PA Sport

The Warm-Up: England stride towards glory... well, sort of

The Warm-Up: England stride towards glory… well, sort of

20/06/2017 at 08:07Updated 20/06/2017 at 08:31

Also: Florentino Perez sighs at a summer ruined, Patrice Evra loves life and is Luka Modric off to the Big House?



This summer has already seen two of England’s youth teams win their tournaments, which was presumably the last thing that Under-21s manager Aidy Boothroyd needed going into their European Championships. The pressure was on the man who has become part of the furniture at the FA, for some reason, to delivery a clean sweep.

And it’s on! It’s definitely on! They’re going to win the Euros! Of course, at half-time of their game against Slovakia, when they were 1-0 down and playing like men with headaches, calamity loomed and Boothroyd was only fit to be fired into the sun, the stench of another England failure fogged around him. But second-half goals from Alfie Mawson and Nathan Redmond not only confirmed the win, but confirmed that England are destined to win the whole shebang. Obvious, when you think about it really.

“That’s what I am paid for,” Boothroyd said afterwards, about the decision to bring winger Jacob Murphy on at full-back, the sort of call that would have looked like flighty madness had England lost, but since they won Boothroyd is able to declare himself the architect of glory. “I have to make decisions. If we lose or draw we’re out. We want to progress and do well. I thought we deserved to win.”

Florentino speaks: “The Ronaldo situation is very strange.”

Cristiano Ronaldo is going to ruin everyone’s summers. Yours, ours, Manchester United’s, his, a selection of overworked clerks in the Spanish tax office, Real Madrid’s, but particularly, you’d imagine, Florentino Perez’s.

The Real Madrid major domo probably thought this would be a pretty sweet summer: he could bask in the glory of a Champions League and Primera double, kick back, relax and do the thing he loves most, unsettle another club’s star until he gets them over to Madrid, and presents them as his latest shiny new toy.

But no. Talk that Ronaldo wants to leave, for reasons which may or may not be connected to the previously mentioned overworked tax clerks, will now dominate Florentino’s days, in the same way that a toddler who refuses to engage with potty training dominates the time of a harrassed parent.

Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo

Jose Mourinho and Cristiano RonaldoGetty Images

“I have not spoken to him,” said Perez, presumably sighing and reaching for a drink of something very stiff. “I’ve heard about the Cristiano situation from what newspapers have written. I know Cristiano. He’s a good guy as a professional and as a person. This is very strange and in the next few days I’ll talk to him. I must defend him at all costs, both as a player and as a person.

“What I will say is that everyone must fulfil their tax obligations. I have no doubt that Cristiano will be able to defend himself. What they have told me is that he has the same financial arrangements as he had in England, where he had no problems.”

Germany simultaneously wallop Australia and nearly throw it away

One of the more curious games in this year’s Confederations Cup took place on Monday, as Germany – or rather, Germany’s second-string – faced Australia, and for the first 40-odd minutes it looked like the most unfair of fights. Germany didn’t so much mop the floor with Australia as buff the parquet with their heads, dancing around the Aussie defence as if they were simple five-year-olds playing rippling professionals.

Germany’s Leon Goretzka celebrates scoring their third goal with Lars Stindl R

Germany’s Leon Goretzka celebrates scoring their third goal with Lars Stindl RReuters

And yet they could only manage one goal, scored by Lars Stindl, and just before the break Tommy Rogic – with the significant help of German keeper Bernd ‘Jay’ Leno – equalised, in barely deserved fashion. But then Germany were donated a penalty, which Julian Draxler converted, then after the break the very impressive Leon Goretzka made it 3-1, and everyone assumed an avalanche of goals would ensue.

But no such ensueing ensued. Australia nabbed another one through Tomi Juric, and in the end Germany were sort of but not really hanging on. The 3-2 scoreline probably satisfied neither team really: Australia because they were so inferior, but Germany because they were so profligate.


Nobody enjoys life more than Patrice Evra. On this occasion we particularly enjoyed the looks on the faces of his two companions, which absolutely screamed ‘Erm, when…when are we supposed to stop?’


Hero: A journalist at a press conference

Warren Joyce, erstwhile Wigan manager who was sacked by the Latics last season, was appointed as Melbourne City manager this week, and he was greeted with open arms by the press at his unveiling on Monday….


Zero: Luka Modric

Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric appears in court to testify in a corruption trial in Osijek on June 13, 2017

Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric appears in court to testify in a corruption trial in Osijek on June 13, 2017Getty Images

Tough times for the Real Madrid maestro, as the man who should really be a conquering hero in his homeland might instead be heading for the Big House. Modric is under investigation for suspected perjury, after he allegedly changed certain statements to do with financial deals involving Zdravko Mamic, Croatian football’s Mr Big and generally a man despised throughout the nation. From winning the Champions League and hanging out with Cristiano, to the Shawshank Redemption.


Hugo Broos wasn’t the first choice for the vacant Cameroon coaching job back in February 2016. He wasn’t the second or third either. In fact, when the Cameroon FA was considering candidates at the time, the 65-year-old Belgian wasn’t on the five-man list for the job.


On this very day in 1976, with the final penalty of the shoot-out in the European Championships final, Antonin Panenka made Sepp Maier look like a right froob, and inadvertently inspired thousands of smart-arses who thought they were awfully clever, but actually had a good chance of making a similar froob of themselves.

Like this guy, for example.


The Confederations Cup takes a breather today, but never fear: the Euro Under-21s is around to pick up the slack with a couple of doozies. First up it’s the States of the Former Republic of Yugoslavia Derby, as Serbia face Macedonia, while later on Spain’s youngsters take on their Portuguese counterparts. Two genuinely exciting and interesting encounters. Fill yer boots.

Tomorrow’s Warm-Up will be brought to you by Alex Chick, assuming he hasn’t melted into the tarmac by then.