VAR, Par and having a Jar.
After the 0-0 draw I watched between Japan and Argentina yesterday, Scotland Ladies sit bottom of Group D in the Women’s World Cup. And although there weren’t that many goalmouth incidents in the game played at Le Parc des Princes, both teams looked like they could cause Scotland problems in our second and third section games. Now I’m not certain of the format but I’m sure I read somewhere that a couple of the best ‘third’ teams can progress out the Group Stage and we may have to rely on that. “Yea of little faith Michael” I sense one or two of you thinking but Japan are 7th in the Women’s Rankings to our 20th and Argentina’s 37th. There will be no easy game.
And don’t think Japan are a wee team just because they are diminutive in size, as they’ve played the USA in the last two finals, winning it in 2011, while Argentina have a striker as big as Mario Kempes. Her name is Sole Jaimes I think and thankfully her touch and her goal record isn’t as good as Super Mario’s but she’d be a handful for John Beattie never mind his daughter. Japan were the big favourites yesterday but Argentina battled for 90 minutes and got their first ever shut-out in the Finals. Scotland have two very hard games on their hands. And it’s a pity we don’t play Argentina this afternoon as on this day (11th June) in 1978, Archie Gemmill scored one of the best ever World Cup goals on Argentinian soil.
What about the Scotland defeat at the hands of England? We actually started the better side but the VAR goal totally scunnered us. We were poor defensively at the second goal but grew into the game, especially after the break when England almost visibly started thinking of their next game and once we’d pulled one back, we just might have nicked an equaliser. I was a bit disappointed with how quiet Kim Little was but we were playing a top side and hopefully she’ll give our wee star Erin Cuthbert a bit more support in the remaining two Group games.
After the game the great ‘VAR Debate’ was in full flow but I have nothing against using video evidence to help referees get decisions correct. It’s not VAR I have truck with but the Laws on the Game themselves, how they are currently interpreted and the ludicrous changes being made this summer. It isn’t easy to score goals as I saw watching Japan and Argentina fight out a goalless draw yesterday. Two well matched teams find it really hard to break each other down so why give a team a free hit from twelve yards when the ball accidentally hits the hand or arm of a defender, unless they are standing on the goal-line of course. And all this shite about ‘unnatural position of the arm’ gets right on my tits as well. When you throw yourself in front of an opponent to make a tackle or block a cross or shot, you lose your balance and your arms can end up anywhere. If, as in England’s first goal on Sunday, there is no obvious intent to block the ball with an arm, play should just carry on with no infringement committed. End of.
From VAR to Par and here’s a question for you. What did Rory McIlroy’s final round in the Canadian Open on Sunday have in common with your blogger’s painful attempt at golf at Broomieknowe yesterday morning with Ian and Sinky have in common? No, it wasn’t the outfits we wore, it wasn’t the length of our drives and it definitely wasn’t the score although the scorecards had similarities. No the similarity was the lack of pars on either scorecard but as in Rory’s brilliant 61, pars were substituted with birdies and eagles while the lack of pars in my 90 something were marked down as bogeys, doubles and the occasional treble.
I’d watched Rory on the first two days playing with Webb Simpson and Matt Kucher and although he regularly was closer to the pin on the greens, his two playing partners continually out putted the poor Irishman. I didn’t see all of his final round but Rory appeared to get around missed putts from anything over ten feet but sticking shot after shot stiff. Well done that man. As for my efforts yesterday, I was left with a birdie and the seventeenth as a carrot to turn up again next Monday. And here’s hoping Ian, Sinky and I are talking about a second win in a row for Rory in the US Open at Peeble Beach.
I resigned to missing Belgium v Scotland tonight as Edinburgh City have a trial game for next season and I thought Robert would be involved. The wee man had trained with the club a few weeks before the Development boys came on board, playing a couple of bounce games and as Ross Mac has seen enough to work out which squad he’ll be in next season, Robert got the night off. That means his dad can head up The Bell to watch the action from Brussels with the boys and have a jar or two. Can we win? We probably have as much chance as our Ladies did against England so if VAR isn’t used we could sneak a point. To be honest I assume it will be a hard watch but Steve Clarke knows how to set his sides up to stifle and defend so here’s hoping we don’t lose an early goal. There was no chance I was was going to join those around me at Hampden on Saturday by clapping the team off at half-time but I might just join in if they walk of with the same score at the interval tonight. We’ll soon find out ❤⚽️