Keep Your Eyes on the Ball
There are things that feel awful in sports -- blowing a wide-open lay-up, popping up a pitch you should have crushed, dropping a slant pass that would have gone for a clear TD, when you're slidin' into home and your pants are filled with foam... -- but this very well might be the worst feeling of them all: Completely 100 percent whiffing on a back pass from a defender for an own goal.
This was British goalkeeper Paul Robinson Wednesday night in a qualifying match for the 2008 European Championships against Croatia, and people are not happy with him. Though it should be noted that England was trailing 1-0 at the time and ended up losing 2-0, so it's not like this was really the difference in the game. Nonetheless, there have been some pretty harsh headlines in the British media. Consider:
England killed off by Robinson's howler
Shambolic England pay the price
Soccer-Media poor scorn on England while Croatia crow
Come to think of it, what the hell does all of this mean? Shambolic? I've never heard of such a word (though I did go ahead and look it up). And what exactly is a "howler"? I know that a "growler" is a big smelly dump, but the term howler I'm not familiar with, and it's appeared in multiple headlines. Is it a term used to describe a giant figurative doodie laid on the soccer pitch? Sometimes our friends across the ocean write very strange things.
A couple other things to note:
- First off, a big thanks to reader Bakley for passing along this video, and for having the incredible soccer wisdom and tech savvy to track down a version of the video with Chinese announcers. Not sure exactly what good it does to watch the thing with Chinese announcers, but they clearly have no idea what is going on when the incident first happens. Almost dead silence on the airwaves.
- Look closely around the edge of the field during the multiple replays (particularly on the English language version). Notice anything? JAGSHEMASH! That's right, we have an electronic Borat banner scrolling around the edge of the field. Which tells us one thing definitively: This qualifying match most certainly did not take place in Kazakhstan (in case you haven't heard, their government isn't too fond of Borat). I like you, do you like me?