Welcome to Monday. It was the hottest day of the year in Ireland yesterday, so I spent most of it in the back garden cooking food and drinking drinks. There may be an element of *boilk* this morning.
There was football too. England beat Croatia 1-0 and, without wanting to toot my own horn, it was entirely down to me. Well, I suppose Raheem Sterling deserves some credit for the finish and Kalvin Phillips did well to set him up, but I was literally just about to press send on a text to someone which said ‘England are quite dull, eh?’ and then the goal happened.
I think it’s clear now that England’s fortunes in this tournament are entirely down to me and my potential texts. It doesn’t matter what Gareth Southgate does, it’s all about whether or not I’m about to mildly criticise them via WhatsApp.
‘I’m not sure I’d have played Kieran Trippier at left-back’ = a scorching Trippier run and cross for someone (not Harry Kane) to score.
‘Declan Rice is falling down the list of my favourite rices behind Basmati, Jasmine, Long Grain, Carolina Gold, Arborio, and Pat’ = a raking pass from deep to send Bukayo Saka through on goal where, of course, he will tuck it away perfectly because he’s a great lad.
‘Jordan Pickford surely can’t be the best English goalkeeper in England. He looks like a farmer’s son who once drove the tractor through the side of a barn, destroying an entire harvest’ = a majestic injury time penalty save to prevent elimination.
‘Harry Kane is a massive lump with all the mobility of a cinder block and half the IQ’.
Sorry, that was just my opinion of his performance yesterday as he lumbered gormlessly about the centre-circle. Anyway, a winning start for England and I’m looking forward to the game against Scotland on Friday, that should be fun.
My sincere apologies to all the people of Austria and North Macedonia, I didn’t see any of that game. I see Marko Arnautovic, the pound shop Ibrahimovic, scored a goal though, so I’m not sure I have any regrets about this one.
As the evening went on, I gave thanks to the recent purchase of what is a very effective WiFi extender, as I was able to stream the Netherlands v Ukraine on my iPad in the garden. That was a fun game, particularly the second half which had five goals. I have to say, I had some Fabianski/Almunia/late-career-Petr Cech vibes off the Ukrainian goalkeeper though. Ooooof.
He did not cover himself in glory at all. It was also noticeable how, when after the third goal went in, TV footage gave us slow-motion, HD, replays of some of his teammates anguished reactions. Is that going to be a thing throughout the tournament? Lots of:
I’m here for that, let me tell you. As someone with no skin in the game, Johnny Neutral if you like, this could be good. I think we’ve also been linked previously with the wonderfully named Denzel Dumfries, who scored the late winner. Right back is on the shopping list this summer, so I’m sure this will resurface after his goal and performance yesterday.
Today, the blessed Kieran Tierney should in action for Scotland as they take on Czech Republic. As he is one of my favourite players, and there are similarities between Scottish and Irish people (in terms of hairiness and underlying musk), I’m a bit invested in them for this tournament. I’m sure I will be disappointed, but hopefully it goes well today.
Later, Poland take on Slovakia (the Austria v North Macedonia of today), before the evening plays out with Spain v Sweden. We’ve been linked with Real Sociedad forward Alexander Isak in the last few weeks, so there’s one to keep an eye on, while there’s an Arsenal link to Sweden’s Sebastian Larsson (now 36), who began his career with us. Whether he features or not remains to be seen. Should be a decent game though!
Right, nothing happening from an Arsenal perspective to drive ourselves mad with, so let’s leave it there. James and I will be recording an Arsecast Extra for you a bit later this morning. Keep an eye out for the call for questions on Twitter @gunnerblog and @arseblog on Twitter with the hashtag #arsecastextra – or if you’re on Arseblog Member on Patreon, leave your question in the #arsecast-extra-questions channel on our Discord server.
Podcast should be out around lunchtime, so until then, take it easy.