As hosts, the Russians made a big deal about the space connection to the FIFA World Cup Adidas Telstar 18 football. Not only did it have a satellite name but it was even flown in orbit with the Cosmonauts on the International Space Station having a kick around with the ball before it was returned to Earth on a Soyuz.

“On me head Tovarich!” Russian cosmonauts kick around the official World Cup football on the International Space Station. Courtesy: Roscosmos

 

Football supporters of all the participating nations had a good time at the event, and were charmed by the friendly Russians and especially by Russia’s pretty girls. Mind you, the latter were officially warned not to make love to foreigners. While some had suspicions on how the Russian team could run so long, thankfully, it did well enough in the competition not to have to resort to poisoning its competitors.

Mind you, some wondered if the World Cup ball given by Russia’s President Putin (the real winner of the World Cup along with the satellite and TV companies) to US President Trump at their Helsinki rendezvous had been drugged with a mind altering agent. It apparently turned the US Commander-in-Chief to an Appeaser-in-Chief as he sided with the Russians against allegations of their electoral meddling. President Trump was subsequently dubbed “Traitor Trump” even by his own supporters. “Infamy! Infamy!…They’ve all got it infamy!” was probably what Donald Trump said next. (Apologies to Kenneth Williams as Julius Caesar in Carry on Cleo (1964).

By the way, attitude bending drugs do exist. The US Air Force Wright Laboratory famously won the “Ignobel prize for Peace” in 2007 for instigating research and development on a chemical weapon that would provoke widespread homosexual behaviour among enemy troops. This “Gay Bomb” was planned to make the enemy troops irresistible to each other, wanting make love,not war.

If only England had had one of those there might not have been a loss of a semi for them. Each to their own but it has to be said that footballers of all nations already hug and kiss each other a little too much already during the goal scoring celebrations.

While the best player award for the championship rightly went to Luca Modric of Croatia, when it came to acting awards, up for an Oscar was Brazilian soccer ace Neymar whose injury play acting “like the boy who cried wolf” actually cost Brazil their cup run when referees refused to believe him anymore.

The Japanese won hearts and minds and should win an award for politeness themselves. Not only were the nippy Nippon players very good on the pitch but their supporters would also clean up the stadiums afterwards – even when they lost.

Song of the championship was of course England’s “Three Lions on their Shirts”…its coming home and all that. It reached Number one in the charts before crashing back to Earth. However, while they were still in it, England played pretty well and soon every one wanted three lions on their shirts – to the point of some very amusing DIY ones! (See below).

Even those England supporters without the official team shirt were still keen to wear Three Lions (well actually three Lion bars) on theirs. Courtesy: Twitter

 

Let’s face it. Even France – the excellent winners of the competition – would probably prefer to have three lions on their shirts rather than than their traditional badge of a big cock!  Le Coq Sportif or not.

Of course that other symbol of England is the St. Georges red cross on a white background flag.  And of course with so many flying, someone would soon try and make money including the Mayor of Genoa who, in a jokey letter, demanded royalties from Her Majesty the Queen for 247 years’ use of the flag.

England Captain Harry Kane celebrates during England’s 2-1 victory over Tunisia. Courtesy: FIFA World Cup

As for your correspondent, well all of his World Cup main bets (on North African teams and England) and his individual match bets (mainly half time full time forecasts) floundered. Some have irritatingly pointed out that half of the winning French team were actually of North African heritage.

Thankfully, however, one of your correspondent’s two World Cup “Golden Boot” top scorer tips Harry Kane (the other was Mo Saleh) got some of his money back when Kane won it with six – even if he was best at headers and penalties rather than at scoring goals in open play.

We will repeat this exercise in four years time in Qatar when the good-in-hot-weather North African teams could really do it! Qatar, of course, only has about 10 inches of rainfall per year. Any more than that and they would feel spoilt.

Mind you, England might even win in four years’ time (Inshallah!), if the UK’s current heatwave holds out long enough for it to do its hot-weather training!