England’s training ground secrets revealed (and approximated)

Ahead of ANOTHER MOST IMPORTANT GAME OF THE TOURNAMENT SO FAR™ between England and Sweden, our resident snoop Staan Coollymoore (in know way affiliated with anyone who happens to have a strikingly similar name and appearance) has been observing the England team’s preparations at their training camp, having both covered himself in turf and pretended to be their pitch and hidden inside Gary Neville’s moustache. Here are his (more than likely exaggerated, if not entirely falsified) findings:


James Milner has been rubbing butter on his knees to make them “extra supple”. This has attracted an army of tree ants who have been gnawing at the midfielder’s legs unrelentingly for the last two evenings, proving extremely counter effective. Expect him to be on the bench.

Steven Gerrard has been locked in exchange of nods between himself and his own reflection in the mirror for 10pm yesterday, where he wished himself goodnight. Unwilling to break scouse law and not return a nod, the coaching staff have been so far unsuccessful in their attempts to tear him away, making it touch-and-go whether or not they can do so before this evening’s fixture.

Jack Butland, who spent the entire plane journey yelling “WHY AM I HERE?!” to nobody in particular, has fallen into a deep existential crisis. After reading all of the works of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, Butland has began work on his first novel about a young goalkeeper who massacres his entire team and then shrugs because it doesn’t matter.

Manager Roy Hodgson has taken to standing on the sidelines, popping a Werther’s Original in his mouth then glazing over and going ‘ahhhhhh’ for upwards of five minutes, before he repeats the process with another. England’s medical staff are worried that he has “given himself every type of diabetes” with this behaviour.

Michael Owen has sporadically turned up disguised as an unconvincing Danny Welbeck in an attempt to break back into the England squad, momentarily confusing former captain John Terry who was unsure whether to racially abuse pass to him or not.

Jordan Henderson has been unable to go outdoors due to the intense amount of Ukrainian paparazzi who have been following him, believing him to be someone else more noteworthy. Sid from Toy Story perhaps.

Theo Walcott has been running around the perimeter of the training camp yelling “Look how fast I am! Look!” for no obvious reason or use. Expect more of the same if he starts later.

Schoolboy Match Reports: England 1 – 1 France Euro 2012

Shilts hands over to the self proclaimed voice of the self proclaimed voices of the internet, football forum expert and 6 year old; Little Johnny for a recap of all the action from Monday’s Group D game between England and France. THE MOST IMPORTANT OF THE TOURNAMENT SO FAR™

England 1 (Lescott, 30) – 1 France (Nasri, 38)

“It is Engerland kicking off their first game of the tournament, but where is Andrew Carol???? He is so good because he was bad all year but then he played in the FA Cup Finals and people say ‘no, he is good now he is offering England something else up front’ like coupons or something. Instead they are playing Daniel Wellbecks and my friend from school Al Oxslide Chainberlin. Mr Evans was very angry as he was ringing up sick and saying he couldn’t come in today but then there he is in the telly! Mr Evans says he will beat him when he gets back.

We are starting the game and Frank Riberstein is scaring Glen Johns every time he walks up to him and looks in Glen’s eyes. Glen kept screaming and saying ‘What is it?? What is it?!” and while he wasn’t looking Sammy Nasir had a shot but it was not a goal shot it was a goal kick shot and everyone is breathing a sigh of relief except the French fans who all hissed at once and covered the pitch in greb, but the commentary man says it is all about Engerland so we do not care about the French fans as they do not exist.

Al then got the ball and used the trick stick to go round two players but then he is thinking ‘if I score this, it will be the greatest goal of ever and it will be in a compilation DVD presented by Gareth Linachre’ and his greediness means he loses the ball. In school he never lets me have any of his crisps as he says his mum says he will get germs if he shares, so we spit in his packet when he isn’t looking and hope he gets chicken pox.

Then the commentary man says something amazing has happened: ENGERLAND HAVE SCORED! My dad jumped up and punched our lamp in happiness and it shattered everywhere and a bit of the glass hit me and made me bleed and mum said ‘what is wrong with you?’ and he said ‘fuck off I am enjoying the football’ and then they didn’t speak to each other all day. Stephence Gerhard is there with the free kick, he wooshes it in and Les Cott is there to power in the ball with his magic head that has a mystic triangle in it which makes him think faster than everyone but also a bit weird looking like a vegetable.

