Le Tiss spot on with penalty solution
After FIFA shunned the chance for real innovation when voting against using five officials at the World Cup finals, the title of 'potential football revolutionary' has fallen to an unlikely figure in Matthew Le Tissier. The former Southampton hero and sometime England forward has called on his country to become the standard-bearers for a new occupation ahead of the World Cup finals: professional penalty coach.
Naturally, with a record of scoring 47 of 48 spot-kicks in his career, Le Tiss has put himself forward as a possible candidate for the role that looks ever more likely after a weekend in which both Frank Lampard and Jermain Defoe failed to score from 12 yards.
"I'm surprised actually, with the way that football has gone, the number of staff clubs have and they say they never leave any stone unturned, I can't think of any club ever that has employed a penalty coach," Le Tissier said. "I'd try and coach them the way I took them. It took out quite a lot of the negativity surrounding penalties in the mindset and it reduced the risk of the goalkeeper getting lucky."
Perhaps Le Tissier is onto something here. Perhaps England can cure the psychological weakness that saw them knocked out of the 1990, 1998 and 2006 tournaments on spot-kicks. Then they would just need some kind of specialist coach to address the ingrained technical failings that have contributed to their exit from every other World Cup since that victory on home turf in 1966. Oh, and maybe a psychologist to rein in the crazy levels of expectancy that surface every four years. And, while we are at it, a marriage counsellor to deal with all the disaffected WAGs unhappy with Fabio Capello's strict regime. That should just about do it.
One of the more bizarre stories to emerge from Friday's World Cup draw was the news that a 68-year-old German photographer was arrested on suspicion of making a hoax threat in Cape Town. Bernd Fischer, a freelance photojournalist, allegedly dropped a bag that he said contained a bomb and then ran off. Fischer has been released on bail and will now have to report to South African police three times a week, as well as having his passport confiscated. That's one way to extend your holiday I guess.
The World Cup draw may have captured the imagination of a reported 200 million viewers worldwide but even the arresting combination of Charlize Theron, David Beckham and, erm, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke was not enough to keep some observers from drifting off. None other than Wayne Rooney, who was preparing for Manchester United's game with West Ham, admitted as much: "We got the train down to London and got to the hotel about 5pm. I lay down on my bed to watch TV. I fell asleep and didn't find out what the draw was until five hours later.'' Perhaps slipping out of consciousness was the best way to avoid the nightmare that was David Beckham's shaggy mohican, although Rooney could be forgiven for thinking he was still dreaming when he came to and saw England's group.
PLAYER IN FOCUS: CRISTIANO RONALDO
Where to start with the Portugal captain after an eventful weekend? Not content with missing a penalty, failing to celebrate when Karim Benzema tapped in the rebound and then quickly scoring himself, Ronaldo was also sent off after being booked twice - first for removing his shirt when celebrating and then earning a second yellow when kicking out at Juanma Ortiz - all in the space of six busy minutes. Manuel Pellegrini defended his stroppy star after the 4-2 win that showcased perfectly why Ronaldo is such a spectacular footballer and a divisive figure. Expect more of the same in South Africa.
WORLD CUP QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Roy Hodgson gets a bit carried away after Bobby Zamora grabs his sixth goal in 47 Premier League games for Fulham: "It was quite interesting being on a panel with Terry Venables the other day, discussing World Cup squads. He's got experience of that from Euro '96 and me from the World Cup. You could also make a case for one or two more unusual selections, players who maybe have something a little bit extra. He was talking about Ledley King. If you perpetuated that argument, you might come up with an argument for someone like a Bobby Zamora, the type of player who we don't have too many like in the English Premiership."