Thursday, December 1, 2022

World Cup round-up: What’s in a name?

Hello folks, happy Friday.

Yesterday was my least watching day of the World Cup so far. I did not see Granit Xhaka’s Switzerland beat Cameroon 1-0, and I did not see the 0-0 between South Korea and Uruguay. From what I understand, I didn’t miss a lot in the second instance, and I didn’t see anyone say much at all about the Swiss win.

I did see the next two games, and when it was 0-0 at half-time I thought Portugal v Ghana was going to be another dull one. Then, Cristiano Ronaldo did the most Cristiano Ronaldo thing: he dived to win a penalty then celebrated the goal too vigorously. I think when a new organisation comes in to replace FIFA and I, somehow, am made head of it, I will make it mandatory that the first goal of any game which takes place in the first half, or the first 15 minutes of the second half, may only be celebrated by a firm handshake and a round of ‘Jolly well done old boy’ (or the local equivalent in the language of the team).

Ghana equalised quickly, but Portugal responded to score twice and go 3-1 up. It looked over, but then it was 3-2 with a couple of minutes of normal time left, and of course there’s the 73 minutes of added time at the end of each game to take into account. And boy oh boy, did we nearly have a World Cup moment to remember. The Portugal goalkeeper, Diogo Costa, was almost caught out when he failed to remember/realise that Inaki Williams was behind him. Shades of Shay Given and Dion Dublin from all those years ago. Sadly, the Athletic Bilbao man slipped at the vital moment and Portugal got away with it.

It’s such a shame because it would have been absolutely hilarious. I wish it had happened so I could have sat on the sofa rewinding and replaying Ronaldo’s face as the director inevitably cut to him on the bench. Horror? Disbelief? Fury? All of those things at once? And with a redness that would be hard to explain. A sort of internal nuclear explosion that would have made his neck glow like a Dyno-Rod van. Is Inaki Williams now a villain for denying us that? Perhaps, but maybe we should first take aim at his stud manufacturer – and if it happens again, then we go in on him.

The other thing to take into account is that the Portugal goalkeeper is called Diogo Costa, a very familiar sounding name and one which doesn’t really create any sympathetic feelings from me. In the same way if I met a Bill Collins, a Larry Kane, a Gianni Infantito, a Piers Dorgan, a Darth Crooks, or a Danny Gills, I would immediately think ‘Ugh, too close’.

Some will say, ‘Hey, he can’t do anything about his name’, but of course that’s nonsense. He could easily change it by deed poll to anything at all he liked. Think of the possibilities, they are endless. Clint Truffle. Paolo Galapogos. Malcolm Eggs. Bob Trumpet. Michael Tampa-Bay. Joao Frolic. Bernardo Thunder. Dave Tablet. I’m just looking at things on my desk now. But you know where I’m coming from. I’m sorry, but as long as Portugal have both Ronaldo and a man in goal who sounds like that evil former Chelsea striker, I cannot do anything but wish them an early exit from the tournament.

Later on, Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli both got on for Brazil as they beat Serbia 2-0. No idea who scored.

As an aside, and apropos of nothing, as much as we all love the game, does anyone else feel personally affronted when a player you can’t stand scores a really good goal? That thought just occurred to me this morning for no good reason, and I was interested in your feedback.

Anyway, later today we’ve got some decent games, but the most interesting looks England v USA this evening. The Bukayo Saka v Matt Turner derby as it’s known around the world. I will miss the first half of this one because I’m playing 5-a-side, but I’m looking forward to tuning into the second half in the car on the way home. Football on the radio, medium waves, the sounds of the commentary and the game drifting in and out, getting quieter and louder. I’m hoping for some good cloud cover because that makes the reception from the BBC transmitter in Wales much better.

Just a quick note for those who normally receive the daily blog via email. We have been having some issues of late, but please rest assured we’re working on it and normal service should resume soon. In the meantime, you can always do the old fashioned thing and visit the website, or download the Arseblog app for iOS or Android.

Right, that’s your lot for now, podcast to follow a bit later this morning. Until then, have a good one.

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