Monday, 11 July 2011

stupid manly women


Good grief. Kate Ferguson (Mind Tidying: great but very irregular) has just pointed out this story on the England women's team's exit from the World Cup.

Regular readers will know what I think about penalties: there is an inane culture of machismo in British football, one result of which is that penalty takers are regarded as brave and heroic, irrespective of the outcome. This means the macho players - defenders and clogging midfielders, 'step up to the plate'. They are, almost invariably, the least skilful players and worst penalty takers.

Apparently, no one volunteered to take penalties until a couple of defenders 'stepped up to the plate' and missed. Hope Powell, England manager, has framed this in the usual terms of 'cowardice' and so on, borrowed from wider English football culture. What she should have done is practiced penalties, and had a list, which all the players knew about, which ordered them and told them who was going to take the penalties. They would have avoided this nonsense, and they would have had better penalty takers. Penalties are more luck-based than lots of things in football, but the teams that practice them and have a halfway competent attitude to them are the ones who win them more often.

Did this come across as a) a bit ranty? and b) a bit repeaty? I bet it did. Sorry. I will probably have to do it again though, until someone managing England listens to me.

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