Everyone then says that it will be our year and that Roy Hodgsman is the best Hodgsman for the job as we are going to win Euro 2012! But then Sammy Nasir goes up the other end and is scoring and then putting his finger to his lips hoping that everyone will be quiet and enjoy his goal, but the crowd just keep making noise and he keeps shhhing them but they will not be quiet and in the end he gives up and walks home to the French half.

Then, even though I know Engerland are the most exciting team in the world to watch all the time, the game becomes really boring, even when Jordan Hendersman comes on who is the best football player that all of the fans want to see. Then it ends and nobody noticed and they all went ‘oh, it’s ended.’ and then walked off. I CAN’T WAIT FOR MORE OF THE FOOTBALL EURO 2012!

Euro 2012 Live(ish) Text: Spain vs Italy

Here we go again; ‘The next best thing for all those unfortunate not to be able to make it to the ground; experiencing it through someone else’s living room n text form.’

Spain 1 – 1 Italy

Full Time: Much like the Portugal Germany game, a turgid second half followed by a genuinely exciting second half. Based on these two games, Shilts advises you to ignore the first 45 mins of every game for the remainder of the tournament. Faultless logic.

93 mins: Full time.

91 mins: Xavi Alonso tries a trademark long range belter, but the belt breaks and then the rubber flaps about unconvincingly for a goal kick.

90 mins: FUCK OFF NANDO. Torres gets into the box on the left, and can’t quite cut it back to a fellow Spanish shirt. “He really is a shit, shit, shit player” – Jon Champion, 2012.

89 mins: More freekick hyperbole ending in anti climatic nothingness for Spain. The amount of free kicks that you see scored are in no way proportionate to the amount commentators expect them to be scored.

87 mins: Chance for Spain, as Navas puts a low cross into Buffon’s arms, which Torres rubbishly decides not to prevent by sprinting at earth shattering speed and backheeling into the net. WHY DOESN’T HE JUST GO HOME?

84 mins: IN THE PAST… Torres gets in great space, cuts inside a defender attempts an audacious lob from outside the box over an onrushing Buffon, which goes narrowly over. Jon Champion and Craig Burley wax further lyrical about how this makes him appalling, worse than Craig Burley even. A man with a grand total of 40 career goals.


82 mins: IN THE PAST HE WOULD’VE GONE ROUND EVERYONE AND SCORED THAT. TWICE. Instead, Torres goes past Giovinco and doesn’t immediately score. He’s so dreadful now. Apparently.

81 mins: Both teams pulling off some tiki taka passes, affording me the opportunity to use the phrase again.

78 mins: Obligatory hype before a freekick about Xavi’s masterful prowess at the skill. He promptly plants it into the wall.

76 mins: Di Natale, unmarked, gets on the end of a fiercely driven cross, floundering at the volley and slide tackling it well wide into the hoardings. HE’S LOST IT.

75 mins: IN THE PAST FERNANDO TORRES (on for Fabregas) WOULD HAVE SCORED THAT, BACK WHEN HE SCORED EVERY TIME HE HAD THE BALL FOR LIVERPOOL, REMEMBER? REMEMBER. Torres, gets through on goal and goes to round Buffon, who stays on his feet and deals with it like a defender, punting it out for a throw. Quality.

72 mins: An unmarked Alba weakly volleys across goal, caressing the turf like a sensual massage.

69 mins: The corner comes in and Ramos tries booting several Italians in the face at once with an unconvincing overhead kick attempt which meets neither ball nor bonce.

68 mins: Navas puts in a tricky cross, which Buffon has to tip over. He then does that thing where goalkeepers try to emphasise how good the save was by holding on to the crossbar, an act which adds nothing to the actual save.

67 mins: I began writing as I though something was about to happen but then it didn’t, that’s how exciting this game has become! I’m on edge…

66 mins: Bonucci is yellowed for hacking down Xavi like a careless lumberjack.

63 mins: GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAL! Had just finish writing up the last goal, I look up and David Silva dinks a delightful reverse pass through Italy’s defence with the outside of his boot, and out-and-out striker Cesc Fabregas slots home. More crap music.

60 mins: GOAAAAAAAAL! Di Natale scores after a sumptuous Pirlo pass puts him through on goal. DiNat ignores the traditional ‘FIFA goal’ of passing downwards for his teammate Cassano to tap in, instead bending it round Casillas. Crap music plays to mark this occasion.

