WEDNESDAY'S BIG STORIES
That own goal though. Did you see it? You have to see it
Now the Warm Up doesn’t wish to shatter illusions, but let it give you a glimpse inside the creative process that spawns this perfectly formed gem of morning hilarity.
The Warm Up spends six hours a day scouring Twitter for content to steal from other, funnier people. If, at any point, it sees an amusing blooper or chucklesome own goal, it bookmarks the link to insert in the lower half of the next day’s edition. In Other News? Heroes and Zeroes? It doesn’t matter. There’ll be a place for this little slice of absurdity.
What generally doesn’t happen is the clip ends up being trumpeted as one of the day’s main news items. That would be lazy, and suggest the Warm Up has its finger further from the pulse than a really, really incompetent doctor (hmm, that one needs work).
And yet, when Juninho Bacuna is capable of producing this, how can anyone now believe that this is one of the day’s two or three most significant football happenings?
And sure – we could break down what he was thinking, and just how galactically unfortunate a sequence of events had to take place for the goal to occur. But that would be like glimpsing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and asking, Dulux or Crown Paints? Great art should simply be enjoyed, not deconstructed.
Jamie Vardy’s having a (retirement) party
Farewell to two of England’s World Cup foot soldiers – Jamie Vardy and Gary Cahill have withdrawn from international service.
They combined for 87 caps and 12 goals, and unforgettable moments such as that Vardy flick against Germany, Cahill watching Zlatan’s 40-yarder sail majestically over his head and... well, there was probably some other stuff we didn’t notice.
Neither were close to being key members of the England World Cup squad – though Vardy was drastically underused by Gareth Southgate in games when England needed a late goal.
He didn’t get on against Tunisia, had eight minutes against Croatia, and only played extra time against Colombia because he’d come on as an 88th-minute time-killing sub before Yerry Mina’s equaliser.
While admitting his frustration, Vardy was diplomacy personified – not always the case – in his statement, when such announcements can often bring snide passive-aggression.
Likewise Gary Cahill, who played even less than Vardy in Russia. Both players were generous towards Gareth Southgate and his preference for youth, and both said they’d play again if emergency circumstances demanded it.
England's defender Gary Cahill (L) and England's forward Jamie Vardy attend a training session at Spartak Zelenogorsk Stadium in Saint Petersburg on June 19, 2018, during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament
Image credit: Getty Images
Their withdrawal takes experience away from an already youthful squad. Players supposedly peak in their late 20s, but just one player over 28 (Ashley Young) from the World Cup squad will continue with England.
Not to be a fun sponge, but here’s predicting the shoots of an anti-Southgate backlash when an experienced, well-drilled Spain side play England off the park at Wembley next week.
Long-time Manchester United target signs for someone else
Good news for The Warm-Up’s favourite football niche – Dutch Players Linked With Manchester United For Half A Dozen Straight Transfer Windows Who Then Sign For Someone A Bit Underwhelming!
The exclusive club has a second new member this summer! So, Kevin Hofland (PSV-Wolfsburg, 2004), Wesley Sneijder (Inter-Galatasaray, 2012) and Justin Kluivert (Ajax-Roma 2018), please welcome Kevin Strootman (Roma-Marseille, 2018)!
Marseille’s Fortnite-style banter vid to greet the announcement was... pretty good, we guess?
IN OTHER NEWS
And this is what we’d still be watching if not for ‘one of the biggest carve ups in TV history’.
HEROES AND ZEROES
Hero: This absolute genius at Stoke-Huddersfield
Remember that excellent Roy Keane tale of enjoying going to Wigan because he could sit on his own on the far stand without anyone bothering him?
Well, it's fun to imagine Keano looking daggers at the steward for daring to sit 10 rows behind him.
Zero: Donald Trump
Well, of course. Always. But today, it’s for this.
Asked how he thinks he is perceived as a person, Vardy replies: "Probably a tw*t."
This Jamie Vardy interview in the Guardian is enlightening and amusing. Do read it.
Gary Cahill here in 2012. Not very good at kick-ups with a tennis ball, but the size of that house represents a deafening last laugh.
We’ve got minute-by-minute coverage of the Champions League play-off between PAOK and Benfica plus live scores from tonight’s four Carabao Cup games including the Jermaine Jenas derby between Nottingham Forest and Newcastle.