Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images
JUST TOOK TWO TIGHTS IN, GUYS
Well done, France, they are 198th. If France are standing as Michael Owen in this slightly stretched analogy, Football Daily is giving Neville Southall a big thumbs up after watching France’s superb 14-0 win [FOURTEEN – Football Daily Vidiprinter] on Gibraltar, the biggest win in men’s Euro qualifying history. Think of the elite, with a population as large as the 3rd Arrondissement, living in a mountainous territory of two and a half square miles, which was reduced to 10 men after the early red card of Ethan Santos. Kudos to France, who have reached the last two World Cup finals and count some of the world’s best and most expensive players among their ranks.
For anyone who took a modicum of joy from Olivier Giroud jumping in the air to scissor-kick the 14th hammer blow and the final blow to Gibraltar’s cause, shame on you [that’s us told – Football Daily Ed]. The result is bad for football, bad for competitiveness, bad for class, decorum and the spirit of the game. It is good for almost anyone, unless you are Giroud (to extend his record as Les Bleus‘ all-time top scorer to 56 with two late strikes) and Kylian Mbappé (who scored a hat-trick and is now third with 46 goals, five behind Thierry Henry). Both celebrated their final victory as they were the winner of the Grand Cup final.
Some will defend France, arguing that showing mercy in football is a kind of loser mentality. Those people probably like Donald Trump and enjoy putting cats in litter boxes, and they shouldn’t be listened to. At least head coach Didier Deschamps kept things in perspective at half-time with his side 7-0 up. “Full marks lads for the first half,” he said to the dressing room. “We’ll have more of the same in the second one. Keep things as simple as possible and when we can we score. There are no limits. I want the same determination from everyone. Don’t bother the boys.” Reader, they were not.
“Even if we could have been more effective, it’s as much about respecting the opponent as it is about scoring goals,” Deschamps continued after the shootout. “Fourteen isn’t bad. It’s also about setting higher goals and not being satisfied with what we have. This squad is competitive, they always want more.” Meanwhile, Gibraltar decided not to speak to the press, but a senior source told the Gibraltar Chronicle that it was “like a morgue” in the away dressing room, adding that “players were crying, silent, heads down and not a word was spoken”. Next up for Julio Ribas’ team, who are still scoreless in qualifying: the visit of their colleagues … The Netherlands. Who knows what would happen at the Estádio Algarve? Hurry up for the current format of international football! Bring you more of the 2026 World Cup qualifying tournaments and 48-team tournaments!
LIVE ON A BIG WEBSITE
Join Rob Smyth from 7.45pm GMT for MBM’s Euro 2024 qualifying coverage of Ukraine 1-1 Italy. Scott Murray will be here for North Macedonia 1-2 England.
STATEMENT OF THE DAY
“I have protected people for a long time. Far too long as I see things happening this season. I’m stuck in games sometimes and I’m wondering what’s going on? So much so that I have gone and reviewed every session we have done since I came to the football club. I understand that people go beyond this but I want them to be professional in what they are doing, because the sessions are set up as if they are going to go and relax. Get their rest and adequate hydration in and eat at the right times. I find out that the players are on their computers for eight hours before games. I had to go and pay to talk to someone to say this what is happening to my players. This week they came back with: ‘They are gambling.’ I was like: ‘They play games in training.’ I thought that meant but no, they play on their Xboxes and PlayStations. I talk to boys and they are spending, six, seven hours sitting in one place, fixed eyes – glued – on the television. Then they want to go and play a game the next day. And you’re wondering why you can’t focus? Come on” – after a 3-1 home win against Kelty Hearts left his side in eighth place in Scottish League One, Queen of the South manager Marvin Bartley is cracking down on the players’ playing habits .
DAILY FOOTBALL LETTERS
Re: inappropriately named clubs (Football letters in the day passim), I have to mention the Chilean side Santiago Wanderers, currently playing in the second tier of the nations league. As the oldest club in Chile, they have been in the same city since 1892, and at the same ground since 1931, so the nickname ‘Wanderers’ doesn’t really fit. What is more significant than that, is the ‘Santiago’ part of his sobriquet, because the team has been based since they were founded in the second city in Chile Valparaiso, around 134km from the capital” – Jonathan Jucker.
We are used to stories of riot police and fan violence in South America (Football Daily letters passim), but not so in noble Switzerland. In 2006 my wife took up a new job in Basel and, while I was still in the UK managing transfers and lettings, she was invited to a Sunday afternoon game at St Jakob-Park, for Basel v FC Zurich. What she didn’t know was that it was the last game of the season, Basel only needed to avoid defeat to win the title from their opponents. Oh, and the fans of these two teams don’t like each other. Zurich won 2-1, Basel fans stormed the pitch and fought the police, who used water cannons and rubber bullets. Outside, the away fans were not well protected and there were more violent scenes and battles with the police. In the end 100 people were injured, £350,000 of damage was done to the stadium and, two years later, 26 Basel fans were on trial. Welcome to Switzerland!” – Mark Bennett.
If, as Scott McTominay argues, ‘football is not crying all the time like babies’ (Friday’s News, Bits and Bobs, full email edition), how does he explain Bruno Fernandes?” – Ed Taylor (and others).
Send any letters to email@example.com. Today’s winning letter is … Jonathan Jucker, who offers a copy of Arsène Who? by Ryan Baldi. We have more to give away all week, so get typing.