TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES
Friendly isn’t so friendly
International week usually needs something to spice it up, but the crowd at Senegal and Ivory Coast’s game in Paris on Monday night took that to the extreme when the game had to be called off after their incursion onto the pitch.
The score was 1-1 with 88 minutes on the clock, but trouble in the stands spilled over onto the pitch and supporters flooded onto the field, with one unfortunate soul – Senegal’s Lamine Gassama – rugby tackled to the floor by a giddy fan. The players, rather understandably, very speedily did one down the tunnel, and the referee was forced to abandon the game.
This isn’t the first time a game between these two has been called off prematurely: when similar disturbances occurred during a play-off in 2012, Senegal were barred from competing in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. One wonders what, if any, sanctions will be handed down this time.
Loftus-Cheek stars for England Under-21s
The senior team may have served up a tedious lesson in routine competence at the weekend, so it was up to the kids to spice things up a bit, and they did that rather nicely.
England Under-21s strolled to a handy 4-0 win over their Danish counterparts on Monday evening, with Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek bagging a pair of goals, while Brighton winger Solly March and Fulham’s Cauley Woodrow got the others.
Attention now turns to the European Championships in the summer, where we’ll presumably be told that half of the senior team need to be sent in order to build up plenty of tournament experience, in order to prepare them for the World Cup. Given England went out in the group stage of the last U21 Euros, we’d say it sounds like ideal preparation.
Giroud ‘leaves a mark on history’
You’ll have your own opinion as to which was the better goal: a) Olivier Giroud’s ‘scorpion kick’ strike for Arsenal against Crystal Palace in which he stuck a leg out and just about managed, with a chunk of luck, to hook the ball in, or b) Andy Carroll’s magnificent, soaring, perfectly-executed scissor kick for West Ham, also against Palace, the poor blighters?
You can probably note where the Warm-Up lies on that scale, but as you might expect Giroud does not concur. “I don’t want to big myself up, but goals like mine leave a mark on history because they’re rare,” said Giroud, neglecting to mention an almost identical strike by Henrikh Mkhitaryan the previous month against Sunderland, and that you can find compilations of similar goals on YouTube with a quick search.
“Andy Carroll’s goal is magnificent, but maybe people won’t remember it in two years’ time. Mine, yes. It’s like Zlatan’s improbable overhead kick against England or Marco Van Basten’s volley, goals I would have liked to score.
And people say Arsenal are a team satisfied only with style over substance.
IN OTHER NEWS
Ref takes a stumble
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: The Warm-Up: A friendly isn’t so friendly, Giroud bigs himself up