59 mins: Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque suckles on his tactical thumb for inspiration.

57 mins: Arbeloa fouls Cassano. I thought I saw Arbeloa on a train to Clapham once, though it turned out it wasn’t him. True story.

55 mins: Balotelli seems to be hauled off for this miss and is replaced by Di Natale. Mario B sits on the bench and seems to just shout, what look like, a lot of swears to the person on his right.

52 mins: Balotelli wins the ball from Ramos excellently, has bags of time to run unchallenged towards Casillas’ goal, but decides to walk towards goal with the swagger of a man strutting down a road playing horrible Grime music on his mobile. Pique gets back and merks him.

50 mins: They’re attacking, Iniesta gets down the left hand side and has a shot saved from a tighter angle than the Kurt Angle ‘angle lock’ from wrestling moves fame. Buffon taps out, but in the good round-the-post-so-the-ball-doesn’t-go-in football sense, rather than the wrestling one, which makes you lose.

49 mins: Fabregas and then Xavi have tangible real life shots that you could see with your eyes! Interesting ‘shooting’ tactic that Spain seem to be employing in the second half this.

46 mins: Yay. More footballs under way. Turns out Spain had 62% possession and still managed to look less threatening, similar to seeing Chris Eubank on a night out, then spilling his drink and getting in a confrontation with him, only to find out he was made of wool.

Half Time: Hooray! The half is over. You know you haven’t enjoyed a match when you actively look forward to the advert in which Ray Winstone has a contrived conversation with himself.

45 mins: Balotelli does a cool thing, keeping the ball in play by the touchline by controlling the ball with a heel behind his head. It gets worked into the box and Thiago Motta has a powerful header saved. The two best chances have both come in the last two minutes of this half, the sort of occurrence which makes none of the documenting of the previous 43 mins feel worthwhile.

44 mins: Iniesta with the first actual properly scoreable chances, which he obligingly scuffs over from close range, attempting a lob and a tasty volley at the same time, producing something not as good as either.

42 mins: Fabregas forces a corner which a striker heads in misses all their players then eventually goes out for a goal kick.

41 mins: I started watching the rain outside my window and had to tear myself away from the exhilarating attacking display to watch this. Sacrifice.

40 mins: Christ this is boring.

38 mins: Spain work it into the box, but Fabregas is penalised for collapsing Maggio like a deckchair. Deckchairs are no longer chairs when they’re collapsed and nobody can rest by the pool on Maggio in his current state. Poor form Cesc.

36 mins: Balotelli, determined to attract negative press, gets yellowed after one more foul. I look forward to his inevitable sending off for attempting to eat the ball.

35 mins: Marchisio tries a scorching volley which becomes tepid by the time it’s saved by Ike Cas. Lukewarm.

33 mins: Cassano produces a stinging shot, which Casillas palms away like a man grabbing a nettle by accident, believing it to be a stress ball. Balotelli fouls Pique in trying to get the rebound, then starts beating up the pitch.

31 mins: Casillas tries to extend Spain’s boring possession football in his own area and Cassano trips him to no complaints from any spectator.

29 mins: Iniesta dances into the box, but instead of being met with a traditional striker/dance partner, his crossed ball tangos its way to Chiellini’s head, he boffs it behind for a corner. Poor tango-ing.

27 mins: The only thing worse than a Mexican wave is being told about one by Jon Champion.

26 mins: Chiellini fouls Xavi repeatedly and Craig Burley commends him. Commentators appear to be confused between wanting more excitement but encouraging foul play the breaks up the pattern of the game.

24 mins: Vaguely exciting play happens as Spain advance into the Italian’s box, but the lack of striker means they contrive to just keep passing it until they lose it.

23 mins: David Silva runs the ball out for a goal kick. Notice that he appears to be sweating profusely down the left hand side of his abdomen. Methinks his kidney is leaking.

21 mins: Cassano rakes a tasty effort across Casillas’ goal mouth, ruining the taste by raking too hard and destroying the texture of goal.

18 mins: Due to missing the pre match warm up, it has taken the ever observant Shilts until now to realise that Spain are playing with no recognisable strikers, presumably solving the problem of how to accommodate their death of world class midfielders by deleting Torres from the team sheet.

17 mins: Thiago Motta gets a boot raked down his side and is hurt by this, much to the scorn of ITV’s commentary team.

