Category: soccer Page 1 of 3

new post: What International Football’s Like, in which a masterfully charming simile is deployed (by a professional English sportswriter, and then block-quoted by me) ⚽️

What International Football’s Like

Heard this in the latest episode of The Guardian‘s Today in Focus podcast (which is consistently excellent, by the way) and loved it so much I transcribed it. Is it 2026 yet?

Hannah Moore (presenter):

Would you have expected [England] to have done better than that [in Group C]? Should they have been more exciting in the group stage?

Barney Ronay (The Guardian‘s chief sports writer):

Well, maybe? But international football’s often like that. I think we’re slightly spoiled by the club game where you see these intensely regulated teams, the amount of briefing and data that these players absorb, they understand every situation they find themselves in.

And international football’s not like that, it’s about feelings. It’s about the emotion of the occasion. It probably doesn’t translate well to television. I have to say, in the stadium, the games here have felt really exciting. They’ve been huge events.

Because international football is basically like Christmas, it’s this kind of disorderly meal, and probably isn’t cooked that well. But it has a great kind of pageantry around it. And you could probably pick it apart, and say: “this turkey’s really dry,” and, “why aren’t the potatoes crispier?” But, you know, someone’s singing a song, and Grandma’s got a hat on, and the dog’s just pushed over the tree. That’s what international football is, so it’s this emotional thing.

That’s from about 11 minutes and 30 seconds in to the episode Euro 2024: is it coming home?. A little rambling (see above), but in a good way.

even The Guardian noticed this dumb move: MLS’s arrogant withdrawal from US Open Cup is about controlling Messi Mania ⚽️

This manoeuvring is comparable to a government that favors privatisation gradually defunding public services before declaring they are not working and that only private companies can save them. MLS has privatised and monopolised the people’s game of soccer, or is trying to.

World Cup semifinal 2 ⚽️
– France 🇫🇷 2, Morocco 🇲🇦 0: what a game! the Moroccans are more than just tough to beat, they’re a legit great team. people scoff at the 3rd-place game but that Croatia-Morocco match should be good (as should the Argentina v France final!)

World Cup semifinal 1 ⚽️
– Argentina 🇦🇷 3, Croatia 🇭🇷 0: Modrić & Co. have kept a tight defense all tournament, getting to this point after penalty shootout wins over Japan & Brazil. but today belonged to Messi (& Alvarez). will Sunday be their day, too?

in case anyone else is going through ⚽️ withdrawal today – you can get a fix via UEFA Women’s Champions League games, streamed free on YouTube. Lyon, Arsenal, Bayern, & Barcelona, and that’s just today’s games (there’s another good slate tomorrow)

World Cup day 17, round of 16 ⚽️
– Morocco 🇲🇦 0, Spain 🇪🇸 0 (3-0 PKs): the upsets are not behind us! a stunning result sees Spain completely shut out, even in penalties (!)
– Portugal 🇵🇹 5, Switzerland 🇨🇭 1: no Ronaldo, no problem, & no energy wasted on extra time

World Cup day 16, round of 16 ⚽️
– Japan 🇯🇵 1, Croatia 🇭🇷 1 (1-3 PKs): ET & PKs don’t always mean evenly matched teams, but these were. Croatian GK with amazing 3 saves
– Brazil 🇧🇷 4, South Korea 🇰🇷 1: a couple of real beauties for Brazil end a tough day for AFC teams

for all the true terribleness of how & where this World Cup is being hosted, I cannot resist this kind of melting-pot goofiness 😍 ⚽️

a fan at the Japan vs. Croatia World Cup game holds a Japanese flag with the Spanish words 'Vamos' and 'Bravo'

World Cup day 15, round of 16 ⚽️
– France 🇫🇷 3, Poland 🇵🇱 1: Polish looked good at times, & got a very late consolation goal, but were no match for Les Bleus
– England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 3, Senegal 🇸🇳 0: the English win without breaking a sweat; are the upsets behind us now?

World Cup day 14, round of 16 ⚽️
– Netherlands 🇳🇱 3, USA 🇺🇸 1: sometimes there are surprising upsets; sometimes not. looking forward to seeing this US team in 3.5 years
– Argentina 🇦🇷 2, Australia 🇦🇺 1: two more English-speaking nations out as Argentina score three (1 o.g.)

World Cup day 13, Group G finale ⚽️
– Serbia 🇷🇸 2, Switzerland 🇨🇭 3: Shaqiri & his Swiss get the upper hand on the Serbians, and make it out of the group
– Cameroon 🇨🇲 1, Brazil 🇧🇷 0: Cameroon with a symbolic win & 2nd-yellow goal celebration, but Brazil advance

The Guardian: Referee Stéphanie Frappart disrupts narrative to make World Cup history ⚽️

In taking charge for Germany’s showdown with Costa Rica in final round of Group E games, Frappart became the first woman to officiate in a men’s World Cup and it felt decidedly normal

World Cup day 13, Group H finale ⚽️
– South Korea 🇰🇷 2, Portugal 🇵🇹 1: South Koreans upset Ronaldo’s already-advancing side & they’re through!
– Ghana 🇬🇭 0, Uruguay 🇺🇾 2: a nail-biter, after South Korea took the lead. Uruguay’s lack of goals before today sent them home

World Cup day 12, Group E finale ⚽️
– Japan 🇯🇵 2, Spain 🇪🇸 1: I wonder if La Roja took it easy, so they’d face Morocco next (instead of Croatia)
– Costa Rica 🇨🇷 2, Germany 🇩🇪 4: they eventually did all they could, but the Germans get seats on the WTF Happened Express home

