- Our Cristiano Ronaldo is better than your Lionel Messi
Group B: 3-3. Group D: 1-1. Two draws and two different tales of footballing super gods. In Group B, Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick – his 82nd, 83rd and 84th international goals against Spain. In Group D, Lionel Messi missed a second half penalty that would have given his Argentina side a 2-1 lead in their game against Iceland.
- 21st century game.
You often hear the old pros in England talking about how the game of football has moved on. “It ain’t the same,” is the lament. And for the review, that ain’t no shame. The wonders of modern technology ensured that Paul Pogba’s 81st minute lob over Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan and off the underside of the crossbar was adjudged a goal. The ball landed just over the goal line before spinning back into Ryan’s arms.
The review remembers a game in the World Cup South Africa in 2010 when England’s Frank Lampard saw his shot canon down from the underside of the crossbar, cross the line and bounce back out into the arms of Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer who quickly kicked it upfield. The officials were too busy following where the ball was going instead of where it had come from and said it hadn’t crossed the line. But it was so far over as to be strange as to how they didn’t see it. So instead of Germany 2 England 2, it remained 2-1 to the Germans who went on to win 4-1. And not 4-2. Ho hum. That was then. This is now. And better for it.
- Thunderclap might
It sounds like a title from the Cocteau Twins. This was a British band that proffered an array of translucent tunes in the late 1970s until the mid-1990s. The review was fond of their sounds. Still is. The Icelanders have developed a form of encouragement and celebration dubbed the thunderclap.
This is where they all hold their hands up – wide apart – and clap and shout: “Whoop”. Well, it sounds like “Whoop”. Could be: “Soup”. Cocteau Twins songs were a bit like that. You could not distinguish what they were saying. The Thunderclap was out and about on day three and the Ice boys gave their supporters cause for joy when they held Argentina to a 1-1 draw. A cool result that deserves a round of applause.
- Everyone misses penalties
Christian Cuevas was in tears as he left the field just after missing his spot kick during Peru’s game against Denmark. The Peru coach, Ricardo Gareca, had to convince him to go back out and carry on. Pull yourself together man. Look at that Lionel Messi. He failed to score and he didn’t blub. He’s the captain of Argentina and expected to hit the target. He got on with it. The review knows an Italian football writer who suggested that Messi was freaked after seeing a big Iberian beast take on Spain on day two and score three goals. One was from the penalty spot.
- They’ll be issuing earplugs for the game
Kaliningrad Stadium has been constructed with a weapons grade sound system. It was loud enough to create a time warp – hence the reference to the Cocteau Twins. The review’s ears are still ringing. We know it’s entertainment. But music as menace? We wait to see what the other arena have in store.