16 mins: Sergio Ramos nearly makes a mug of himself dallying on the ball in his own have, but then become a chalice with a lovely Cruyff turn.

12 mins: Pirlo produces a testing low driven free kick, but Casillas passes this test with at least 65% marks, gaining him a comfortable 2:1 and the ball is palmed away.

11 mins: The Spanish break away, and David Silva kindly rolls the ball into Buffon’s gloves. Mind gamez.

9 mins: Balotelli takes a punt from range which is instantly deflected wide. Looked far more threatening live than in slow mo, where it looks more harmless than a dead leaf.

7 mins: TIKI TAKA FOOTBALL from the Spanish, who dink it about in the Italian’s box, the Italians just stand still and this deals with this fine.

6 mins: A presumably intended-to-be-intricate training ground corner from Italy is as predictable as a maze with one wall for the Spanish.

5 mins: Maggio, who’s name reminds me of the moped in GTA Vice City, pootles down the right hand side and has his vehicle written off by a foul from Alba.

4 mins: Nothing of note has happened so far, so I haven’t noted it.

Kick Off: We’re under way in this fixture between the two most recent World Cup winners

Schoolboy Match Reports: Netherlands 0 – 1 Denmark Euro 2012

Shilts hands over to the self proclaimed voice of the self proclaimed voices of the internet, football forum expert and 6 year old; Little Johnny for a recap of all the action from yesterday’s Group B game between Netherlands and Denmark.

Netherlands 0 – 1 Denmark (Krohn Dehli, 24)

how can netherlands not even beat danmark?!? lmao, i don’t even know where it is, i think they made it up and netherlands are just losing to a team made of bits of wood found in a skip baso imo.

in 1st half, the team of oranges are just having all of the chances but they are being so bad goaling that my dad just laughed at the tv until he started choking on his peanuts and then mum took him to hospital. aryan robbin and afeleye were worse than wetting yourself in the middle of assembly and then having to take your trousers off and being known as ‘wee boy’ all year, but they carved out some decent efforts.

the worst man was the man with a duplo haircut, robert van persie, who is a great big idiot who is not scoring the goals all the time, so he has not opened his accounts and is still having to carry all of his goals in his van pursie and they are spilling out all over the floor and round the post but not into the goals lol. he is so overrated, he is like pombear crisps, i do not care for those ppl who say ‘he was so good last season’ you are moroons = he is just blatantly rubbish and has proved that in this last game.

one of the danmark players went up and then just ran at the defenseman one way and then the other way and the orange defenseman just didnt know what to do. in the end he just didnt tackle krohn’s deli and it goes through the keepers legs and its a GOOOOOOOAL! 1-0! the oranges found themselves eating humble pie made of orange and were not liking the taste of their own flavour.

danmark started to feel sorry for netherlands as they knew everyone would make fun of them for being totally cack so the keeper is just giving the ball to aryan robbin who cannot even score then! instead he hits the post and then stands there and thinks ‘what have i done? it was basically an open goal apart from the three defenders and goalkeeper in front of me, i might even quit and become a binman!’ in the end the manager came on to the pitch and slapped him in the face and said ‘NOT NOW ARYAN, PLEASE NOT NOW’.

 then the funniest ever moments of football happened when robert vp went to score a goal but instead kicked the air really hard! lol. even my nan could score that and she just stays in her big chair smoking and shouting out her window at foreign ppl. she would have to be allowed out first and mum says that she doesnt like taking granny sue anywhere because we always have to leave early because she gets so angry.

in literally the last second of the game, class jan huntinglark goes up and kicks the ball in the penalty box and the danmark man forgets how to play and thinks he is keeping goal and just slaps the ball like my friend terrance’s dad slaps him in the face. twice. it is probably because they do not have football in danmark and he just doesn’t know the rules so the ref says ‘i will let you off this time but i have called handball now so next time i will punish you’ but class jan just yells in the refs face, so the ref blows the final whistle and the game ends.”

Euro 2012 Live(ish) Text: Germany vs Portugal

The next best thing for all those unfortunate not to be able to make it to the ground; experiencing it through someone else’s living room n text form.

