ENGLAND will play South Africa in Saturday’s World Cup Final after a thrilling 19-7 win over New Zealand.

It’s the fourth time the nation has reached the showpiece- the last 12 years ago – and equals the records of the All Blacks and Australia. 

Eddie Jones’ men were under-dogs in the semi-final but from the moment they faced down the Haka in a V for Victory shape and scored a second minute try they were in almost total control.

Never before had those massive men in black conceded a WC try as early as Manu Tuilagi’s score which set up England for just a second win in 17 meetings against this legendary outfit.

England were immense – beating a side who incredibly had not lost a match in this competition since 2007. The individual and team performance, the tempo and the belief led to 80 minutes that will live long in the memory.

Their tactics were also spot on and will have to be again against the Springboks if that 2007 final defeat is to be avenged.

Jones can be a little devil – his ‘enjoy the third-place play-off’ dig at Warren Gatland just one example. He has a face like a Saint ― a Saint Bernard – but by Jesus is he a great coach. Win on Saturday and he’ll be an English rugby God! 

LEICESTER were on cloud nine this weekend as they equalled the record for the biggest Premier League win.

They smashed sorry Southampton 9-0 – a score line that has not been seen since March 1995 when Manchester United crushed Ipswich.

Saints were terrible but a softish sending off for Ryan Bertrand after just 12 minutes hardly helped, while Jamie Vardy and Ayoze Perez were the Foxes stars of the show with a hat-trick apiece. Wonder who kept the match-ball?

In a quirky twist of fate Kasper followed in his father Peter Schmeichel’s footsteps by being the only other goalkeeper to see their team put nine past their opponent while keeping a clean sheet.

Spare a thought for poor Saints whose helplessness was laid bare on prime-time Friday night viewing. Next up is Manchester City followed by erm Manchester City in a nightmare cup and league double. How’s your luck lads!

TOTTENHAM came, they saw, they crumbled.

Harry Kane & Co must hate facing Liverpool – their conquerors on that historic summer’s night in Madrid.

Acclaim has followed Liverpool’s players high and wide since their Champions League triumph. Virgil van Dijk won the UEFA men’s player of the year award and seven players that started the final wearing Red are on the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or.

Adam Lallana’s equaliser at Old Trafford was his first goal in two-and-a-half years, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finally put his year-long injury woes behind him by scoring two wonder goals in Genk.

Boss Jurgen Klopp has called Fabinho his Dyson for the way he hoovers up after his team-mates, Bobby Firmino has been so good that Wolves have copied his song and Trent Alexander-Arnold made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most assists for a defender (12) in a Premier League season. 

In contrast Christian Erikson, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose have all been rumoured to want out of Spurs, while Kieran Trippier did leave for Atletico Madrid.

Kane and Dele Alli have admitted they are enduring their hardest times since being at the club, while the latter has even lost his England place. 

To be fair to Tottenham Son Heung-min and more bafflingly Hugo Lloris are also on the Ballon d’Or list but little else has gone right for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

Jurgen Klopp called his team ‘mentality monsters’ back in April, Poch secretly may be thinking his lot are brainless zombies with neither the grey matter or muscle to bounce back from that crushing defeat in their first CL final.

Teams on the up don’t lose 7-1 at home, even if it is against Bayern Munich – the mental collapse that night  was frightening.

At Anfield on Sunday they got off to the perfect start with Kane scoring after 47 seconds – the ball landing somewhat fortuitously after Son’s shot deflected off Dejan Lovren and smacked the crossbar.

But captain Jordan Henderson dragged the relentless Reds level and Sadio Mane cleverly won a penalty off the hapless Serge Aurier which Mo Salah dispatched.

In the full season before Klopp arrived at Anfield, they drew five and lost four of their 19 home games. They were vulnerable defensively and mediocre in attack. That season, Stoke scored more home goals than Liverpool.

This result means the Reds are unbeaten at home in the league for 45 matches with things going swimmingly. For Spurs there’s only so long you can tread water before you sink.

AND finally ask any Arsenal fan and they will tell you Granit Xhaka is as useful as an ash tray in a hurricane.

Since making his Premier League debut in August 2016, no player has given away more spot-kicks than Xhaka (five) – the last one hurt more than most as it was against bitter rivals Tottenham.

The already rocky relationship plumbed new depths this weekend when he was booed off the pitch after being totally anonymous against Crystal Palace and taking his sweet time to stroll off when subbed.

It was 2-2 and any captain worth his salt would gee his troops up and rush off hoping a change would lead to a winner. Unfathomably the Swiss decided to walk slower than a Brexit deal can be agreed while sarcastically waving and cupping his ear to the crowd before whipping off his shirt and storming straight down the tunnel.

The Gunners did score a third which was criminally ruled out after a tangle of legs between Calum Chambers, Luka Milivojevic and Gary Cahill led to VAR over-ruling the referee. 

As for Xhaka he probably never dreamt he’d grow up to be an asshole – but here he is killing it.

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