“Oi, you there – football… Every day, right?” The water cooler is thrown into the darkness by the man’s unmistakable two-meter-high shadow. “Yy-yes, sir,” your favorite teatime email stutters. “This is us… Football Daily… I’m glad you’ve noticed our recent rebranding effort, although you can still call us The Fiv…” “See that goal last night?” The man shouts, squeezing through several tiny paper cups. “What a finish!” “Very nice, sir,” we reply, fumbling with the buttons and getting a cup of lukewarm water. “And what about this building game?” the man shouts and claps us on the shoulder with a huge hand. “Build-up game, sir? But it came from a corner…”
Listen, how were we supposed to know that The Man wasn’t referring to Tuesday’s most significant attacks – that of Alessandro Golinucci? Volleyball for San Marino against Denmark, the team’s first goal since March 2022? Perhaps we should have realized that The Man is more of a free-to-air football connoisseur who enjoys nothing more than shouting a few obscenities at the England men’s team over a bottle of red wine. But anyway, The Goal. It was the latest in a growing string of highlights for the brilliant Jude Bellingham, a player The Man rates as “bloody good” and believes he could be even better if he played for a proper team in the Premier League, like Spurs, would play.
After an early goal deficit, things got increasingly heated at Wembley before the first Bellingham Burst™ of the night (Nick Ames, Big Paper) scored a penalty that Harry Kane sank. For England’s second goal, Bellingham led a lightning-quick counterattack, catching Rashford before making a mock run across goal. So the Manchester United striker has scored a single goal this season used Bellingham by not using him and shot the ball into the far corner. We also liked Phil Foden’s shimmy and move-starting pass, which we might discuss with The Man over lunch. On second thought, perhaps the moment has passed. We’ll meet him next summer when he demands an explanation as to why England only drew 1-1 against something called the Netherlands.
Kane added a third goal to secure England’s eighth consecutive appearance in a major men’s tournament. This puts Italy at risk of going to Rome instead of making it to Germany next summer. The England captain might have a feeling Touch of Stan Mortensen If you look at today’s newspapers, the hype is understandable. Bellingham has become the superstar this team needed and has been able to change the game in an instant – and for the first time since Wayne Rooney in 2004, the tournament’s most exciting talent will be an English player. All in all, there’s little to get excited about for fans – but that hasn’t stopped Jordan Henderson from jeering again. We’d like to think it’s because of his move to Saudi Arabia and not Not Being James Maddison, but… oh wait, The Man said “Vindaloo” and starts an obligatory conga. The EM 2024 party starts here!
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QUOTES OF THE DAY
“We do so much every day to be the best version of ourselves and stay fit for so many games. This behavior last night from San Marino trying to hurt me was unacceptable!” – Rasmus Højlund uses social media Disgrace Instachat to accuse San Marino players of targeting him during Denmark’s 2-1 European Championship qualifying win have taken.
“Today I read that Mr £80m is complaining because he wasn’t treated particularly well by the San Marino defenders yesterday. Well, my dear, in today’s football, where physical contact has disappeared, you can allow yourself to make fun of us little opponents (and to simulate hoping for a penalty at every opportunity). I would have liked to have seen you 15 years ago, when only real men played football!” – San Marino defender Roberto Di Maio, 41, hits back at Højlund (who, to be fair, was only five years old in 2008).
Football Weekly extension! The pod team gathers to discuss England’s victory over Italy and all the other Euro 2024 qualifying events. Listen.
I just had to comment after reading Douglas Hardie’s wonderfully evocative letter on Miter Moldmasters (Tuesday’s Football Daily letters). As a retired primary school teacher who was initially required to play U11 football for the school in my first teaching position in the 1970s, it absolutely captures the spirit of the times! I’d usually had a fair amount of tin the night before, the pitch was often freezing and it was a Saturday morning. Maybe we’re with a handful of parents in a godforsaken school on the outskirts of Norwich. Sometimes the children weren’t so enthusiastic and then the match point came and that could be decisive. I swear some schools manipulated their possession to increase the advantage they already had through a misshapen, lopsided pitch and a swamp in the penalty area. The ball was a miter, but not as we know it! Thanks for the memories, Douglas!” – Colin Roy.
I will see your miter (and its various units) and educate you with it the Wembley Trophy 5. This fake “Casey” was responsible for as many (if not more) skinned areas on the inner thighs of many a football-playing youth” – Kevin Worley.
“If I were a Manchester United fan (yesterday’s Football Daily), I would welcome a consortium of Sauron, Lord Voldemort and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse replacing the Glazers” – Dale Jenkins.
Perhaps this underlines how far Gareth Southgate has taken England, or perhaps it simply shows that qualifying for the European Championships is now easier (unless you have Stephen Kenny at the helm) because they are out of four teams at the Euros’ 76 were expanded to 24 at the 2024 European Championship. However, I was watching the recent and by no means entirely hagiographic documentary about David Beckham with my partner, who is from Spain, and after England’s draw with Italy in 1997 she turned to me and said: “Why are all the English players ?” celebrate? They didn’t win anything, they just qualified for a tournament.” Ah, those were the times” – Noble Francis.
Send your letters to [email protected]. Today’s winner of our Unpaid Letter of the Day is…Kevin Worley.