A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
30 May 2014 ~

Paul Scholes has suggested England should start to play more like Liverpool. But surely England have been getting themselves into good positions then blowing it for years.

Parnu150Badge of the week ~ Parnu Linnameeskond, Estonia
Where is the threat here? Where the sense of history? What can we glean of the town, or indeed city, of Parnu Linnameeskond from this image? How can a frog whose abdomen has been replaced by a football for whatever reason possibly represent the attitudes and ambition of a top-level football club?

This is what has happened to the Eurovision Song Contest you know. When it started, Eurovision was a platform for proper singers in tuxedos and evening gowns to communicate, with clear enunciation, the pleasures and pitfalls of romantic love (Boom Bang A Bang), along with the occasional foray into high concept such as pleasure for pleasure's sake (Tonight We Want To Go Dancing by the German duo Alice and Ellen Kessler).

This year of course we have a man or a woman with a beard in a dress singing about something uplifting, one imagines, as one may have missed the lyrics goggling at the spectacle. Postmodernist irony has gone too far now and clubs such as Parnu Linnameeskond should be obliged to return to a serious and properly constructed crest with Latin and lions and shields. Not a cartoon effing frog. Cameron Carter


Never mind Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League final, the most distinctive penalty of the week was in a lower-league game in Serbia.


from Alan Chadwick

"Regarding the debate about the value of 'B' teams, I see that according to Wikipedia Dortmund II are nurturing the new David Batty, albeit a Baltic version."



Two Swiss mathematicians offer advice on the most effective way to complete a Panini collection.


Some World Cup news from this week's Popbitch email.

A big bookmaker told us they'd just taken a 50k bet on Belgium to win the World Cup. A win would net the punter a million quid. And then we heard it from another. The same bet. And another... Now we think we've counted six 50k bets in the last week. Something weird going on? Well, not sure, but this could explain it. A big Belgian supermarket chain launched a massive marketing promotion - shop three times in the World Cup, and if Belgium win your fourth shop is free. Then the bean-counters worked out it could result in a six million euro hole in their finances, as shoppers rush to fill their boots. Hence the rush to get some money in the betting markets to pay it off. Take a 300k hit now or a 6 million one in July.


Cesc Fàbregas faces some tough questions.


Also in the news this week
Unusable ham and no condoms in England hotel.
Brazil World Cup ads "divorced from reality".
A perplexing own goal, disallowed for a foul, in Nigeria's 2-2 draw with Scotland.

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