Switzerland 0-0 England (5-6 PENS); Pickford penalty heroics secure the Three Lions the effectively meaningless Nations League third place

Switzerland 0-0 England (5-6 PENS); Pickford penalty heroics secure the Three Lions the effectively meaningless Nations League third place

It took some penalty shootout heroics from England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, scoring one spot kick before then saving another, to earn the Three Lions victory in the UEFA Nations League third-place playoff.

In truth, it was an accomplishment – and a match in general – that few cared about, myself included in that crowd.

It’s something I’ve never understood the desire for in international football – the meaningless third-place playoff. Teams are already spent, they’ve already endured the ignominy of being knocked out of the respective tournament, any yet are somehow expected to rally back around to care for a match that means so incredibly little to anyone.

Continue reading “Switzerland 0-0 England (5-6 PENS); Pickford penalty heroics secure the Three Lions the effectively meaningless Nations League third place”

Australia 1-2 Italy; Stoppage time winner earns Italy surprise victory

Australia 1-2 Italy; Stoppage time winner earns Italy surprise victory

Italy scored a last-gasp winner to complete a fight back from a goal behind against Australia, coming out 2-1 winners in their opening 2019 Women’s World Cup match in Valenciennes.

In one of the tournament’s finest contests so far, Australia took the lead through a penalty – Sam Kerr missed the initial spot kick, but was on hand to sweep home the rebound.

However, Italy showed their resilience and fought back in the second half, with Juventus star Barbara Bonansea scoring both goals. Either side of Bonansea’s equaliser, Italy also saw two more goals disallowed – correctly – for offside by VAR.

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Germany 1-0 China; Hard-fought opening win for Germany but defensive frailties exposed by the Steel Roses

Germany 1-0 China; Hard-fought opening win for Germany but defensive frailties exposed by the Steel Roses

Germany claimed an opening victory in their Group B game against China in the 2019 Women’s World Cup through a wonderful Giulia Gwinn strike, but it wasn’t plain sailing for the Europeans in Rennes.

From the first kick of the game, Germany looked to assert their dominance over the Chinese team, but were faced with an unexpectedly feisty and physical opposition.

The Steel Roses were not afraid to go flying into challenges, much to the frustrations of a number of German players – particularly Alexandra Popp, who found herself repeatedly targeted.

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France 4-0 South Korea; Les Bleues look confident as Le Sommer, Renard & Henry star in stunning opening win

France 4-0 South Korea; Les Bleues look confident as Le Sommer, Renard & Henry star in stunning opening win

The 2019 Women’s World Cup kicked off in the Parc des Princes in Paris with a confident 4-0 win for hosts France against South Korea, with centre back Wendie Renard netting twice.

Forward Eugenie Le Sommer had opened the scoring for France, before Les Bleues’ other central defender Griedge Mbock Bathy saw a goal disallowed following a VAR check.

Renard made full use of her significant height advantage in the box to score twice before half time from set pieces, before late in the second half French captain Amandine Henry netted a superb fourth.

Continue reading “France 4-0 South Korea; Les Bleues look confident as Le Sommer, Renard & Henry star in stunning opening win”

With the increased introduction of VAR, is it time that the offside rule got an overhaul?

With the increased introduction of VAR, is it time that the offside rule got an overhaul?

Football’s Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system allows for crucial decisions within the live game of football to be made by reviewing replays and seeing incidents from angles not able to seen in the moment by the referee.

Naturally, this can put an end to clear and obvious errors – the reason the system was introduced in the first place – and in a game as financially lucrative as football, eradicating these errors has always been high on the agenda.

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Why the 2019 Women’s World Cup could be the turning point for women’s football?

Why the 2019 Women’s World Cup could be the turning point for women’s football?

None more so than leading up to this summer has women’s football been in football fans’ attentions. Media coverage, the quality of players, even record attendances – everything seems primed heading into these World Cup finals in France for it to make that final push to be accepted on equal footing to the male counterpart.

As the world prepares for the opening clash between France and South Korea in the Parc des Princes in Paris, a spotlight is once again being shone upon the female side of the most popular sport in the world.

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Netherlands 3-1 England AET; Defensive calamities cost the Three Lions & surely spell the end for Stones

Netherlands 3-1 England AET; Defensive calamities cost the Three Lions & surely spell the end for Stones

From minute one in Guimaraes, in front of a crowd predominantly sporting the St George’s cross, England were outplayed by their Dutch counterparts. Those donned in orange shirts dominated the ball and bossed the midfield, but it was ultimately costly mistakes that became England’s own undoing in Portugal.

England have become allergic to appearing in finals of international competitions, and once again it looked like it could be against Gareth Southgate’s side.

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