SRB 0 GHA 1: That’s not my name

GOOD news for all you John Pantsil fans. His name has just acquired yet another spelling.

He already had two. The Fulham and Ghana full-back’s family name is Paintsil, but was mistakenly registered as Pantsil when he was born.

Pantsil is the name on his passport, so that was how the Premier League had to register him when he arrived at West Ham from Hapoel Tel Aviv in August 2006, and that is the name he wears on the back of his shirt when he plays for Fulham.

But still confusion reigns. Should we call him Paintsil or Pantsil? The person responsible for Ghana’s shirts has come up with a compromise by calling him neither. And so the defender went into his country’s game against Serbia in Pretoria with ‘Panstil’ on the back of his shirt.

There are two possible explanations for this: 1) It was a cock-up. 2) Pantsil is a big fan of Fawlty Towers, and has asked for the letters in his name to be rearranged on his shirt for each match, as a nod to the classic hotel-based BBC sitcom’s opening credits:

If Ghana progress in the tournament, expect to see Pilstan, Plastin, Stilpan, Palnits and Tanlips. And maybe even Flowery Twats if they get to the final.

There was just about enough action in the second half of this game to save it from the World Cup Gubbometer.

Serbia (which is an anagram of ‘rabies’) looked useful in their build-up play, without threatening the goal of Ghana. (Can’t think of an anagram for them. Ahang? Hagna? No, they’re not even words. Sorry.)

But Ghana had the better of the game even before Serbia defender Aleksandar Lukovic (don’t even ask for an anagram there) was sent off for holding back Asamoah Gyan on the halfway line with 16 minutes left.

Gyan had already headed against the post by that point, although Serbia rallied briefly after the sending off, with Ghana keeper Richard Kingson making a decent stop from Milos Krasic.

Then came the contender for silliest penalty ever conceded at a World Cup finals match, as Zdravko Kuzmanovic (surely an anagram in its own right) waved his arm about as if hailing a taxi and handled a cross, then had the cheek to protest when a penalty was awarded.

Gyan’s penalty was straight out of the ‘shut your eyes and blast it’ school, but it did the job. Panstil and Co were delihgted.

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