THE THREE LIONS booked their place at Euro 2020 with a quite ridiculous goal difference of +31 – scoring at a rate Prince Andrew would be proud of.

Gareth Southgate’s side hit 17 goals across three matches for the first time since May 1964 – October’s 6-0 mauling of Bulgaria being followed by victories against Montenegro (7-0) and Kosovo (4-0).

Montenegrin Aleksandar Sofranac’s awesome effort at Wembley saw Wayne Rooney’s 53-goals overtaken by ‘oggies’ gifted by wayward opposition players

Before the games Raheem Sterling learnt that ambition is a good servant but a bad master when he lost his temper and attempted to get Joe Gomez in a headlock. The pair made up, Gomez was booed by the type of people who don’t have enough sense to spit downwind, and Sterling was axed for England’s 1,000th international match – the first coming against Scotland in 1872.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was a surprise starter against Montenegro but fully justified his inclusion within 11 minutes. He has had a terrible time with injuries but has hit form with Liverpool and now England – opening the scoring with his first international goal since June 2017 with a sweet first touch and powerful drive across the keeper.

Harry Kane grabbed an 18-minute hat-trick; Marcus Rashford also beat the keeper, while substitute Tammy Abraham scored his first full international goal.

The confident, quick, attacking football of Thursday was replaced with a scrappy, slow and uninspiring version three days later in Kosovo. The scoreline flattered England but there were a few positives as Harry Winks nabbed his first international goal in what was his sixth cap.

Kane and Rashford repeated their net-bulging feats before Mason Mount became the 431st man to score for England, with the first to do so William Kenyon-Slaney way back in March 1873 against the Scots.

Despite sometimes drifting in and out games, skipper Kane is the top scorer in Euro 2020 qualifying with 12 goals in eight games. He is also England’s joint top scorer in a calendar year although a third of his goals have come from the penalty spot.

MORONS outnumber humans in cyber space and that becomes crystal clear when you add in the emotive ingredient of football.

Home Office statistics on the rise of hate crime at games is another sad reflection on Brexit Britain. A 50 per cent increase, up from 131 incidences in 2018 to 193 last season, must be met head on and defeated.

But this problem extends past our shores. Italy in particular has a real problem yet seem to be doing little about it.

Cagliari regularly brings shame on Serie A with Romelu Lukaku (Sept 2019), Moise Keane (April 2019), Blaise Matuidi (Jan 2018), Sulley Muntari (April 2017) and Samuel Eto’o (Oct 2010) all being subjected to vile monkey chants.

Back home Manchester United pair Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford have both been victims of online racial slurs this season after missing. The pair’s team-mates called out the cowardly keyboard warriors but it’s time Twitter and Facebook verified accounts so these worms can be wheedled out and stamped on.

New betting rules and regulations mean punters have to prove their identity by uploading a copy of their passports or driver’s license – the technology is there and has to be adopted by social media companies. The only reason to hide behind pathetic tags like Loserpool96 or OldTrashford6 is so you can type abuse you would not dream of saying to someone’s face. This has to end.

These trolls are so stupid that if you put their brains in bumblebees, they would fly backwards. Humanity won’t miss them . . . unlike the bees who we must protect at all costs but that’s a debate for a nature not sports blog!

AND finally Liverpool will carry an eight-point lead into the depths of November, having won a quite ridiculous 131 points from their last 50 Premier League games – Tottenham and Everton have both dropped more (22) this season alone.

Jurgen Klopp’s leaders visit Crystal Palace next having already faced and beaten the teams currently second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth, while everyone else has lost at least twice.

Before the international break Vincent Kompany – a man, player and leader his old team massively miss – tried to explain the 3-1 defeat by saying ‘Man City have been unlucky with injuries. I think if Liverpool lose any of their main players then they are in trouble’.

Sitting next to him in the TV studio, Roy Keane snapped back: “They lost their No 1 goalkeeper during the first half hour of the season and he was out for eight games.”

When you have a man that bleeds Manchester United rubbishing your dig at Liverpool then you know you’re clutching at straws!

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