WHAT’S that noise coming from Dublin? It sounds a bit like this: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! A-ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
I think it’s something to do with the incident that happened two minutes from the end of France’s tedious 0-0 draw with Uruguay in Cape Town. Thierry Henry hit a shot which came off the arm of Uruguay’s magnificently named defender Mauricio Victorino, and the referee didn’t give a penalty.
Henry appealing for handball in vain. Yes, that’s bound to raise a smile or two in the Republic of Ireland. If I were Richard Dunne (which I’m not), I would probably be laughing my head off now.
Perhaps Victorino could compound the irony by saying something along the lines of: “I will be honest, it was a handball, but I’m not the referee.” Maybe he could then suggest a replay, flying in the face of a FIFA ruling that has already been made on these matters.
On second thoughts, maybe not. I don’t think I could face watching this game again.
The first half had little to recommend it, save for a decent free kick from Yoann Gourcuff which almost embarrassed Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera. Other than that, the friends I was watching the game with amused themselves by noting that France’s shirts appeared to be too small for them, and Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez looked as if he might have once played a baddie in Sunset Beach.
But before I get on to what happened in the second half, it’s time for this blog to take a look at the mood in the England camp ahead of their opening game against the USA:
And I’m delighted to say that this blog will be assessing the mood of the England camp on a regular basis throughout the tournament, regardless of whether it has any relevance to the match I’m writing about.
Anyway, back to the match I was writing about. “It’s 25 years since there was a goal in a game between France and Uruguay,” said BBC commentator Steve Wilson as he strapped himself in for another 45 minutes of not very much.
There was a bit more action. Diego Forlan smacked a shot so horribly wide from 15 yards out that it was as if someone had plonked the Stretford End behind the goal. Nine minutes from the end, Nicolas Lodeiro put in his own bid to make things interesting by stupidly getting sent off for lunging at Bacary Sagna. Then came the Henry handball comedy moment. And that was it.
This was a game so poor, that it would have been last on Match of the Day had it been a Premier League match. As a result, I’m going to start up a World Cup Gubbometer and give both sides a point. I’ll continue doing this throughout the tournament.
It will, admittedly, be far more subjective than the MOTD Gubbometer I’ve run for the last three years. But it’s the only hope in hell France or Uruguay have of winning anything this summer.
World Cup Gubbometer
1=. France: 1
1=. Uruguay: 1
3=. Everybody else: 0
(NB. Teams are awarded one point every time they take part in a game so mind-numbingly tedious that it would almost certainly have been last on Match of the Day had it been a Premier League fixture. There are no other rules. Sorry.)