Germany 1 -0 Portugal

Full Time: I quite enjoyed that. BBC pundits castigating Portugal for playing defensive football until they conceded, which I think is unfair. The second half was at least even throughout and Portugal had a bucket full of chances. Controversial opinion I know, but if you’re offended by that then you should hear what I have to say about abortion… It’s whatever your opinion is, because I avoid confrontation on important issues and just nod and politely agree. So don’t stay offended too long, you grudge holding grump.

Anyhow, we all know that game means nothing as ENGERLAND weren’t involved and as a kind of media outlet, I have to purport that I’m not interested unless they’re playing.

Why does Alan Shearer think that a good broadcasting method is shouting his opinions whilst staring at Jake Humphries neck?

95 mins: The players are fine to play now. Doesn’t matter, final whistle, waste of time/FULL TIME.

93 mins: It’s taken the entire game plus the 3 minutes of added injury time for a corner to be dangerous, with Bruno Alves heading narrowly over. He injures himself and Schweinsteiger in doing so, causing the match to be extended past the planned +3 mins of injury time.

92 mins: After a fairly uneventful 4 mins, Ronaldo gets down the left hand side, pulls a ball back to Nani who punts the ball into Badstuber’s back. Corner to Portugal, they’ve been great at these today…

88 mins: Huge chance for Portugal. Olivera is denied from close range by a supreme Neuer save after a ball is incompetently left to slowly roll along the penalty area until it reaches the Portuguese in space.

87 mins: Klose gets all his birthday digs in one (the tradition where you punch the lucky birthday friend in the arms in accordance with how old they are, obviously) from Pepe in the form of a meaty shoulder barge.

85 mins: Hummels heads behind yet another dangerous looking cross which develops into yet another fruitless corner. A crunch corner perhaps, with vanilla choco balls.

83 mins: Coentrão fires n a shot which is deflected out for another rubbish corner. Nani then whips in a cross which Neuer nonchalantly leaves. It promptly crashes into his crossbar.

82 mins: There have been many corners this game. None of them good, including that last one from Portgual.

80 mins: Mats (no sic, its Mats, not Matt, so fuck off.)  Hummels mistakenly produces some Ronaldinho compilation video worthy tekkers, beating a few players before a foul is given against him.

79 mins: Now Klose gets his birthday wish, replacing goalscorer Mario Gomez. He is given the gift of patriotic pride, representing his national team at the highest level, rather than the Topman vouchers he actually wanted.

76 mins: Gomez has another chance to score, nearly meeting a low driven cross with his sliding leg, however he is too late and rather than adding goals to the scoreboard, he just adds mud to his arse.

75 mins: The ball is pinging up both ends like a really convulted game of ping pong. That was a professional different sport comparison there. That’s why nobody is paying me for it…

73 mins: Birthday boy Klose was about to replace Gomez, but is told to sit back down. He gives a thumbs up, but I can tell he#s crying inside, drowning his organs with tears.

72 mins: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Mario Gomez scores a great headed effort, nodding the ball across the goalmouth after a really good Schweinsteiger’ cross. I’ve thrown up my insides.

71 mins: The crowd are still singing this chant. I am bored by it, both in terms of it’s content, and by the fact they’re just singing it on a loop like an irritating 10 hour long internet video.

69 mins: Boateng is booked for grasping CRon’s shoulders, trying an illegal leap frog manoeuvre there.

68 mins: The crowd seem to be singing an incredibly complex yet utterly boring (in terms of the melody) chant.

67 mins: The parp of the ref’s whistle signals yet another foul. Parp. Foul. Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul. Parp. Foul. This is the pattern of the game so far. It’s a horrible pattern and doesn’t suit you sir, keep the receipt.

65 mins: Keine Ziele Erlaubt!

64 mins: CRonaldo has a blocked expertly by Boateng, he morphs into the shape of a block with the words ‘no goals allowed’ written on it. In German.

63 mins: Raul Meireles semi accidentally punches Muller in the face in a scrap for the ball, then hugs his German counterpart. Ineffective wrestling move that one.

60 mins: I could see the content of the text in his eyes. Fábio Coentrão gets booked for a savage challenge.

59 mins: Crowd shot of Jose Mourinho getting a chain text about a girl with brain cancer. He laughs.

58 mins: Nasty challenge by Khedira on Moutinho, which he slinks away from, slowly slinking his way down stairs with his metallic spring mechanism.

57 mins: Podolski atones with a tremendous cross onto Gomez’s bonce. It bonces over though.

