Always Worth Saying’s World Cup Report

England v Iran

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
A Qatari ‘Royal’ Family private jet.
Qatar Amiri Flight Boeing 747,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

What do we know about England and Iran?

One is a despotic dictatorship where an out-of-touch elite despises the ordinary people. Citizens can be cancelled for what they’re suspected of thinking and jailed for what they say. A state broadcaster transmits nonsense to disbelieving viewers and listeners. Women are treated appallingly by Muslims while the nation’s envious reserves of hydrocarbons go to waste.

The other’s in the Middle East with a capital in Tehran.

Top flight and international football in England is organised under the auspices of the Londonistan-based Football Association or FA. The FA is in turn owned by American multinational leisurewear conglomerate Nike through a multimillion-pound sponsorship deal. Although £33 million a year doesn’t sound a lot these days, when the deal was signed it was the most lucrative sponsorship in international football. The FA will be hoping for a mega-bucks renewal when the present arrangement ends.

Other Nike talent includes athletes ‘Chemical’ Mo Farrah, ‘injured’ Dina Asher-Smith and 4’ 8” American ‘mental health’ gymnast Simone Biles. Asher-Smith and Biles were praised by a supplicant media at the Tokyo Olympics – for not competing! Biles knew she wouldn’t win her individual event so dropped out for mental health reasons. Likewise, Asher-Smith feigned injury aware she couldn’t beat the Jamaican runners. Both girls competed in the team events where they knew that had a better chance of glory. Biles received a silver medal and Time Magazine’s athlete of the year award, Asher-Smith took Olympic bronze and another round of yoghurt adverts. Such is the influence of the Oregon-based sports giant that their nonsensical narratives remained unchallenged in mainstream media.

Likewise with the England set-up. Nike doesn’t sell on price or quality but on governance, social issues and the environment – in other words, Woke. They don’t care about the quality or competitiveness of their products but up their prices by being holier than thou while having exclusive deals with sport’s big names.

It was revealed by The Daily Telegraph before the previous World Cup that the then £160 England replica kits were made in Bangladesh by workers on 21p an hour. The story had little traction in the controlled media, wary of Nike’s big advertising spend. Lineker will rant about Qatari’s ‘human rights’ record but will never touch upon the rights of third-world workers in the factories where his expensive clothes are made.

Nike’s influence over the FA extends as far as the taking of the knee, a nonsense begun by American NFL footballer Colin Kaepernick who has his own apparel range with the company.

There is also a Kaepernick publishing company that produced Abolition For The People a collection of essays calling for the abolition of the police and prisons.

At the height of the George Floyd madness, some of Nike’s social media even appeared under the strapline ‘Black Lives Matter’ rather than the longstanding ‘Just do it’.

This nuttiness crossed the Atlantic for the Euro 2020 competition. England took the knee before matches and England manager Gareth Southgate threw the Wembley finals’ penalty shoot by choosing three unsuitable young black players (all of whom missed) to take the potential match-winning spot kicks. The optic was meant to be of a young black tournament winner on his knee, at the home of colonialism and slavery, after successfully converting a winning spot-kick, with photographs of his England shirt and Nike logo circulating the world. It wasn’t to be. Subsequent criticism of Southgate and his missers was shouted down as ‘racism’ in the passive media. A fuller Going Postal investigation of the scandal is available here.

England struggled in the recent Nations League, including losses home and away to politically incorrect Hungary. One nil in Budapest, before knee-booing and black player heckling schoolchildren (after adults were banned from the Nep Stadium following previous trouble) was followed by an embarrassing 4-1 defeat at Wembley. Two draws against Germany and a loss and a draw against fellow Euro 2020 finalists Italy put England bottom of their group meaning relegation to the second tier of Nations League football.

Although the Nation games still aren’t complete, in the next competition the Three Lions can look forward to being laughed at while kneeling before Icelanders, Albanians, Montenegrins, Kazakhs and Georgians.

