Archive for July 2010
Following the suspension of the entire French World Cup squad, here’s an exclusive look at Laurent Blanc’s first French team for their upcoming friendly with Norway:
Goalkeeper: Fabien Barthez. Selected so the coach can snog his head.
Left-back: Serge Blanco. Possibly the best full-back of all-time.
Centre-back: Louis Bleriot. Ahead of his time, great in the air.
Centre-back: Inspector Clouseau. Suspect defender, most known for comedic calamities. Bit like a French Titus Bramble.
Right-back: Napoleon Bonaparte. Pocket battleship of a full-back, very ambitious in attack. Never properly recovered from an unsuccessful spell in Russia.
Left-wing: David Ginola. Fairytale return for the man ostracized from the national team for overhitting a cross. If nothing else, will have the best hair in the side.
Centre-midfield: Claude Monet. Creative midfielder whose talent lies in short imaginitive passing.
Centre-midfield: Joan of Arc. Combative and determined. Plays with the conviction that God is on her side. He’s watching from the hospitality boxes.
Right-wing: Nicolas Sarkozy. Controversial choice, only marginally more popular than the World Cup squad.
Forward: Asterix. Diminutive but powerful player, happiest playing in the hole behind a larger striker. Terrific record against the Italians. Added bonus that magic potion is not on FIFA’s list of banned substances.
Forward: Gerard Depardieu. Big lump.
Bonne chance, chaps.
You know something strange has happened on the sports field when someone takes a photo like this. It’s as if it hasn’t really happened unless it’s appeared on the scoreboard. I laughed so hard when I saw this I sicked up a little bit of my McFlurry down my shirt. And I already knew the score.
It’s a really nice memento of a hilarious day of cricket.
The shirt that is.
Listen to this song by French electronica wizards Daft Punk and imagine that they’ve written it about Staffordshire golfer Robert Rock:
It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the duo penned this tune as an homage. Rock does have his own intrinsic cool, with his steadfast refusal to wear any headgear lest it destroy his magnificent side-parting. Or his vague resemblance to a slightly geekier Miami Vice-era Don Johnson.
Rock. Robert Rock.
The Open Championship has developed a recent habit of throwing forward unheralded winners. Normally it is a faceless American who arrives late from the pack and steals off with the Claret Jug when no-one is looking.
But Louis Oosthuizen has led since Friday. And he has a four-shot lead. And his nearest challenger is English and therefore genetically programmed to fade away in the final round. I assumed that he’d blow it yesterday and we’d forget he was even playing until he slunk apologetically up the 18th fairway. Let’s see if he can carry on the good work today:
1st: Louis turns up in bright white trousers. This is a good start. Those are champion’s trousers alright. Paul Casey’s trousers appear to be the vaguest shade of off-white. He misses a little one for a birdie. Time to get a new washing machine. Lead 4 shots.
2nd: Casey drops one. Louis pars. His unshaven look is making him look a bit like Jimmy Anderson, which maybe explains why his birdie putt swings late away from the hole. Lead 5 shots.
3rd: No-one is scoring any birdies. Including Louis. He doesn’t need to. Still waiting for the collapse. Might go for a snooze. Lead 5 shots.
4th: This is becoming a procession. Hit it in the bunker, Louis. Hit it in a gorse bush. Hit it in the sea. Hit a small child. Make it interesting. Please. Lead 5 shots.
5th: Just once it would be funny if Louis Oosthuizen looked fretfully after his ball having teed off as opposed to fetching up his tee peg confidently. The man is a machine. A gap-toothed driving machine. But wait. He’s hit his second into something that looks like heather. Oh no, it’s just normal rough. If it was heather it might have been interesting. That’s the level of desperation we’re working at here. Lead 5 shots.
6th: Louis pars again. He’s a solid as a Robert Rock. At least Casey picks up his first birdie. Lead 4 shots.
7th: Ken Brown clutches at straws as Louis wallops another down the middle of the fairway. Bit close to the green? That’s right, Kenny. A bit close. Louis finds the centre of putting surface and another facile par. Lead 4 shots.
