England fans (and also but unimportantly all other countries’ fans) hit with World Cup BOOZE BAN!

A fan drinks a Budweiser in the stands at a World Cup match Credit: Alamy
A fan drinks a Budweiser in the stands at a World Cup match Credit: Alamy

The world is in shock today as it emerges England fans (and all other fans) may be forced to endure World Cup matches while – gasp – sober…


Booze of the World
Qatar deciding not to allow the selling of booze inside the stadiums is clearly a big about-turn, albeit one that now seems likely to have been planned all along and delayed just long enough to make it a fait accompli. And it’s going to be grimly amusing to watch this be the point at which Qatar moves beyond the pale for many people, but we also enjoyed the inevitably jingoistic Sun headline.

“QATAR YOU KIDDING? England fans hit with World Cup 2022 stadium booze ban after Qatari chiefs’ U-turn with just £7 Bud Zero on offer”

First, the very idea of “Bud Zero” is intrinsically hilarious. But mainly we like the implication that it’s only England fans being hit by the booze ban. Hit hardest, perhaps.


The solution
“England fans may have to stump up £19,000 to avoid Qatar World Cup ‘beer ban'” is the technically correct yet absurd headline in the Express, suggesting England fans in Qatar might buy £19,000 hospitality suites that will not be subject to the BOOZE BAN. England fans “may have” to do this, you’ll note. There is no other option. Or, and this may sound insane, they might just watch matches whilst sober?


The sound of silence
There’s still more Ronaldo stuff, we’re afraid, even if it is at least kept off the front page of The Sun today by the cynically but actually quite adeptly reworked Christmas Three Lions which we really, really wanted to hate but don’t. (“She-Lions” is a bit weird, though)

Wayne Rooney has spoken about it because he was asked about it. Obviously this has gone through the Sun Journalese Machine and come out as Wayne Rooney “breaks silence” and “hits back” at Ronaldo’s criticism of his former team-mate. You already know this is going to be far less combustible than The Sun are making it out to be, and also far more reasonable than anything Ronaldo said.

“Cristiano Ronaldo’s a fantastic player and, as I’ve said before, he and Messi are the two best players probably to play the game.

“And, again, it’s not a criticism. What I’ve said is age comes to all of us, and Cristiano is obviously feeling now that he’s finally had to deal with that.

“Obviously, he’s done an interview, and it’s gone global, and it’s strange, some of the comments are strange.

“But I’m sure Manchester United will deal with it once they’ve seen the full interview, and they will take whatever action they need to take.”

Oh dear, this war of words is escalating fast.

Rooney advises Ronaldo Credit: Alamy
Rooney advises Ronaldo Credit: Alamy

Sack race
Over at theMail, meanwhile, that quote “I’m sure Manchester United will deal with it once they’ve seen the full interview, and they will take whatever action they need to take” becomes “Wayne Rooney appears to back Manchester United SACKING Cristiano Ronaldo as he responds to interview bombshell” because of course it does.


Free advice
Back to The Sun we go, where there’s some advice for Gareth Southgate based on “amazing stats”. But just what could these amazing stats be?

“Amazing stats show why Harry Kane, Mason Mount and James Maddison should NOT take England’s free-kicks at the World Cup,” announces the headline.

Well quite, comes our reply. Because it should be Kieran Trippier. Obviously.

“If England get a free-kick at the World Cup, only one man should be in contention to take it.”

Yes, Kieran Trippier. Scored one in the semi-final four years ago, didn’t he? Quite famously.

“And it’s not Harry Kane, not Mason Mount and not even set-piece specialists James Maddison or Trent Alexander-Arnold.”

No, it’s Kieran Trippier, who scored that one in the semi-final four years ago and has scored three free-kicks in the Premier League since joining Newcastle in January.

“Instead, their best chance of scoring comes from Kieran Trippier.”

Well… yeah. We know. The “amazing stat”, by the way, is that Trippier has scored four Premier League free-kicks from 25 attempts. We are not amazed.


Lovely bit of cherry-picking over at football.london to justify the following pretty ballsy headline and standfirst.

Arsenal already have their own Kylian Mbappe as Edu’s genius £6m decision pays dividends”

“Gabriel Martinelli has shown statistics for Arsenal this season which are similar to Kylian Mbappe at Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazilian has been rewarded with his fine form with a Brazil call-up”

Okay, we’re intrigued. And we should start by noting that we are also big fans of Gabriel Martinelli, who absolutely definitely was a bargain and an excellent bit of business by Arsenal. Stats which are similar to Kylian Mbappe at Paris Saint-Germain, though? We’re going to need to hear a bit more.

“Martinelli kicked off the first Premier League game of the season with a goal against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Since then, he has gone on to become one of the Premier League’s most potent attackers, which has been similar to Kylian Mbappe at Paris Saint-Germain.”

Starting to sense “similar” might be trying to carry an awful lot of weight here.

The Brazilian has a dribbling success rate of over 50% in the early months of the campaign. This is complemented by the fact that he has averaged just over two successful dribbles a match, which has been identical to Mbappe in this campaign.”

Ah for fu… No, fine, you’re right. They’re basically identical. Why compare anything else for these “potent attackers” like, for instance, goals when you can conclude Martinelli and Mbappe are “similar” based on their dribbling stats? Maybe because Martinelli’s record of five goals in 14 Premier League games is perfectly decent but not actually in fact all that similar to Mbappe’s record of 12 goals in 14 Ligue 1 games?

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