Never mind Wokegate, what about Iran?

Iran’s results have been more impressive albeit against lesser opposition. As Asian World Cup qualifiers, their victories included a 10-0 win away at Cambodia and a 3-1 home victory over Hong Kong.

A complicated Asian Football Confederation qualification competition of 229 matches eventually saw Iran, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Australia pack their bags for Qatar.

In the last two years, Iran have played 21 matches, winning 17, drawing 2 and losing 2. Generally against the aforementioned poor opposition but a recent friendly win again Uraguay and a draw with Senegal will give them confidence entering the finals.

The Iranians do have a World Cup pedigree, famously being humiliated in Argentina in 1978 when they could only manage a draw against a Scotland team who had been played off the park four days earlier by lowly Peru. They also appeared in the finals in 1998, 2006, 2014 and 2018 but, like their Scots nemesis, have failed to progress beyond the first stages, finishing bottom in all but one of their groups and second bottom in the other.

Late team change

As this reporter types, news has come through from the Gulf that Harry Kane’s rainbow gayboy One Love captain’s armband has been dropped from the Tottenham striker’s shoulder and sent home in disgrace after offending the Qatari ‘Royal’ Family. If you’re wondering who the Royal Family are, so am I. Presumably, the term refers to the Al Thani clan, who have no royal pedigree but were installed by the British to keep the Ottoman Turks out of the strategically important western Persian Gulf. Kings of bling, if nothing else, if you’re a Cheshire-based proud owner of a Bently Continental with a camouflage colour interior and a Dazza numberplate (or somesuch), take a look at this while eating dirt.

No matter what their origin, the Al Thani’s are the team of the tournament so far having won every contest. Beer banned, tick. Move Qatar’s matches, tick. Get rid of the gayboys, tick. Show Nike who’s boss, tick. They’re not keen on blicks either, expect the demise of the knee to be on their gold-plated bucket list too.

If Puffins attribute this to an outbreak of common sense, they’d be wrong, it’s all about a mountain of money. Having been non-comital about some of the contentious issues arising, the Qataris have waited to the last minute to act. With FIFA dazzled by the bright lights and hospitality, and with the final payments not finding their way to Switzerland until after the tournament, the Qataris can dictate as they please. It’s rather like watching my Local XI’s goalkeeper score a winner in the tenth minute of injury time.

Super fun. Best World Cup ever.

As for the actual match

The first quarter of the game consisted of Garethball with a cautious England of passing defenders slowly working forays into the Iranian half. However, as early as the 3rd minute Maguire was wrestled to the ground in the Iranian area, no penalty given. Five minutes later all eyes were on the Manchester United number 5 again as a donkey-like connection at the far post saw him fluff a half chance. There followed a long stoppage after a head injury to Iranian goalkeeper Beyranvand who bravely collided with one of his own defenders.

After the restart, England began to dominate with Rice troubling the side netting in the 29th minute. Seconds later, Maguire improved on his previous effort by connecting well with a corner to put a firm header against the crossbar. The one-way traffic continued with Bellingham opening the scoring five minutes later from another header. More goals followed, with both defenders and a dodgy Iranian second-choice keeper, Hosseini, spectators as Saka netted in the 43rd minute and Stirling in the 46th of a half that, due to the injury, lasted the best part of an hour.

The second half progressed predictably with England extending their lead with a second strike from Saka supplemented with goals from Rashford and Grealish. Taremi pulled one back for Iran in the 65th minute and converted a penalty in the 13th minute of injury time.

What did we learn from this 6-2 win for England? Not much beyond the basics. Iran, like Qatar yesterday, aren’t good enough. A thirty-two-team tournament lowers the quality to an embarrassing level. England can beat a bad team put in front of them, the test will be sterner next Tuesday against Wales.

WC Report’s standing advice remains unchanged; unless you want to be bored stupid, chose your first-round group matches carefully or look away until the knockout stages begin.

© Always Worth Saying 2022