8th: At last, Oosthuizen smothers one off the tee at the short hole, and finally leaves himself a missable one for par. Which he duly misses! I just spat out my beans on toast. Lead 3 shots.
9th: Oosthuizen drains an eagle putt at the short-par four. Poirot is looking good over on ITV. Watching Poirot with bean juice down my shirt…..Lead 4 shots.
10th: Louis has picked up an annoying trait of letting go of his club as if he’s snap-hooked it into Dundee, when it’s actually sailing down the fairway. Just to tease us. It’s another par. Lead 4 shots.
11th: Oosthuizen looking shaky on the par-3 again. Pity it’s the last one. This is nothing personal against Louis. I’m just a bit underwhelmed. He still strokes in the par putt. Lead 4 shots.
12th: Casey hooks one into the gorse. The game is up. And Ken Brown knows it. Apparently Rory McIlroy is having a charge having hit two birdies. He’s nine shots back. Casey racks up a 7, triple-booger. Oosthuizen birdies. You have say to fair play, but I feel a bit empty inside. Lead 8 shots.
13th: Hazel Irvine forlornly attempting to ramp up the interest by proposing some records for Louis to break. Another parzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Lead 8 shots.
14th: Mark James claims hole-in-one as Oosthuizen knocks his drive into a sprinkler head in the middle of the fairway. It’s the most interesting thing thats happened in a while. The race for second is tightening up. It’s all about the runners-up spot. No-one cares who wins. Lead 8 shots.
15th: Dustin Johnson hits it into some souvenir shops at the side of the 18th. You don’t see that very often. Well done Dustin. There are boogers everywhere: Kaymer, Westwood and Casey. Lead 9 shots.
16th: Peter Oosterhuis pars. Lead 8 shots.
17th: Ooh the Road Hole. You can rack up a score here. Would have to be quite a big score. My mum hit a 27 at a single hole once, including 13 in the same bunker. Louis only manages a disappointing bogey. Poor effort. Lead 7 shots.
18th: Sam Torrance still commentating as if the result is in doubt. Get with the programme, Sam. Louis Oosthuizen has won. Nice work.
Although the fact that you have a new putter is fascinating, mainly we are more interested that you enjoy throttling suspicious-looking women with lots of tattoos. Did you see that documentary on the telly the other day? You were probably busy. It was very enlightening.
Please be aware that the nubile female population of the university has long since left on their summer hols, there are now just depressed-looking men in cagoules. That nice lady with the soft Irish voice who keeps chasing you down the fairway is only interested in what club you might be taking for your next shot. She is off limits. If you do feel the urge, then I reckon Hazel Irvine might be up for it. Something in the eyes.
Good luck this weekend, Tiger. Keep your eye on the ball. Even if it’s wobbling around by your feet.
Love Harris Sportsthoughts
It seems that thoracic assault is becoming a tradition in World Cup finals. Nigel de Jong’s ambush on Xabi Alonso’s chest is less iconic than Zidane’s effort four years ago, but will endure in similar fashion. And we should be thankful for that.
Because without the brutal tactics of De Jong and the rest of the Dutch peril, the final may have played out between two nice passive sides with all the incident of a game of backgammon. It may not have been football, and it may not have been likeable, but at least it was something. Something to provide a compelling narrative between the forces of good and orange. Something to talk about at half-time. Like Alan Hansen, who seemed weirdly and wildly scandalised by the Dutch antics, as if horrid memories of a childhood trauma involving his chest had been revived.
My favourite thing about this photo is not the fact that it represents that the best team won the World Cup. And it’s not Sergio Ramos indulging in the world’s happiest stretch. Or Juan Mata celebrating in the David May tradition of bit part player in position of unnecessary prominence. It’s not even Gerard Pique’s magnificent gnashers.
It’s Sepp Blatter and Jacob Zuma sidling away giggling like a couple of schoolboys who’ve just replaced the real World Cup with one of those trick ones that explode in your face. You can get them in most good joke shops.