56 mins: Ozil plays another magical reverse pass into the box, but Podolski enthusiastically runs it out of play like a stupid dog.

54 mins: A ball is swung in and it bounces off Boateng’s balls. Neuer looks to gather it, but dodes so far too lackadaisically and it’s a Portuguese corner. Which comes to nothing.

52 mins: Boateng has the ball by the touchline in his own half, near his own corner flag, and inexplicably tries a backheel which predictably goes out for a throw in to Portugal. Absolutely shit.

51 mins: BUT the ball goes up the other end and Postiga is punished for pulling Khedira’s arm back. That’s exciting right! Right?

49 mins: CRon gets around Boateng using his skills, but once again Hummels heads behind for a corner, like a magnet. Except a shit magnet that doesn’t attach things to itself, but lets them fall off for corners. THE BILE RETURNS! But the corner is poor.

48 mins: The corner is punched away, the Portuguese come back and CRon puts an effort straight into Neuer’s hands. I’ve been sick and the excitement has subsided somewhat.

47 mins: Nani goes round Lahm, puts in a cross to the near post, but Mats Hummels produces a diving header behind for a corner. I’M SO EXCITED I WANT TO BE SICK!

46 mins: Second half is underway, and Germany respond to the first half’s dullness with a flurry of decent chances one after the other. WE SO EXCITED NOW.

Half Time: Despite missing most of that half, I can conclude that that was boring. But as a (sort of) broadcaster, I encourage you to stick with me! For why, I cannot say. Just do it. Please.

45 mins: Pepe smashes a shoot against the underside of the bar from a corner, it bounces off the line and immediately THE DEBATE ABOUT GOAL LINE TECHNOLOGY IS REIGNITED AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN, TALKING POINT! Except the officials have got it right and no goal line technology is needed and Guy Mowbray can shut the fuck up.

43 mins: German fans are warned over the tannoy about throwing stuff about, mainly at Cristiano Ronaldo and therefore, by extension, the entire team. This only seems to give those who weren’t already throwing stuff the idea to throw stuff and more stuff is thrown.

42 mins: Badstuber gets a yellow for trying to smash Nani’s heels in with his boot. Poor heel smashing technique and Nani retains its heels.

41 mins: Portugal go up the other end and bosh one into the hoardings.

40 mins: Also it’s still 0-0. I return to see Thomas Muller rake one wide from a decent angle. A good shot of German’s looking ruffled follows.


31 mins: Podolksi hasn’t scored though, he booted a decent effort into a fella in the top tiers face. BRB.

29 mins: Shilts has to professionally take a break to tend to a curry that he didn’t make and has been forced upon him. It might possibly burn, one of the teams might score, you’ll find out shortly.

26 mins: The two teams are scrapping like the Wombles in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Quite entertaining.

24 mins: Germany’s subsequent freekick is crap.

22 mins: Disallowed goal! Less exciting than it sounds. Khediara is fouled by a gentle caressing kick in the goolies from a stray boot in a challenge. The foot caressing doesn’t prevent him for putting a reverse pass into the box, which Gomez obligingly finishes, almost 30 seconds after the whistle had blatantly gone.

20 mins: My experience of this game has so far been that of close up crowd shots featuring fans noticing themselves on TV and gurning excitedly.

17 mins: The team exclusively made up of Cristiano Ronaldo jinks into the box and attempts to pass. Unfortunately for Ronaldo, being the sole Portuguese player and passer of the ball means that he also couldn’t quite get on the other end.

15 mins: WordPress informs me that this is my 100th post. Yay. I feel like I’ve thrown many pebbles in the internet sea and that the ripples have at best splashed at the ankles of a toddler and perhaps knocked him over. Good.

13 mins: Lawro talks about how tight the pitch is. He has a point, Mats Hummels is currently caught between the advertising hoardings from either side of the stadium, officials are currently freeing him.

11 mins: Helder Postiga is booked after a challenge on Manuel Neuer, seeing the German keeper going over somewhat theatrically and causing Mark Lawrenson to go into his obligatory masturbatory volley of snide sarcastic comments about diving. Let ’em here you Lawro.

10 mins: Mario Gomez creates the most exciting moment of the match, forcing a parry from Rui Patricio with a teasing effort after a low ball was rifled in.  

8 mins: If BBC ‘s billing of this game as Germany vs Cristiano Ronaldo is to be believed, the mercurial son buyer will have a tough time playing all 11 men on his own.

