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.

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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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Spain 3-1 South Africa; Penalties help see Spain to victory after stunning Kgatlana opener

Spain 3-1 South Africa; Penalties help see Spain to victory after stunning Kgatlana opener

Two penalty goals from forward Jennifer Hermoso, and a third from 20-year-old Lucia Garcia, were enough to ensure Spain didn’t suffer an opening game loss to World Cup newcomers South Africa after an early shock in Le Havre.

Prior to playing in their first ever Women’s World Cup match, South Africa coach Desiree Ellis stressed the seismic differences between the quality of their domestic football league and the standards on display in these finals.

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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.

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