We’re a few months after the fact on this, but it’s late on a Friday and we’re big fans of any rational responses to the irrational decision to stage the 2022 World Cup in the ceramic kiln that is Qatar in the height of summer, so … here’s the inimitable Ian Holloway, Crystal Palace manager, reacting to Michel Platini’s suggestion that the 2022 tournament be rescheduled for the winter, right in the middle of most European seasons:
He never disappoints, Holloway. He and Crystal Palace are currently in fourth place in the English League Championship table, seven points behind leaders Cardiff City and comfortably in the promotion-playoff zone.
Diehard Watford fan and alleged BBC employee Chris Stark interviewed an obviously under-the-weather Mila Kunis the other day.
The enterprising young man started off talking about Kunis’s upcoming movie (something about Oz) but, not one to waste the opportunity at hand, he quickly shifted the topic onto more important matters, such as would she accompany him to a Watford match, with chicken at Nando’s beforehand and the obligatory halftime steak-and-ale pie?
From there, they moved with their cartoonishly oversized microphones on to ‘lad points,’ his mates at the pub, and Baywatch-themed wedding customs.
Also, he asked her out not one, not two, but three times.
Take it away, Chris:
We have a couple of questions (English readers, please feel free to weigh in with the answers in the comments):
1. Is it “neck” a pint, or “nick” a pint?
2. What’s the difference between “boshing” a pint and “nick/necking” one?
We’re a little late on two of these, but all three are worthy of multiple looks.
First up, Philippe Mexes, French center back for AC Milan, getting all Rivaldo-like* on Anderlecht in the Champions League last Wednesday:
Then there was Lukas Podolski’s stinging volley for Arsenal against Montpelier, also in the Champions League:
Sweet chip from Olivier Giroud to set him up, and what a finish.
Finally, a terrific team goal from Borussia Dortmund against Dusseldorf in the Bundesliga yesterday—a sweeping move from left to right, finished off by a one-touch exchange in the box and a clinical volley by Jakub “Kuba” Błaszczykowski**:
That one might’ve been the best of the bunch. Watch out for Dortmund in the Champions League, people.
*If you clicked the link and watched that Rivaldo goal, you may well have just witnessed the greatest goal in the history of the game. It was his third of the night, and it won the match 3-2. No, really.
**Kuba also scored what was, for our money, the best goal of Euro 2012. Here it is again, Poland vs Russia:
This is occasionally thuggish former Premier League midfielder Joey Barton speaking to the English press last season (after Shaun Wright–Phillips goes first):
Sounds like a lad reared in Merseyside, right?
Now here’s the same Joey Barton speaking to the French media after his debut with Ligue 1 side Marseille, where he’s on loan this season:
That’s some Andy Kaufman–level japery right there.
Here’s Barton’s explanation on Twitter:
“In my defence, it is very difficult to do a press conference in Scouse for a room full of French journalists. The alternative is to speak…
…like a ‘Allo Allo!’ character which is choose. Its simply a case of you had to be there. #youstupidwomen!”
And here’s a clip of ‘Allo ‘Allo!, a BBC sitcom from the 1980s.
H/T to Our Man at the Valley.
Soccer on ESPN’s SportsCenter is analogous to an American player in Europe: he has to be extra special to get his due.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s bicycle-kick goal against England yesterday—his fourth goal of the night—was extra special. Extra-special enough to win the No. 1 spot in ESPN’s Top 10 Plays yesterday. Chances are you’ve seen it already, but it’s definitely worth multiple looks. And if you haven’t, well, enjoy:
Afterward, Ibrahimovic said it wasn’t the best goal he’s ever scored.
Of course he did.
Then again, he may have a point. Check out this one:
You know what? Except for the fact that it came at the end of a 5-1 rout in the Dutch league, and not an international friendly against England, that one actually might’ve been even better. He beat eight players before tucking that away.
Tip of the hat to Our Man at the Valley, who unearthed the following clip of future England captain Scott Parker, aka “the only England international to appear at World Cup ’94,” as OMATV put it:
Parker wore the captain’s armband for the first time yesterday, in England’s exciting 3-2 loss to the Netherlands. OMATV remembers seeing him suit up, and star, for Charlton at the Valley not long after the above footage was shot.
This might be the coolest thing going this week, after Tim Howard’s 100-yard goal: To commemorate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Royal Mint is producing 29 new coins, among them the new 50p piece, above, that ingeniously explains the offside rule.
Neil Wolfson, the production journalist who designed the new coins, says his inspiration for the project came from everyday life. “I am a football fan,” he told the Daily Mail. “I’ve followed the Premier League since its inception, and if I had 50p for every time someone asked me what the offside rule was then I would be a very rich man.”
This is a genius idea, and we can think of a few soccer moms and dads who should have them in their pockets at all times, for easy consultation at their kids’ games.
Next time they’ll pick a goal to defend. That, or change their opening gambit. The only way this one could have ended worse is if someone had been killed:
That came from a Conference South game in England between Ebbsfleet United and Farnborough, which are not made-up names, as far as we know.
Rivaling yesterday’s comedy of misses from the Greek second division is this howler from a League One match in England between Hartlepool and Huddersfield.
Hartlepool’s Icelandic striker Armann Bjornsson succeeds in missing the target from, oh, about two feet after being set up perfectly by teammate Anthony Sweeney:
Former England and Manchester United defensive midfielder Nobby Stiles, who has, for our money, the greatest name ever, has fallen on hard times and is looking to auction off his 1966 World Cup winners medal, along with other memorabilia from his career.
The 68-year-old recently suffered a stroke, and is hoping to leave the proceeds from the sales—estimated at $470,000—to his family.
This is a sad turn of events, to be sure—Stiles wept as he made the announcement—but it doesn’t have to be that way: Wayne Rooney (or John Terry or Ashley Cole) could take these lemons and turn them into lemonade by stepping up and donating $500,000 to the English soccer icon.
That’s a drop in the bottomless bucket that is Rooney’s bank account, and it would be a boon to all involved: The priceless mementoes (also including the shirt Stiles swapped with Alan Ball after the ’66 final) would remain in Stiles’s family, where they belong, his heirs would be taken care of, and Rooney would gain some much needed positive press.
It’s a win-win.
Someone get us Rooney’s PR firm; they’re asleep at the switch.