7 mins: Obviously Shilts starts this edition of live Group B international super hybole soccer 7 minutes late.

Goal line technology’s staunch opposition

Andy Carroll’s headed effort in yesterday’s FA Cup Final reignited the debate over goal line technology once more. I say reignited, it has been raging on for quite some time now. Perhaps it is fairer to say that Andy Carroll’s headed effort found more fuel and burnt some more of the surrounding environment to a crispy ash, leaving many people homeless.

“Why don’t bladdy FIFA just introduce bladdy goal line technology already?” cried all of nation’s blokes-down-the-pub collectively en masse.

It has come to Shilts’ learned* attention that plans afoot to introduce goal line technology and appease the self appointed spokesmen of football have been prevented, not as a result of Sepp Blatter’s mixture of trademark incompetence and unwavering Luddite attitude, but rather due to a press boycott.

Though seemingly appearing to champion such reforms through giving every marginal incident such extensive coverage that the actual game itself is long forgotten, the media have aligned themselves directly against any changes for precisely this reason.

“If goal line technology was introduced, what the bollocks would we talk about after a game?!” muttered Mark Lawrenson, in an exclusive interview (with someone else). He may have muttered this, but Shilts was listening through a wall and has hearing difficulties, so the quote may not be verbatim.

“They would expect opinion and insight! We can’t give that! Rugby has video technology, have you ever seen rugby punditry? They merely shrug and say ‘that was a game of rugby’ after the game and that’s it. I want to get say how ridiculous a difficult decision is over and over again, despite having access to multiple video replays and still not coming to any conclusive conclusion, and then insist that the moment could have ‘changed the outcome entirely’.” argues Andy Townsend, displaying rare opinion and insight.

“Had Lampard’s goal against Germany been given, we would have had to find an entirely different reason to blame for England’s inevitable loss,” admitted one tabloid journalist. “These possible referring blunders are the sorts of decisions which mean we don’t have to analyse tactics and player performance beyond a few basic statistics and bias assertions. Football is all about opinion, not actual football, that’s the beauty of the game, isn’t it? Isn’t it? Beauty of the game. Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Opinion. Isn’t it?…” Shilts backed away as the journalist proceeded to enter a trance like stasis.

So there you have it. Video technology will not be introduced so that we can get more outraged at possibly incorrect decisions and express our outrage that we have to express our outrage at these possibly incorrect opinions in an ad nauseam loop. That’s what football’s all about though really isn’t it? Opinion. Isn’t it?…

Carroll fails to score a goal. Correct call. No technology needed.

The entire ball blatantly didn’t go over the line.

*read: ill-informed

FA Cup Final: Chelsea vs Liverpool – As it happened!(ish)

“For those who can’t be doing with taking in a game of footballs on the far superior mediums of TV and internet streams and inexplicably preferred to read an incomptent blogger’s account instead.”

Starting from half time. Obviously.

Chelsea (Ramires 11, Drogba 51) 2 – 1 (Carroll 63) Liverpool


Chelsea win, Di Matteo makes his inevitable sacking more undeserved. Drogba gets bored during the post match interview and runs off. Liverpool’s league failures are made to seem even worse. My fingers ache. That is all for now.

96 mins: Glenn Johnson gets the ball in the Liverpool half, holding onto it for a few seconds patiently until he can pick out the perfect pass. The final whistle blows.

95 mins: The ball splutters about in the Liverpool half, Reina buffoonishly rushes out and Chelsea desperately try and score a long range goal with several pitiful long range attempts.

94 mins: Miracle Gerrard concedes a cynical foul on Drogba, Frankie Lamps tests Reina with the free kick.

93 mins: ‘Miracle’ Gerrard miraculously over hits a cross field pass which miraculously goes out for a miracle Chelsea goal kick.

92 mins: Tyldesley is willing Liverpool to equalise, they’re pumping balls into the box with no success, it’s like trying to spunk in a fly’s mouth.

90 mins: Andy ‘high standards’ Townsend gives the man of the match award to Juan Mata for (paraphrase) ‘playing well for 66% of the match’, as the Spaniard is substituted. It’s almost like he just made an arbitrary choice upon seeing Mata’s name being mentioned in an effort to seem insightful whilst not being obvious…

89 mins: Liverpool win some corners from other corners and finally end the loop by not scoring.

