Strictly speaking, Keane is waltzing to wind-up glory
Posted by  badge Boss on Dec 09, 2022 - 06:46AM
Harry Kane celebrates after scoring the team’s second goal during England’s match against Senegal (Picture: Getty Images)

Just when you thought football fever pitch couldn’t rise much higher, a story like this comes along to blow everything else out of the water. Words like seismic, gargantuan and humongous simply do not do it justice.

I get it, but it is unfair on those trying to concentrate on the quarter-finals to have to constantly address it.

, in particular, has one of his toughest tests as England manager to date tomorrow against France, yet here he is, fielding endless questions about this story instead of formations and Foden, backlines and Mbappe.

I’m talking, of course, about Michael O’Neill’s return as Northern Ireland manager. What more can I add to the deluge of back-page headlines and national columns, apart from welcome back Michael.

My only criticism is you could have waited until after the World Cup to make this announcement to avoid sucking away the attention from the likes of Messi, Ronaldo and, even beyond football, Harry and Meghan.

As someone who is not avidly watching this World Cup, my experience is mainly made up of headlines, match reports and the odd highlight on my social media feed, and it has been another Irishman who has actually made national headlines this week.

ITV pundit Roy Keane wasn’t backward in coming forward when he compared Brazil’s celebrations to watching Strictly (Picture: Pixel8000)

Roy Keane has managed to upset 99 per cent of the sixth most populated country on the planet by, quite simply, being Roy Keane. Even for him, this is outstanding ****housery. After Brazil smashed four past South Korea, he complained: ‘I can’t believe what I’m watching, it’s like watching Strictly.’

He added: ‘I don’t like this. People say it’s their culture. But that’s really disrespecting the opposition.’

Criticising the Brazilians for indulging in a bit of Samba is like slagging off Dolly Parton for being too ‘country’, EastEnders for being too melodramatic or the Bake Off for being too ‘cakey’.

Brazil’s Vinicius Junior (left) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal with team-mates Lucas Paqueta (centre) and Neymar (Picture: Getty Images)

Obviously, I don’t agree with him but, love him or hate him, I lap up Keano with all the enthusiasm of a cat locked inside an Elmlea factory.

While there are several fantastic ex-pros who offer more insight and in-depth analysis, it is Roy who wins the wind-up World Cup every time.

On the entertainment front, he is a ravenous Orca in a sea full of punditry plankton. Long may he rule the studio seas.

On the pitch, as I said in this column previously, the longer the tournament continues, the harder it is to stay tuned out, but abstaining has bizarrely improved my prediction game enormously. I see the line-ups, look at formations, read match reports and deal purely in stats, rather than the emotion of it all.

France could manage to get the ball past Jordan Pickford early on (Picture: Getty Images)

I have nailed England’s last two results, correct score and everything. The fact that I didn’t whack a fiver on both times is a sore point.

Looking ahead to tomorrow, against France, I don’t fancy myself to bag the hat-trick.

In my opinion, the best way England can prevail is to go for the throat. The old ‘we’re gonna score one more than you’ philosophy, which clearly isn’t Southgate’s natural instinct. However, keeping in mind that I’m on a hot streak, I am going to go for it, in print, and make an outlandish prediction based entirely on France scoring early. Given the way England have been starting games, that is not exactly going out on a limb.

And if it happens, the floodgates will open, the madness will descend, pre-match tactics will fly out of the window and a pitch full of attacking talent will leave defenders lying everywhere in their wake.

I won’t give a correct score but my ridiculous prediction is five goals or more. Ladies and gentleman, if ever there was a reason to immediately bet 0-0 after extra-time, this is it.

Whatever happens, I shall no doubt see the fallout on my Twitter feed, and fingers crossed it’s a video of Roy Keane slating the French for producing too much quality cheese, or the English for their overuse of the humble teapot.


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