Six things, to be precise put together in the dull last ten minutes when Russia beat Saudi Arabia in the opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2018.
But before that, shall we all agree that opening game was well worth the 4-year wait? Let’s hope the standard raises a little today.
Anyway, the list!
#1 Sack the ITV music department
It’s all very well Spain giving Julen Lopetegui the heave-ho for keeping the president in the dark about his plans to do one to Real Madrid, but what about the ITV music department clearly keeping the brains trust in the dark about their choice of music? They do realise it is the next World Cup that is being played near Christmas time, don’t they? Swan Lake doesn’t have to sound like Rudolph is about to make an appearance in a tutu, but the track ITV have chosen to front their World Cup campaign has a few too many sleigh bells for my liking.
#2 Robbie Williams and the Opening Ceremony
Firstly, I don’t have too much against an opening ceremony that lasts about 10 minutes. Danny fecking Boyle killed me in London 2012. But that was possibly the most half-arsed effort I have ever seen at a major sporting event. It smelt of “and, Dan – how are the opening ceremony plans coming on” being asked in the meeting last week and Dan sitting there thinking “shit, they meant me and not that Daniel on the second floor”. Dan quickly got on the phone to his old mate Robbie to see if his diary was clear. Of course it bloody well was, it’s not 1999. “Just sing the ones you can remember, Rob. It’ll be fine. And yes, you can wear a red snakeskin suit if you have to….”
#3 I’ve never been so happy to hear a national anthem
It became quite clear why the opening ceremony entertainment lasted only 10 minutes. That’s because Big Bad Vlad needed at least 5 minutes for himself to give a presidential address that made very little sense at all, even with it being translated. Then we got that Infantino muppet, a bit like in the wedding speeches when everyone, drunk, is getting the mic. The Saudi anthem gave us a clue that we might get some football, finally.
#4 VAR full kit w**kers
Why, oh why, do the VAR officials have to wear their full kit? It would take one hell of a freak accident for all four matchday officials to be struck down and for the call to go upstairs, telling them to get on the pitch pronto.
#5 Never wear number 9 in midfield
It was only fair that the footballing gods punished Alan Dzagoev appropriately for committing a heinous crime.
#6 Saudi Arabia won’t be winning the World Cup
Sorry to break to even the most loyal of Saudi fans but you are possibly the worst team I have seen play in the World Cup in the modern era. Russia are no great shakes and you made them look like Real Madrid.