Goal Gazette

Watch: Karim Benzema Scores Stunner | Spain 1-1 France

The Premier League’s Anthony Taylor is reffing, what a buzz. Not since the glory days of Mike Mullarkey has English football enjoyed such triumph. I can’t say I’d not like to hear the Italian anthem at this juncture of the weekend, but the two we’re getting are stone-cold bangers in their own right.

I’m going to read that and I hope you will, in the return leg, give a listen to The Broken Family Band album, Welcome Home Loser. It was probably dedicated to Steve Bruce, but it is angry, black comedy cowpoking at it’s finest. Meanwhile… come on France!”

Thanks, I’ll have a look, though am bound to point out that Bruce has had a very decent career, though it’s not going so well for him at Newcastle. I know I’ve been banging on about midfield and this and that, but maybe I’m talking nonsense and all we need to look at is Benzema and Mbappe v Garcia and Laporte. That could get as messy and Mr Kipling’s cakes are good.

It’s hard not to look at that Spain XI and feel inadequate. Gavi, who played with such aggression and assurance against Italy, is only 17. Maybe he and his mates also went to Kwik Save the day that Hooch came out, tanned a load of bottles in the car park and then went back to school for triple politics. But also, maybe he didn’t.

Things can always go wrong in tournament football because there’s little margin for error, but losing Switzerland, from 3-1 up and with 10 to go, is one of the great oversights. I thought that winning the World Cup would see this team kick on in the way that the 1998 lot did, but in the event it’s been more of the same, some good stuff and some dross.

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