LASESARRE, SPAIN - AUGUST 5: Puma Orbita, the official match ball of LaLiga in detail prior the pre-season friendly match between Athletic Club and Real Sociedad on August 5, 2022 at Lasesarre Stadium in Barakaldo, Spain. Noxthirdxpartyxsales PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxJPN 195228971

It has been two whole weeks since my column. Can you believe it?!

Wait, what do you mean you never noticed?

Let’s crack on.

All those who are unfortunate enough to dislike football are currently receiving a daily dose of Harry Redknapp, as he is on the telly living in the jungle. And I have discovered we both share a strong fondness for a jam roly poly. Harry can now consider himself forgiven for his Portsmouth team defeating Cardiff City in the 2008 FA Cup final. Not that I held a grudge or anything.

The international break was in full swing this week. We’ll begin with Wales because I’m still seething over the friendly defeat in Albania. I could tell you that we had more shots on target, more possession, more chances, denied a blatant penalty and that Albania’s Taulant Xhaka (Short tempered them Xhaka lot) should have been sent off for headbutting Dai (David) Brooks.

However, the fact of the matter is we lost 1-0 to an inferior nation who had lost 4-0 just a few days earlier to bloody Scotland.

After the way we dismantled the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff, the Red Wall was convinced Ryan Giggs was going to win us the World Cup in 2022. Little did we know at the time, we would only look good against the Irish.

When the Nations League was introduced, it was met with a mixed response from football supporters around the world.

The naysayers argued, “They’re just glorified friendlies”. Fast forward the clocks and some people in England are beginning to come around to the idea, which oddly coincides with England’s impressive League A success. Harry Kane’s late winner against Croatia ensured a guaranteed Nations League finals spot.

Suppose football was always coming home, it was just delayed.

Take it away, Jordan Pickford.

Scotland’s national team have been trapped in adolescence since 1990. where they still have the stabilisers on their bikes that their maw bought them for Christmas. Their parent’s efforts to teach them how to ride their bikes have all been in vain. Now 28 years later, the stabilisers have come off, they’re cycling without any help and they are just a playoff win away from qualifying for the next Euro’s.

In a topsy-turvy game at Hampden Park, the man of the moment James Forrest scored a hattrick to defeat Israel 3-2. Manager Alex McLeish had to contend with 9 drop-outs before the doubleheader against Albania and Israel, and the Scots won them both. This year, Scotland had a higher win percentage (33.8%) than Germany’s (30.8%). Miracles do happen.

Martin O’Neill’s final game in charge of the Republic of Ireland ended with a goalless stalemate against Northern Ireland. At least he’ll be able to take some fantastic memories with him, such as Shane Long’s winner against the then world champions Germany, the late win against Italy at Euro 2016, and the joyous banter with Roy Keane.

If you’ve missed it, we’re all ecstatic to learn of the news that Glenn Hoddle is out of the hospital after responding well to treatment. And he is now recuperating at home.

Anyway, if there is anything you take from this piece, let it be this life-changing fact.

The Welsh and Albanians share the same word for the colour ‘red’.

Coch = Welsh

Kuq = Albanian.

Both from Latin, ‘coccus’ = scarlet.

Have a great weekend everyone.