America’s purple-haired skipper lifted a record fourth World Cup for her country and also walked off with the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards for the highest scorer and best player at France 2019.
In doing so she rammed the pathetic ‘walk-the-walk’ taunt down the throat of her thin-skinned president. Rapinoe had angered Agent Orange by saying she wouldn’t go anywhere near the “f***ing White House” in celebration if Team USA won the tournament – like they did when Barack Obama was POTUS.
Brains aren’t everything. In his case they’re nothing and he could not help himself in telling one of USA’s greatest players to “WIN first before she TALKS’ – something he himself never conformed to before somehow, mystifyingly being made leader of the free world.
Trump likes Twitter mainly because he has a brain like Swiss cheese and a smaller vocabulary than an upturned calculator.
For our girls it was another penalty howler, a tough-to-take VAR ruling and red mist all combined against England in their third straight semi-final defeat against the US.
Ellen White’s big toe-nail was off-side when she brilliantly slotted home what would have been a deserved equaliser. The Manchester City forward had earlier made it 1-1, finishing off a superb move with a finish her male counterpart at the Etihad Sergio Aguero would have been proud of.
Steph Houghton – a true leader – was honest enough to admit that she let the team down after her late penalty miss. The England skipper’s scuffed spot-kick was poor but at least she had the guts to step up and take responsibility after regular taker Nikita Parris had seen her last two efforts saved in France.
Millie was not so Bright when she lost her head and picked up a second yellow for a nasty tackle as it went from bad to worse in Lyon. In contrast American Alex Morgan became the first woman to score on her birthday at a World Cup. Hell of a way to celebrate turning 30!
Women’s football – and our national team despite losing the bronze-medal match 2-1 against Sweden – has improved quicker than most people thought but if this trajectory is to continue some home truths have to be told.
Missing three out of four penalties in one tournament is not good enough. Using the English ‘mental-block’ excuse for failing from 12-yards is unacceptable. Being a pro player and not being able to smash a ball under pressure is the pits. I don’t sugercoat s***, I’m not Willy Wonka!
Cry a river. Build a bridge. Get over it. England’s Lionesses are good enough, strong enough and determined enough to come back from this and I for one am already looking forward to 2023.
NOW the dust has settled on a Premier League season more brilliant than finding a £20 note in your pocket the day before you get paid it is time to see who gave value for money and who were overdrawn in the memory bank.
Wolves chewed up and spat out the notion that newly-promoted teams always struggle and most – like Cardiff and Huddersfield – go straight back down. Instead Nuno Espirito Santo led his side to seventh place in the Premier League and that means European football after Manchester City lifted the FA Cup to complete a terrific domestic Treble.
City retained their crown, edging ahead of Liverpool by one-point although Reds fans had the small matter of a sixth European Cup to take the edge off their sadness.
Manchester United . . . oh Manchester United, where do you start. If the club was an exam it would have a big, fat, red ‘F’ on it. For many it’s hilarious to see the demise of such an entitled club who still laughingly refer to themselves as the biggest in the world.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer inspired a bit of nostalgia when he first arrived but like most Christmas presents the novelty soon wore off. I’m not sure I’d trust a Cardiff reject at the wheel if my bus had bald tyres, a sticky clutch and dodgy carburettor.
This desperation to appoint those that ‘know the club’ smacks of the errors Liverpool made in the 90’s and if United are not careful, they will suffer the exact same fate. And while the Reds had clubs legends Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher to drag them through the lean years – and incredibly give them one of the best nights in their history in Istanbul – who do United have? Can you see Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard doing that?
Plus in Liverpool’s doldrum years Everton didn’t rub it in by winning the lottery and becoming the best side of all time. Poor old United have gone from having noisy neighbours to the equivalent of begging to live in their shed after falling on hard times.
Liverpool fans supported Manchester United in one game this season – against City – and their team in 38. They lost the same amount of games in that time.
Only United and Tottenham have begun rebuilding to close the gap between the top two with Spurs smashing their transfer record to bring in French international midfielder Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon for £65 million.
Solskjaer has predictably looked back at United’s glory days and has decided young British players are the way forward. The problem he has is the Class of 92 had real men and leaders like Steve Bruce, Roy Keane and Eric Cantona to learn from. Poor old Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Dan James, plus rumoured target Sean Longstaff have Ashley Young, Phil Jones and Paul Pogba – and the latter has already said he wants out.Ole should be warned that a dream without a plan is just a wish.
AND finally you have to doff your flat, black cap at England’s cricketers who reached their first World Cup semi-final for 27 years after skittling out New Zealand.
Jonny Bairstow top-scored with 106 off 99 balls as Joe Root’s side avoided the nightmare scenario of being pre-tournament favourites who do not make the knockout stage.
Next up are Australia on Thursday and England will be desperate to avenge their 64-run group defeat, in particular sticking it to bad boys David Warner and Steve Smith who have horns holding up their halos.
AND finally England just love beating the Aussies, in particular sticking it to bad boys David Warner and Steve Smith who have horns holding up their halos.
Eoin Morgan’s side reached their first World Cup final for 27 years as they cruised to an embarrassingly easy eight-wicket victory and are now big favourites to be crowned champions for a first time since the competition began in 1975.
Disgraced former skipper Smith was the only Aussie to pass 50 as they were skittled out for 223 after battling back from 14-3 in a hilariously bad start.
Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid both took four wickets, while in reply Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow nonchalantly smacked Australia all around the ground in a 124-run first partnership.
Morgan’s men march onwards towards Sunday’s final at Lord’s where they take on a New Zealand side they have already thrashed once in the tournament. It’s coming home, it’s coming home . . . ooops sorry wrong sport!