World Cup round-up: What’s in a name?

Hello people, happy Friday.

Yesterday was my least watched day of the World Cup so far. I did not see Granit Xhaka’s Switzerland beat Cameroon 1-0, and I did not see the 0-0 between South Korea and Uruguay. From what I understand, I didn’t miss much in the second instance, and I didn’t see anyone saying much about the Swiss victory.

I watched the next two games, and when I was 0-0 at half time I thought Portugal-Ghana was going to be another boring one. Then Cristiano Ronaldo did the most Cristiano Ronaldo thing: he dove to earn a penalty and then celebrated the goal too hard. I think that when a new organization comes in to replace FIFA and I somehow take over, I will make it mandatory for the first goal of any game that takes place in the first half, or the first 15 minutes of the second. halfway through, can only be celebrated with a firm handshake and a round of “Very well done, old man” (or the local equivalent in the team’s language).

Ghana quickly equalized, but Portugal responded to score twice to move up 3-1. They looked over, but then it was 3-2 with a couple of minutes left in regulation, and of course you have to factor in the 73 minutes of added time at the end of each game. And boy, boy, did we almost have a World Cup moment to remember. Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa nearly got caught when he didn’t remember/realize Iñaki Williams was behind him. Shay Given and Dion Dublin shades from so many years ago. Unfortunately, the one from Athletic Bilbao slipped at the vital moment and Portugal got away with it.

It’s too bad because it would have been absolutely hilarious. I wish it had happened so I could sit on the couch rewinding and replaying Ronaldo’s face while the director inevitably cut him off on the bench. Horror? Disbelief? Rage? All those things at once? And with a redness that would be difficult to explain. Some kind of internal nuclear explosion that would have made his neck glow like a Dyno-Rod van. Iñaki Williams is now a villain for denying us that? Maybe, but maybe we should target his stud maker first, and if it happens again, we’ll attack him.

The other thing to note is that the Portugal goalkeeper is called Diogo Costa, a very familiar-sounding name that I really don’t like. In the same way, if I came across a Bill Collins, a Larry Kane, a Gianni Infantito, a Piers Dorgan, a Darth Crooks or a Danny Gills, I would immediately think ‘Whew, too close.’

Some will say, ‘Hey, he can’t do anything with his name,’ but of course that’s nonsense. He could easily change it by public deed to anything he wanted. Think of the possibilities, they are endless. Clint Truffle. Paolo Galapogos. Malcolm eggs. Bob Trumpet. Michael Tampa Bay. Joao Frolic. Bernardo Thunder. Dave tablet. I’m just looking at the stuff on my desk right now. But you know where I come from. I’m sorry, but as long as Portugal has both Ronaldo and a man in goal who sounds like that evil former Chelsea striker, I can’t help but wish them an early exit from the tournament.

Later, Gabriel Jesús and Gabriel Martinelli joined Brazil, which beat Serbia 2-0. No idea who scored.

Besides, and by the way, as much as we all love the game, does anyone else feel personally offended when a player you can’t stand scores a really good goal? That thought occurred to me this morning for no good reason, and I was interested in his comments.

Anyway, later today we have some decent games, but the most interesting one looks like England vs USA tonight. The Bukayo Saka v Matt Turner derby, as it is known around the world. I’ll miss the first half of this one because I’m playing 5 a side, but I’m looking forward to tuning in for the second half in the car on the way home. Football on the radio, medium waves, the sounds of commentary and play drifting in and out, growing quieter and louder. I expect good cloud cover because that makes for much better reception from the BBC transmitter in Wales.

Just a quick note for those who normally receive the daily blog via email. We’ve been having some issues lately, but rest assured we’re working on it and normal service should resume soon. In the meantime, you can always do the old thing and visit the website, or download the Arseblog app for iOS or Android.

Right, that’s your lot for now, the podcast will follow a bit later this morning. Until then, have a good time.

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