The Warm-Up: It's ………. international week
Coleen Rooney. The star of international week.
THURSDAY’S BIG STORIES
International week is usually a drag...
...so be thankful for Coleen Rooney, here to provide us with more entertainment during these interruptions than her husband ever managed. (Only kidding. Love you Wayne.)
In the great pantheon of bizarre football things to explode on Twitter, Tinker Tailor Soldier Wag shot straight into the ranks of the immediate classics. Connoisseurs are even suggesting it might have supplanted the Adventures of Samir Nasri and the Drip Doctors, and the Warm-Up is minded to agree.
True, Nasri's encounter with intravenous nutrition was significantly more surreal. But the delicacy of the execution here is something to marvel at. "Gender selection in Mexico" sits in the perfect sweet spot where obvious nonsense overlaps with tabloid gold; pure Chris Morris and yet, as bait, utterly irresistible. And then the j'accuse: like all good mysteries, totally unexpected yet immediately correct.
Once the tidal wave of memes and counter-memes has abated a little, hopefully we'll get a chance to have a conversation about exactly what kind of media ecosystem is paying somebody for stories like this, and why, and what relationship if any it bears to things like "journalism" and "the public interest" and "private life".
Almost certainly a better game than the 1990 World Cup final
The quicker you get going with the international break, the sooner it will all be over. At least, we assume that's what Germany and Argentina were thinking when they decided to have their friendly on Wednesday night.
Even better, it was actually quite an interesting game, as these things go. Germany scored two early goals and made Messi-less Argentina look like the incoherent rabble we've come to know but not understand. But then a load of substitutions happened, the visitors perked up, the hosts went to sleep, and things ended even.
Most shocking, however, was the news that Germany chose to start their best goalkeeper. Poor Manuel Neuer, the day before yesterday's man, had to sit on the bench doing his best to radiate calm. "Hey, it's just a friendly, right? Experimental teams. Loads of substitutions. Not me though. I'm having a rest. Just a friendly."
Uli Hoeness could not be reached for comment.
All aboard the Fergie-go-round
Sometimes, things just sync up nicely. Wales go into this break knowing that to qualify for Euro 2020 they likely need four points from two games: their trip to Slovakia Thursday night, then the visit of Croatia on Sunday. Aaron Ramsey is injured, at least for the first game. Results haven't been good, and performances have been extremely wobbly.
Ryan Giggs' time in charge might be about to get officially Not Good Enough.
Meanwhile, far away in Manchester, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is … well, you know all about that. Currently the only argument against United not being in relegation form is that they are, well, Manchester United, and while that's definitely true, it's getting increasingly meaningless. All that money was supposed to guarantee a place in the top six, not the top seventeen.
So while the Warm-Up doesn't pretend to know what the future holds, or even to have much of a grasp on the present, we've had a chilling vision of things to come. Lock your doors, bar your windows. "Give it Giggsey till the end of the season" is on its way back.
IN OTHER NEWS
When you've had your current head protector for a while now, and you think: it's time for something bigger.
Well, we mentioned it earlier so we looked it up, and … yep, it's still extraordinary.
Imagine being able to do something that precise, that powerful, that perfect, while still in the middle of a blazing row.
Missed a trick not sticking a random Football Manager regen face in there though. There's a lad called Aaron Ramsey! Open goal, the Guardian. Open goal.
The plus side of the international break is that there's always a lot of choice. Want to watch home nations play crucial games? Wales are visiting Slovakia, and Northern Ireland begin their crucial double-header against the Netherlands. Want to watch a one-sided pummelling? Belgium are playing San Marino. All human life is here.