.
“It’s the voice. For ninety minutes I would prefer to hear a male voice. I find it difficult to hear that voice.”
Ah, so that would be the definition of sexist. Case closed. You daft sod.
Women: Be seen and not heard
You can imagine that Jason Cundy might find one ally in the Daily Mail‘s Charles Sale, who writes on Monday:
‘The WAGs are proving a lot less high maintenance for the FA in Russia than the 2006 contingent were in Germany.
‘The wives and girlfriends, plus other relatives, flew in and out of Nizhny Novgorod for the 6-1 thumping of Panama on Sunday by private charter jet as their 2006 predecessors would have travelled. But the difference is the current WAGs were sharing their flights with England fan groups who are based in St Petersburg.
‘Celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Cheryl Cole and Nancy Dell’Olio certainly would not have wanted to do that 12 years ago.’
A few questions for you…
1) Why the hell is anybody still using the term ‘WAGs’?
2) Why are women – and never, ever men – always described as ‘high maintenance’?
3) Really, who gives a f***?