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Monday, 11 July 2016

Shite is the new good

'What do you mean no more nutmegs?'

Tactical trends borne of tournaments are nothing new and it’s fitting that one has yet again emerged from the denizens of France 2016. And make no mistake, it’s our absolute favourite.

‘Fucking shite’ it’s called. It involves tackling and running and doing one or two (usually one) good thing in 90 minutes. We look forward to Jose Mourinho implementing it at Man United and running away with the league this year, because just remember it’s all about running. And tackling.

Fucking shite. It’s the new tiki taka everyone. Impossible to defend against, because they’re the ones doing the defending thanks very much and you have to have 59% possession and concede from a throw-in. Or a tackle.

Austerity football. Bereft of any investment of skills or talent or trickery and stripped back to its bare bones. If we don’t concede lads, we can’t lose. Get used to it. The only nutmeg you’ll be seeing from now on are going to be when you get lost looking for beans in Sainsbury’s.

And obviously, like every other thing the English national team has ever done, we’ve pioneered it, being fucking shite, but we’ve now decided to back away from it and out of Europe and just let everyone else do it way better than we ever could. Brave new Brexit England still have a chance to adopt this mindset – and judging by the fact the FA have been busy calling Big Sam, we will be – and finally compete.

We English can do the running, of course. That’s how we breed footballers from their inception. It’s just the single bit of football that we can’t seem to manage. As soon as we learn ‘football’ we’ll be in prime position to win the football. Only ONE bit of footballing needs to come off in 90 or 120 minutes, and we’ll be in.

We’re off to do our UEFA badges this week and next week we’re going to set up our teams to win the football as follows:

Beards, of course, are critical. Borrowed from Iceland, but with notables elsewhere, you’re going fucking nowhere without a good beard or two. If we run, with beards, we’ll get out of the group. If we can head after a bit of running, we’ll score the goal. Then all we have to do is loads of running, a tiny bit of passing and something with beards. Maybe don’t worry about the passing though. Blood, sweat and beards is all we ask. We’ve done our football for the day. Three passes, five beards and a header. Get in there. Then run.

Fucking shite lads. That’s the way forward. Let’s sacrifice all trappings of style and just suffer it, because, in case you didn’t know, only the result matters and anyone who wants to actually watch a bit of adventure is in the wrong game. We can’t remember if that makes us purists now or twats, given that none of our erstwhile media colleagues can decide if the game’s in a fucking ditch or if winning against all the odds is the best thing since winning with some degree of artistry (clue – it’s the latter; you’re a twat).

Well frankly, if we wanted to only get a result after 90 minutes of straining and sweating and nothing actually happening then we’d stop eating fibre and try and have a poo. That’s the problem – the last couple of weeks have seen football become a horrible constipated mess. France were totally jammed up. They needed to have a vindaloo and loosen the fuck up. Shit with some artistry, for God’s sake. You’re FRENCH.

On the one hand, admittedly, we really cannot begrudge a minnow nation defending like their life depends on it and then hoping to nick a goal via a header or a beard. On the other though, we like watching football as entertainment. We didn’t begin watching the sport aged 7 thinking ‘I want to play in a side that plays with two really solid banks of four. One that doesn’t concede. One that is really hard to break down’. We just wanted to be Romario.

‘Aha, you smug pair of twats,’ some of you will say. ‘So are you saying that Iceland SHOULD have taken the game to Portugal, exactly as Ronaldo wanted, just because you two want to be entertained? They did what they had to do and were vindicated because they got the draw.’ WE KNOW THAT. IT DOESN’T MEAN WE HAVE TO GO AROUND SAYING IT’S THE BEST THING EVER*/**.

Talking of potential logjams, one major flaw with the ‘fucking shite’ way of play arises when you have two austerity football sides playing each other. We once hilariously wondered on Twitter what would happen if Atletico Madrid were to be pitted against Leicester in the Champions League this season and both teams have 39% of possession? We sort of have a point you know. In this instance, the team with better players will have more of the ball. So that’ll be Atletico.

But what happens when you get ever-expanded UEFA and FIFA tournaments, where you get more minnow match-ups? Do they both look at the bookies odds pre-kick off and work out through that logic who therefore has most of the possession in the game? Can’t be an underdog if you are playing an underdog can you? And because 39% plus 39% does not equal 100%, what happens to the remaining 22% of possession? Something with beards no doubt.

Having to listen to rehashes of ‘Portugal won’t care how they won it’ and ‘the trophy won’t have parentheses next to the winners name saying ‘They played shite for most of the tournament’’, we just got a bit miffed, that’s all. Which is why we wrote this piece. And why we’ve written most of our pieces these past six years.

We know that history will merely say ‘Portugal – European Championship winners 2016’. But that alone should not and is not the sole fact that should shut down any conversation from the purists, sorry twats, like us that are still partial to a football match providing some degree of solace from the drudgery of our day jobs and shite chat in the pub. Life is already all running, sweating, and defending. And beards. Please football, don’t go the same route.

*We do actually really like Iceland so maybe that analogy is a bit crap, but why break the habit of a lifetime.

**Maybe we should have used Northern Ireland v Wales as an example, or something like that. You know, when a minnow plays a smaller minnow. Ah well.

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