Alright, Sweden and Germany fans!
Excited for tonight’s game? Got your kit ironed, your snacks assembled and your clapper sticks inflated? Good on you! Now spare a thought for the rest of us.
For we neutrals, this Olympic final is a tricky one. Knocking the hosts out at the semi-final stage is a cardinal sin of football, especially when the fans are still in recovery after the 2014 ‘unpleasantness’, but Sweden edge their way past this inconvenient truth and into my heart for two reasons.
Germany’s women have been wildly successful in recent history, picking up two World Cups and eight (EIGHT!?) European Championship trophies in the last thirty years, while Sweden’s silverware cupboard has remained undisturbed since 1984. Worse still, the Swedes had to suffer the ignominy of watching neighbours Norway take the gold in 2000.
Secondly (and more importantly for my karmic based value system), I want Sweden to win because Pia Sundhage is quite clearly awesome. Her response to Hope Solo throwing shade on Sweden was the mic drop moment of the tournament and we’ve seen the former US coach has used her not inconsiderable wit to slap down those who question the ability of women in football before.
Germany still have the best kits though. I’m not a complete idiot.
Joleon Lescott’s mission to alienate himself from football fans across the UK continued apace this morning as it was announced he’d turned down a move to Rangers.
Lescott, who ‘accidentally’ tweeted a picture of a sports car after a 6-0 thrashing by Liverpool last season, was in Glasgow for a medical this morning, but reportedly backed out of the move afterwards citing ‘family reasons’. It’s a decision unlikely to impress Rangers fans, who will have to comfort themselves with former Arsenal starlet Philippe Senderos.
Senderos has been training with Mark Warburton’s side since last week with a view to making a permanent move. And reuniting with Joey Barton.
That should be fun…
And while we’re all obsessing over seeing what Paul Pogba looks like in the 2016 iteration of Manchester United’s home kit (largely the same as he did in the 2012 iteration, but who am I to spoil it?) let’s spare a thought for the latest wunderkind to be fed into the football machine.
Martin Odegaard’s arrival at Real Madrid was greeted with the hysteria one would expect for a benevolent alien invasion, but since that time he’s struggled to make a meaningful impact in either the Castilla or the first team. Zinedine Zidane, who has managed Odegaard at both levels, reportedly told the Norwegian after the Super Cup victory vs. Sevilla “that playing in Madrid this season will be complicated.”
In traditional English football parlance, that means “I’m more likely to pick your Mum in the midfield, on yer bike, son,” and so young Martin climbed on his bike and began cycling towards Rennes, where Christian Gourcuff is waiting for him.
He’s much more experienced in dealing with the beautiful, sensitive ones. Look at how his son Yoann has thrived under his tutelage.
Oh. Perhaps not.