World Cup day 12, Group F finale ⚽️
– Croatia 🇭🇷 0, Belgium 🇧🇪 0: a must-win for Belgium for much of the game… but they didn’t. shock exit
– Canada 🇨🇦 1, Morocco 🇲🇦 2: the Canadians tried to play spoiler but end with zero points; the Atlas Lions finish atop (!) Group F

World Cup day 11, Group C finale ⚽️
– Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦 1, Mexico 🇲🇽 2: poor Mexico, so close, losing the 6th tiebreaker with Poland… until KSA got one late
– Poland 🇵🇱 0, Argentina 🇦🇷 2: Szczęsny’s save of Messi’s PK was a highlight, but kind of meh for a marquee matchup

World Cup day 11, Group D finale ⚽️
– Australia 🇦🇺 1, Denmark 🇩🇰 0: Aussies send poor Eriksen & his Danes home
– Tunisia 🇹🇳 1, France 🇫🇷 0: not that France was trying too hard, but I loved the scenes of Tunisia fans celebrating the win even though they’re eliminated

World Cup day 10, Group B finale ⚽️
– Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 0, England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 3: sad to see the Welsh end so flat, as England comfortably win Group B
– Iran 🇮🇷 0, USA 🇺🇸 1: Pulisic scores & then gets subbed out hurt as the US squeak through to face the Dutch on Sat.

World Cup day 10, Group A finale ⚽️
– Netherlands 🇳🇱 2, Qatar 🇶🇦 0: hosts flame out with a grand total of 1 goal and 0 points; Dutch finish top of Group A
– Ecuador 🇪🇨 1, Senegal 🇸🇳 2: Ecuador just needed a draw, & had it for a minute… but the Lions of Teranga advance

World Cup day 7, 2/2 ⚽️
– France 🇫🇷 2, Denmark 🇩🇰 1: Eriksen’s Danes give the French a scare but Mbappe takes care of le business
– Argentina 🇦🇷 2, Mexico 🇲🇽 0: Messi helps his team to an essential win over El Tri (& caps a day with no 0-0 draws! hey, no draws at all!)

World Cup day 7, 1/2 ⚽️
– Tunisia 🇹🇳 0, Australia 🇦🇺 1: Socceroos get one early & withstand the onslaught to keep their WC hopes alive
– Poland 🇵🇱 2, Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦 0: Lewandowski & Szczęsny keep the lid on the underdogs from a country that should never host

World Cup day 6, 2/2 ⚽️
– Netherlands 🇳🇱 1, Ecuador 🇪🇨 1: another unimpressive Dutch game; Ecuador looking scary. best part: this result knocked out Qatar
– England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 0, USA 🇺🇸 0: Yanks held their own against a tough team, if not looking their best today, either

World Cup day 6, 1/2 ⚽️
– Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 0, Iran 🇮🇷 2: Welsh overmatched even before their keeper got a straight red; Iranians score 2 after 98’
– Qatar 🇶🇦 1, Senegal 🇸🇳 3: Qatar get their first-ever (last ever?) WC goal but the home “fans” still all left early again

World Cup day 5, 2/2 ⚽️
– Portugal 🇵🇹 3, Ghana 🇬🇭 2: it was looking like another scoreless draw until Ronaldo’s PK opened the floodgates
– Brazil 🇧🇷 2, Serbia 🇷🇸 0: Serbians held firm until Richarlison gets a Thanksgiving brace, the second as sweet as pecan pie

World Cup day 5, 1/2 ⚽️
– Switzerland 🇨🇭 1, Cameroon 🇨🇲 0: subdued game, Africans always taking a touch too many, then Shaqiri’s team break the deadlock early in the 2nd half
– Uruguay 🇺🇾 0, South Korea 🇰🇷 0: the South Americans looked threatening… but weren’t, in the end

World Cup day 4, cont. ⚽️
– Spain 🇪🇸 7, Costa Rica 🇨🇷 0: as with France, this is how sharks should dispatch minnows
– Belgium 🇧🇪 1, Canada 🇨🇦 0: result doesn’t match which team played exciting, attacking ball & which looked flat (plus Canada should’ve had another PK)

World Cup day 4 ⚽️
– Morocco 🇲🇦 0, Croatia 🇭🇷 0: watching Morocco deadlock with Modrić‘s team not as worth getting up early for as the ARG upset
– Germany 🇩🇪 1, Japan 🇯🇵 2: speaking of upsets! Germans fail to score from open play, & the Japanese punish them for it

World Cup day 3, cont. ⚽️
– Mexico 🇲🇽 0, Poland 🇵🇱 0: another goalless draw, with a soft PK saved by Ochoa (ball don’t lie)
– France 🇫🇷 4, Australia 🇦🇺 1: this is how a dominant team dominates

World Cup day 3 ⚽️
– Argentina 🇦🇷 1, Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦 2 (!): 500 offside calls saved the Saudis, then a couple stolen goals made them giant-slayers
– Denmark 🇩🇰 0, Tunisia 🇹🇳 0: a red & white grudge match

World Cup day 2 ⚽️
– England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 6, Iran 🇮🇷 2: underdog Iranians steal 2 but English dominate
– Senegal 🇸🇳 0, Netherlands 🇳🇱 2: Senegalese hold Dutch at bay until late
– USA 🇺🇸 1, Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 1: Yanks get a narrow lead but not enough to get past Bale

World Cup day 1 ⚽️
– Qatar 🇶🇦 0, Ecuador 🇪🇨 2: the hosts wilted under the pressure of the opener, and reportedly many of their “fans” gave up & left at halftime. I hope they wash out, goalless

Page 1 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén