It’s that time of the week again when we have a look at some of the week’s top sports stories…
Could it be coming home?
England are among the favourites for the upcoming Euro 2020 Championship, giving fans hope that this time “football may be coming home.” A more balanced England squad, apart from the million right-backs, is likely to have given England fans a sense of hope. There is plenty of exciting football to be played before the champions get crowned next month, but let’s take a moment to think about the players that are missing out…
Feel free to put on sad music, maybe by Enya.
Erling Haaland – Norway didn’t qualify for the tournament. They were eliminated by Serbia in a playoff, and then Serbia lost to Scotland. Even worse for Norwegians is that both Sweden and Finland are in the finals.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – It turns out that lions also get injured, especially when they are nearing 40 years old. Short lived comeback for the Swede who’s nation will have to compete in the finals without him.
Virgil Van Dijk – Jordan Pickford really did do a number on big Virgil. Since his absence (October 17, 2020) both Liverpool and Holland have looked very poor at the back.
Ansu Fati – The young Spaniard was likely to be a contender for the Young Player of the Tournament award, but instead he has had his third knee-surgery. A player who will never hit the heights that is expected if he is this injury prone already.
Jerome Boateng – Germany coach Joachim Low has left out the experienced defender. Low has been coming under a lot of scrutiny after Germany’s poor showing at the 2018 World Cup. Someone was bound to pay the price for it, and Boateng ended up being the scapegoat. He is likely to retire from International football unless the incoming Hans Flick picks him during the World Cup 2022 qualifiers.
Ivan Rakitic – This one was a simple one… Rakitic retired from International football, which is a sign that the end of Croatia’s current generation of players has begun.
There will be more on the Euros in another post prior to the tournament…
Quick update on the ESL…
UEFA and the creators of the ESL are going to the European Court of Justice after the ESL claimed that UEFA broke European laws for competition. Irony of that claim is knowing that the ESL eliminated all competition. UEFA plans to give a “robust” defence of its decision, and if the Court of Justice rules in UEFA’s favour, expect them to suspend Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus from all UEFA competition.
Brazil’s a better option, right?
The most bizarre decision of the week has to be from South America. The South American Football Federation (Conmebol) have made the decision to move the Copa America competition from Argentina after a surge in Covid-19 cases, in an attempt to aid player and fan safety. Very good decision, except that they decided to move it to Brazil. Brazil is still not in great condition and won’t be for a long time thanks to an incompetent leader. Jair Bolsanero doesn’t have a mask policy, and would rather see people die than to quarantine them, so how in the hell is Brazil a good place to host such a tournament.
Absolutely ludicrous! No other way to describe it.
Erm, where’s Carlo?
So, Carlo Ancelotti couldn’t get himself back to Real Madrid quick enough it seems. The Italian brow raiser has left Merseyside so quickly that there was an animated puff of dust left in his wake. With Ancelotti’s departure, five premier league teams are now without a manager. Who will take these spots?
I would have personally applied after holding down the managerial spot at AC Milan for over a decade on Football Manager, but my recent move to Chelsea means that I am happy for now. As a result, Everton, Spurs, Palace, Wolves and the relegated West Brom need to look elsewhere.
You’d expect Wolves to hire in a Portuguese manager as they love having a solid Portuguese Contingent. Sam Allardyce could be an outsider for the Palace job, and Antonio Conte is being considered for the Spurs role. Most surprising rumour is the possibility of Stevie G filling in at Everton, which is not going to happen.
Lebron on the verge of elimination
Lebron James and the LA Lakers are 3-2 down in the best of seven series against the Phoenix Suns. Before you go around thinking this is an upset, it is important to remember that since the bubble last year, the Suns have been fantastic! A few injuries suffered by the Lakers hasn’t helped their cause, but as long as Anthony Davis can come back, and Lebron stays fit, they have a chance, albeit a slim one. They will have to stop Devin Booker if they are to have any chance of staying in the playoffs.
The remaining two series that are yet to be decided are both going down to the wire with Denver Nuggets beating Portland 3-2 and Mavericks up by the same score against LA Clippers, thanks to a one-man demolition job by Luka Doncic.
Elsewhere, the Bucks have eliminated the Heat, and will now face the Nets, who have been the favourites to win the title since day one. The 76ers eliminated the Wizards, thanks to 30 points from Seth Curry, and will now play Atlanta Hawks after they beat the Knicks. Utah Jazz have eliminated the Memphis Grizzlies after another excellent performance by Donovan Mitchell.
But I don’t like that part of my job.
As people, we need to understand that mental illness affects plenty of people, and there are many ways in which it can be an issue, but if giving interviews is part of your job, and you make millions of dollars doing that said job, you either have to suck it up, or quit. That was the decision facing tennis star Naomi Osaka.
Prior to the French Open – one of the four majors of the calendar – Osaka posted online that she will not be doing any interviews. She stuck to it after her first round match, which she won. Problem is that media interviews are part of what the players have to do. She was fined $15,000 for her absence, and threatened with expulsion if she continued to miss interviews. Naomi Osaka didn’t wait to see what would happen, and instead withdrew from the tournament, forfeiting all prize money along the way. A huge statement by the 23-year-old.
Anyone who has seen her do interviews can see that she is uncomfortable, but tennis players have no choice. The interviews are what allows the fans to get an insight into the players, and their thoughts, and helps promote the game. Picking and choosing which parts of your job you want to do, and which responsibilities you can shirk is unfair on everyone else.
Osaka is going to take some time away from the game, and that’s good for her. However, when she comes back, the media responsibilities she will have will be way more than they were before this week.
Is this even legal?
A few weeks ago, Floyd Mayweather and Jake Paul had a hat incident. This weekend, Logan Paul – Jake’s brother – will be fighting Mayweather in a fight with no judges. The fight is an exhibition, with no official winner to be declared, hence the lack of judges. Only a knockout or a stoppage by the referee is acceptable. Essentially it is a brawl between the two fighters. It’s not a surprise that the fight is an exhibition, so that Floyd Mayweather can keep his untarnished 50-0 record. Plus, the difference in weight between the two brawlers is an important factor in making this an exhibition. Mayweather is expected to weigh in at 160lbs, but if Logan Paul is any heavier that 190lbs, he will be fined $100,000 for every pound he is over.
Ultimately, many people will undoubtedly watch, and fill the pockets of these men and the companies that broadcast such events.
Logan’s hat stealing brother, Jake, will be fighting current MMA fighter, Tyron Woodley.