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The Week That Was

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Welcome to a quietest version of The Week That Was for some time. International weeks are usually bad enough, but with the majority of the qualifications for the World Cup already decided, there was even less to talk about, apart from whether you actually shelled out to watch England on your laptop.

Yes, the experiment proved either a ‘great success’ (if you are Kentaro, the rights distributor) or a bit of a flop if you’re just about anyone else. Less than 500,000 watched England’s 1-0 defeat in Ukraine, and had the BBC not been subject to a ‘gag’ in announcing that they had highlights until after the match was over there would have been even fewer.

Still, Robert Green became the first ever England goalkeeper to be sent off, which is about the only noteworthy thing to happen in an otherwise dead rubber. David Beckham’s facial hair, and his strange award of man of the match for 35 minutes ‘work’ later, and England had rounded off their qualifying campaign with 9 wins out of 10. Elsewhere Ireland assured their spot in the (unfair) playoffs, which will be drawn on Monday.

Across the Atlantic, we saw Maradona firstly celebrating a late (and offside) winner against Peru by performing his own version of a Klinsmann dive, followed up by telling the assembled press that they could ‘suck his d***’ after a late winner against Uruguay assured Argentina of their qualification for South Africa. One way or another, he’s certainly going to liven up this summer’s tournament.

There was a great buzz in the Azteca Stadium this week, too. Literally. A swarm of bees invaded one of the goals shortly after kick off, resulting in play between Mexico and El Salvador being suspended while officials fought them off with fire extinguishers. Bizarre.

Heading north, and there was sad news for the USA squad as striker Charlie Davies was involved in a serious car crash, which killed his female passenger. He is expected to spend several weeks in hospital with his injuries, and is unlikely to be back playing in time for the World Cup. His plight was not forgotten, though, as fans held up banners and lit flares 9 minutes in to the USA’s game with Costa Rica (Davies wears number 9 for the USA). A nice touch.

Back in England, and Everton this week launched a new kit, part of the proceeds of which go to support the charity set up for murdered schoolboy Rhys Jones – pre-orders of the kit are hitting record levels, so well done to the Blues for raising some serious cash for charity.

Across Stanley Park, Rafa Benitez was cleared of misconduct after his response to a journalist’s question following Liverpool’s opening day defeat to Spurs. Benitez made a point of cleaning his glasses when asked about the referee’s performance, but the panel decided not to find against him, seeing as the FA didn’t even bring a charge against Neil Warnock for doing this on the same day.

And that’s about it for us this week – have a great weekend!

 

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