88 mins: The stage is set for Stevie ‘headline maker’ Gerrard. That stage is Wembley, the act is a free kick, the script has him punt the ball into the wall.

86 mins: Smoke.

85 mins: Tyldesley remembers to plug the final’s sponsors after nearly a full 90 mins, and does so with expert tactlessness. Shilts will not degrade himself with such commercialism by typing the name of said beer company on his Toshiba computer and posting it on his Virgin Media boosted internet site.

84 mins: Kenny Dalglish’s face looks like it was drawn in wet sand with a stick.

82 mins: Big moment. Carroll bonces in a header destined for the net, Cech dashes the ball into the underside of the crossbar and it’s cleared. Carroll celebrates but the linesman makes the correct call. BIG MOMENT. BIG. B.I.G. Notorious.

80 mins: Some lovely interplay results in Suarez cutting the ball back altogether too lamely, it dribbles out to Henderson, who spanks it over.

78 mins: Drogba is fine.

77 mins: Drogba hurts his every fragile testicles again, an injury which develops into a pain in his leg. Play is stopped whilst Chelsea’s physios have to begrudgingly play along with his charade once more, presumably pretending to remove his balls from his leg.

76 mins: Waiting to be substituted on for Ramires, Raul Meireles grabs his groin and thrusts it outwards on the sideline.

75 mins: Carroll manages to stay upright this time, nodding narrowly over. He shouts at the ref. Not sure why. Insight.

74 mins: Carroll goes for a header and flattens two defenders, like a graceless Acme anvil.

71 mins: Shilts’ companion claims that Suarez looks like Nigel Thornberry from the cartoon The Wild Thornberrys on account of his long nose and teeth. Shilts disagrees.

69 mins: The ball comes into the Chelsea area from the right, Carroll heads it backwards, the ball hangs in the air, the crowd roar, Steven Gerrard aims for the top corner. And twats it into the Thames.

67 mins: Suarez spins on the spot a la DBergkamp. I can’t be bothered to write Dennis.

66 mins: Buoyed by their goal, Liverpool realise that football is able to be won by scoring goals, an embark on a flurry of attempts at scoring one. Momentum scousers.

64 mins: GOAL! Chelsea dally on the ball, giving it to lanky pleb Andy Carroll, who scores from a very cute angle. Cuter than a kitten in a suit made of rainbows and Zooey Deschanel’s tears. One for the hipster kids.

63 mins: Juan Mata juggles the ball around then plays a backwards ball into Drogba who smashes the ball into the side of the goal.

61 mins: Suarez fouls Drogba in the Liverpool half, prompting referee Phil Dowd to squat his massive podgy frame down like he was laying an egg, which hatches into a foul.

60 mins: Liverpool look like they want to go home early; they’re pulling on their mother’s coat and saying ‘I’m bored mum, I want to go home, I need a wee.”

58 mins: Kalou gets into the left hand side of the Liverpool area and curls one wide to the right and then winces, probably because he trod on a tack or something.

56 mins: Clive Tyldesley talks about the ‘numerous sides and faces’ of Didier Drogba, presumably referring to the Ivorian’s two sides and one face.

54 mins: The ball goes up the other end and an extremely lacklustre clearance sees Liverpool effectively gently chip the ball into Drogba, who handballs and shanks it wide.

53 mins: Suarez smashes a ball in from the right into a sea of Chelsea shirts. They don’t like this and boot it away.

51 mins: GOAL! Didier Drogba scores in his 4th Wembley cup final, rifling one in at Pepe Reina’s bottom left hand corner. He then proceeds to do a celebration which starts like someone miming nipple discharge and then evolves into silly jumping dance where he looks like he’s trodden in an electrified puddle and regrets it.

49 mins: ITV cut to a shot of Kenny Dalglish standing in the Wembley technical areas, which look like a desolate car park. Unless Kenny Dalglish is in a desolate car park, in which case, excuse me Wembley architects.

48 mins: The teams are exchanging corners like Panini stickers that neither want. None come to any sort of fruition.

47 mins: Craig Bellamy punts his corner at the first man rubbishly. It’s probably because he looks like a character from Mummies Alive. Mummies can’t kick.

45 mins: And we’re off, broom broom, let’s drive to FA Cup final city. Are we there yet? Yes.

HALF TIME: Chelsea done went and scored an underwhelming goal, that’s all you need to know from the first half.