From Russia With Love: Whatever they’re eating is doing the trick

VAR has a lot to answer for, husband and wife hairdo, and Alan Sugar please stop

Artem Dzyuba of Russia celebrates scoring against Egypt at Saint Petersburg Stadium. Photograph: Getty Images

Artem Dzyuba of Russia celebrates scoring against Egypt at Saint Petersburg Stadium. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Russian pep
Playing a World Cup in your home country is always sure to give you an extra adrenaline rush and a pep in your step and for Russia it certainly has. The hosts - who all but secured their last 16 place with a 3-1 win over Egypt on Tuesday - have collectively run further in their two matches (118km and 115km) than any other team has done in any game. They also had four players in the top 10 for distance covered after the first round of group games. Whatever they’re eating is doing the trick.

Not even the best fans in green?
You Boys In Green unite, you have some competition for The Best Fans In The World™ status. Who could forget the antics in France two years ago when babies were sung to sleep, tyres were changed and an award was won for Ireland fans just being sound and having the best of clean banter. Well, Senegal are leading the stakes so far in Russia. After their 2-1 win over Poland in Moscow on Tuesday the Senegalese fans were filmed cleaning up after themselves in the stadium after the final whistle. Yep, the green, yellow and red clad supporters were going down the rows of seats picking up everything from empty pint cups to abandoned vuvuzelas and piling them all up nicely for the cleaners to take away. If we do manage to qualify for Qatar in four years the Boys In Green will need to up their game big time.

Get following . . . 
If you don’t already follow the excellent Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) on Twitter then you really should. Among his best threads are ‘Real life football pictures that look like Fifa screenshots’ but during this tournament he’s been adding retro World Cup graphics to TV screenshots. One of the best so far is undoubtedly ‘Tunisia v England World Cup Italia 90-ed’.

By The Numbers
9: That’s the number of penalties that have already been given in just 17 games at this year’s World Cup. That’s a penalty in just under 60 per cent of all matches, three times more than the average at a 32-team World Cup and we’re only a week in. VAR has a lot to answer for.

Word Of Mouth
“There was one minute to kick-off. I was under a lot of pressure because there was one minute left and I didn’t know if I could do it in half a minute. So I just did a one minute countdown.” - Robbie Williams gives a very strange explanation as to why he stuck one finger up at the camera - specifically his middle finger - during his performance at the opening ceremony.

Hairstyles Of The Week: This award could go to former Colombia player Carlos Valderrama every week but this time it’s only fitting that it’s a joint award. That’s because Los Cafeteros’ most-capped player was spotted in the stands at their 2-1 loss to Japan on Tuesday alongside his wife . . . who has exactly the same hairdo! Elvira Redondo has copied her husband’s locks and, even better, they appeared at the match wearing identical jerseys from the 1998 World Cup where Valderrama played the final game for his country in their 2-0 loss to England.

Worst Tweet Of The Week Award: Some people just should not be allowed to have Twitter. We’ve seen plenty of nightmares from famous people airing . . . eh . . . not so savoury ideas on the social media platform in the past and the latest victim is Alan Sugar. Yes, that bloke from The Apprentice who said “you’re fired” and pointed with his right finger. Well, on Wednesday he had a complete Twitter disaster.

Now, if that wasn’t bad enough he then only went and made it worse. Instead of firing out the old “apologies, my account was hacked” line, he tried to defend it. “Why not it is meant to be funny … for god sake” and “I cant see what I have to apologise for … you are OTT … its a bloody joke,” was his next tweet.

Seriously, just stop now, Alan. Nope.

“Just been reading the reaction to my funny tweet about the guy on the beach in Marbella. Seems it has been interpreted in the wrong way as offensive by a few people. Frankly I can’t see that, I think it’s funny. But I will pull it down if you insist.”

He’s now so far down the hole he dug for himself that we can’t even see him anymore.

An Irish World Cup?
Ireland ever hosting a World Cup has always been beyond a fantastical idea even with the influence of John Delaney at the top table of world football. However, we’ve been backed to host the 2030 tournament, along with England, by an old friend of Delaney.

Yep, Sepp Blatter - who of course Delaney hashed out an agreement to the tune of €5 million with after Ireland’s elimination at the hand of Thierry Henry - has said that England and Ireland should host the tournament in 12 years time.

Blatter - who is currently banned by Fifa - is in Russia at the World Cup as a guest of Vladimir Putin (are you surprised?) and told Sky Sports: “I think that England, or the islands, they deserve to organise the World Cup.

“They had it in 1966 so it’s a long time ago. (I was told that) it could be with Wales and Scotland together but I said why not Ireland altogether?

“With 48 teams you need more than one country to host it.”

It’s not what you’d call a ringing endorsement so don’t get your hopes up just yet.

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