Mauricio Pochettino worked a marvel with the English language in describing how VAR affected the late stages of Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 loss to Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
Spurs looked to have doubled its home lead with 20 minutes to play when Serge Aurier belted a far post shot past the reach of Kasper Schmeichel, but a lengthy video review showed Heung-Min Son‘s shoulder was maybe possibly offside.
Pochettino, oddly enough, chose not to debate the call but instead focused on the momentum he believes it provided to Leicester City en route to Ricardo Pereira‘s near-immediate answer and James Maddison‘s late winner.
“After 80 minutes, the game was going to be over. You gave massive belief to the team that was already dead. After we conceded the goal 1-1, we had some chances to score the second goal, but that’s what makes the Premier League the most beautiful league. You can never stop.”
He was optimistic on the overall performance following a disheartening 2-2 draw with Olympiacos at midweek, as Spurs threw away a 2-0 first half lead over the Greek hosts.
“Very disappointed because we lost the three points but in thinking the big picture I am very optimistic because the team showed great reaction after Olympiacos.”
Meanwhile, much of the rest of Twitter’s soccer world was a bit less forgiving of VAR. Even Leicester City legend Gary Lineker sent venom to the Video Assistant Referee.
In the before this would have either been called offside or not and then we would have argued about whether the call was right forever. In the after it’s called offside and we can argue about whether getting the call right is worth it forever. https://t.co/0P5y79doF1
Manager Michael Flynn — no, not the disgraced former U.S. national security advisor — has been with the club for five separate stints, four as a player and one as a manager, and that will make this victory all the sweeter.
The 38-year-old shared that there could be no post-match champagne showers, and no one can blame the Exiles for not having the bubbly prepared for an upset of the former Premier League champions.
“We didn’t have any beers or champagne in there so we had to make do with water. And my assistant Wayne Hatswell said that Gary Lineker owes him a pint because he keeps going on about the own goal he scored.”
Hatswell scored one of the most viewed own goals in FA Cup history, and TV presenter Lineker has talked it up plenty in addition to being a Leicester legend and supporter.
Here’s the goal.
Jamaica-born Jamille Matt scored the first goal of the match.
The 29-year-old has never played above the League One level, and has both specific and broad hopes for the next round. From the BBC:
“I’m an Arsenal fan so look no further than that. I’d love to play them at the Emirates or here would be brilliant as well. But any Premier League club would be great to be honest.”
Matt and his teammates will be celebrating this one for a long while, and the parties in Newport County should be next level.
As for Flynn, he won’t be partying wildly into the night, at least not publicly.
“I’ll have a few drinks with the wife tonight. It’s about being with the people who support you and are with you when times are bad as well, and my wife does that for me.”
Just how grimy and unsavory is the world of FIFA? Given the recent goings-on regarding world football’s governing body, many of us may think we know, but according to England national team Gary Lineker, we have no idea.
England’s leading all-time international goalscorer shed a few rays of light this week on the not-so-pretty underbelly of FIFA, what he calls the “murky world” of football politics.
Lineker, a regular contributor to NBC Sports’ coverage of the Premier League, was speaking at the launch of BT Sport’s (UK) European football coverage, and had the following to say on his involvement in England’s lobbying efforts to host the 2018 World Cup, which was ultimately awarded to Russia:
“I couldn’t bear it. I wasn’t really involved in the bid but at the last minute they asked me to come over – I think because they heard I played golf with [UEFA president] Michel Platini. We were in the lobby the night before the vote and we were asked to be really nice and creepy to all these people. It wasn’t me. I don’t like pretending to crawl up people’s backsides. And we were the only ones doing it.
“I remember I was sat with David Beckham and turned to him at one point and said, ‘Have you noticed we’re the only nation that’s doing this? Do you get the feeling that it might already be done?’ So I had that sense at the end of it all of needing a shower.”
In short, England sent Gary Lineker and David Beckham — the United States (2022 World Cup bidders) sent Bill Clinton and Morgan Freeman, to be fair — while Russia and Qatar (2022 hosting rights winners) sent relative nobodies upon the successful completion of multi-million dollar wire transfers to FIFA delegates (allegedly).
As more and more details continue to trickle out, it becomes less and less a shock to anyone anywhere that Russia and Qatar will host the next two tournaments.
As we continue our countdown to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil here at PST, each day from now until the tournament begins we will look back at a memorable moment from years gone by.
Here is number 7.
PST’s Top 20 World Cup moments – No. 7: Diego Maradona versus England in 1986
Diego Maradona scored twice at Azteca Stadium against England in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals, one a thing of beauty and the other perhaps the most infamous goal in World Cup history.
We’ll start with the controversy: Maradona clearly used his arm to push the ball over the leaping Peter Shilton, giving Argentina in 1-0 lead after 51 minutes. After the game, Maradona famously said (translated into English), “A little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God.”
His second goal, however, was four minutes later and a thing of only wonder. Maradona dashed through half of England’s team (at least half) on a half-field dribble before sliding the ball into the goal. If the first is known as the “Hand of God,” this has become known as the “Goal of the Century.”
Tournament leading scorer Gary Lineker pulled one back, but it was too late. Argentina went through with a 2-1 win, and won the tournament win a final win over West Germany.