Geordie soccer pundit Alan Shearer commenting after the Liverpool-Wigan match on Match of the Day last night:

I have to say, it was a very, very good game of football, with some top players on show from both sides—and I include Wigan in that.

Three easy points

On the marvel Millichip the F.A. broods

In celebration of the return of Association Football to our television sets (has it really only been 3.4 nanoseconds?), we give you the timeless Kicker Conspiracy by the equally timeless The Fall:

(Come on you Reds!)

Pathetic, overpaid, mincing prima donnas

BBC: England 2–3 Croatia

England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 after losing a sensational game against Croatia at Wembley.

Why do we waste valuable airtime on these pathetic no marks? Time to embrace a vastly superior sport as our national game.

See also:

(Well done, Croatia, by the way. You showed up our pathetic, overpaid, mincing prima donnas for what they are: a bunch of pathetic, overpaid, mincing prima donnas.)

'The Beautiful Game', my peach-like arse!

Right in the nuts

Just not cricket: Wayne 'Shrek' Rooney gives Carvalho one in the nuts. That has got to smart.

I'm sorry, call me unpatriotic and old-fashioned, but, if you stamp on a chap's nuts, you don't deserve to win a local five-a-side pub soccer match, let alone the sodding World Cup. That's not the English way of doing things.

Wayne Rooney, if you're reading this (read a lot, do you, Wayne?), you are a disgrace to your team-mates, and to your country. Unfortunately, as is not usually the case with Man U players, your country also happens to be my country. I hope you're bloody ashamed of yourself.

What am I talking about? Of course you're not.

The short-ball game, apparently

Honestly, why won't people listen?

Guardian: Eriksson promises the return of the short ball

…"When Crouch is on the pitch we play too many long balls. I can agree to that," Eriksson said. "Statistically we played 50% long balls and 50% through midfield. Tomorrow I suppose the team will play more short balls."

We are going absolutely nowhere in this tournament, mark my words.

The long-ball game

I was collared by a soccer fan in the kitchen at work this afternoon. He asked me if I'd seen the England v Trinidad and Tobago match last night. I said I'd caught the last 20 minutes. We agreed that our lads played like a bunch of girls. We then proceeded to have an entire conversation about football.

I must have acquitted myself rather well, as my colleague clearly didn't twig that I hadn't the faintest idea what I was talking about. Hell, I even managed to slip in a reference to the Republic of Ireland's adoption of the long-ball game in a previous tournament. I heard Jackie Charlton mention it on Desert Island Discs.

I'm not entirely sure what the long-ball game is (I suspect the clue's in the name), but I reckon it's time our bunch of girls adopted it. If it's good enough for Big Jack, then it's good enough for England.

See also: My photos from Tobago on Flickr