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Frank Lampard’s ghost goal and the thrashing by Germany

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Bloemfontein, South Africa, 2010. England are playing Germany for a place in the World Cup quarter-finals. Ugh. The dissonant, atonal droning of vuvuzelas fills your ears. Ugh. Fabio Capello. Ugh. Fabio Capello is sitting on the bench with a face like a melted waxwork AND he’s playing Steven Gerrard on the left wing. Double ugh. Germany’s Mesut Ozil is in on goal within four minutes. UGH.

Somehow, impossibly, it gets even worse from there.

It’s not unusual for England fans to feel a genuine sense of injustice at major tournaments. Both David Beckham and Wayne Rooney received red cards that were just as much a result of overzealous dramatisation from the opposing team as they were from the initial moment of idiocy themselves. Or at least that’s how we like to frame it.

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Furthermore, losing on penalties can rarely if ever be interpreted as an injustice, as the force of the footballing gods conspiring against you, but somehow we managed to brand them like that too, such is our ungodly habit of crashing out of World Cups and European championships via spot kicks on a regular basis.

In terms of emotional baggage, we already have all that to moan about. Rightly or wrongly (definitely wrongly). But then there’s Frank Lampard’s goal against Germany, which was, let’s be honest, a total and utter travesty. A crime against football. A debacle. A scandal. A nonsense of the highest order.

While we, as a nation, have an inherent tendency to overreact, this was perhaps the one occasion that we were well within our rights to light the torches and grab our pitchforks.

Let’s take a look back at it and relive all that pain and trauma, shall we?

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Harry Symeou hosts Semra Hunter, Andy Headspeath & Toby Cudworth to look back on South Africa ’10 as part of the ‘Our World Cups’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

Germany take the lead in under 20 minutes through a brilliantly executed team move. Honestly, the quality of football is staggering. Manuel Neuer hoofs a long ball aimlessly up the pitch, John Terry and Matthew Upson forget where they are, who they are and what sport they are playing, and Miroslav Klose wriggles in to slide tackle past David James. Phenomenal stuff. Really, really good. Sometimes you just have to sit back and applaud the sheer artistry on show. Hats off, Germany. Truly. I’m not bitter at all.

Ugh. The vuvuzelas.

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12 minutes later and England’s problems double. Thomas Muller gets in behind an England defence with all the structural integrity of a sandcastle and squares for Lukas Podolski. Podolski, however, takes a poor first touch and finds himself both too far wide and at too narrow an angle to shoot. He shoots, David James does a big star jump over the ball – because of course he does – and Germany are suddenly two to the good. Ugh.

If you had any hope England would get back into this game at this point, credit to you. I yearn for your unfailing sense of optimism. I’m over here too busy ugh-ing.

Lampard has a chance but doesn’t connect properly with a stunning (I repeat, stunning) James Milner delivery from the right and Neuer saves from point-blank range. Miraculously, a goal comes. England work a short corner back to Steven Gerrard who whips in a teasing cross. Upson rises. My god he gets up, son. Neuer starfishes. 2-1. Game on? Is it game on? IS IT NOW THAT THE GAME IS IN FACT ON?

Less than a minute later we had our answer. It was game on. Or at least it should have been. England had pulled it back to 2-2 in a blink of an eye and had all the momentum.

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Jermain Defoe is trying to spin away towards the German goal but gets dispossessed by a lunging challenge from Arne Friedrich. The loose ball bounces up, and hits an onrushing Lampard who, in turn, lashes it over Neuer from the edge of the box. It crashes against the bar and down, backwards, beyond the line, before it springs back up and reverses its path safely into Neuer’s hands.

It’s over the line. It’s way over the line. It’s so far beyond the line it might as well be in Lesotho looking back at the line and thinking “How the hell did I get all the way over here, in Lesotho, the country landlocked entirely as an enclave within the borders of South Africa?”.

It’s not given. The goal is not given. The thing that should be deemed a goal is actually deemed the opposite; not a goal. The goal that is fundamentally and unequivocally a goal is not given as a goal, and Podolski goes up the other end to fire a 100mph fastball just wide of the post.

Eight years later in Russia we would benefit from Hawk-Eye, goal-line technology and the ever polarising VAR. But at this point, all we could do was grab the pitchforks. And by ‘grab the pitchforks’ I mean ‘boo and swear very loudly at the television’, as is the tradition in our culture.

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Wayne Rooney remonstrates with assistant referee Mauricio Espinosa

Wayne Rooney remonstrates with assistant referee Mauricio Espinosa / Clive Mason/GettyImages

England come out for the second-half with Steven Gerrard still remonstrating with the referee. Probably not even about the goal, but about being asked to play left-wing by a miserable Italian man. On commentary, Mark Lawrenson urges the team not to bring anger back out onto the pitch, as it will lead to ‘poor decisions’.

This is perhaps the first and only time Mark Lawrenson has ever been right about anything.

Lampard hits a knuckle ball free-kick off the bar from a ludicrous distance. England are on top, but both teams struggle to create chances that aren’t hopeful efforts from range. And then… UGH.

He then hits another ambitious free-kick, this time straight into the wall and Gareth Barry loses the rebound on the edge of the German penalty area. Germany break. England have only Ashley Cole back, but Lampard and one Glen Johnson make up ground. Germany work it one way and then back the other to free Muller in the box, but again wide and with a poor shooting angle. He shoots regardless.

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James’ positioning is great and with Lampard closing down, Muller has no way of scoring. Muller scores, which may or may not have something to do with James, a professional goalkeeper, closing his eyes and flapping his hands at the shot – hit directly at him – as though he is attempting to deflect a water balloon away from his face but is terrified of getting the consequent splash in his eyes.

They think it’s all over. It is. It definitely is. But it especially is now. Three minutes later Ozil chases a clearance down the left with no England players back other than Cole and Barry, quickly closing in. Except Barry isn’t quickly closing in at all and is instead moving so slowly that he may as well be running backwards. With an anchor tied around his waist. On the moon.

Ozil jogs into the box, squares through Cole’s legs and Muller is there to fire into the roof of the net. 4-1.

Had Lampard’s goal been allowed, though… had it just been rightfully given… had justice been enacted in England’s favour just this once, however… and we may well have lasted long enough to go out in a blaze of glory on penalties.

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So just bear that in mind please, Germany and everyone else with memories of us being terrible at the 2010 World Cup. We did make it 2-2 at one point, and that we will take.



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EPL

Conor Coady responds to ‘daft’ question about Liverpool allegiance

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Conor Coady has told England teammate Jordan Henderson to do better in his goading after the Liverpool captain taunted him over his Everton connection.

Coady was a product of the Liverpool youth system and made a solitary appearance for his boyhood club in the 2012 Europa League. He has since moved on to Huddersfield Town and Wolves before joining Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton on loan last summer.

Speaking on the latest episode of Lion’s Den from England’s World Cup camp, though, Henderson could not resist trying to wind up Coady by quizzing him on his allegiances.

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“Conor, we are all England here,” Henderson said. “But what I really want to know is: are you blue or red?”

Henderson then started laughing, which prompted a similar response from Coady, who appeared both irritated and amused by the question.

“It’s so poor from him,” Coady said while smiling. “We have banter all the time. Of course, I am playing for Everton. He knows deep down.

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

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If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download or listen to the episode in full!

“So, for him to come out there and ask that question is daft. Of course, I am blue. Of course, I am blue, without a shadow of a doubt.

“For him to say that…you know what I am going to go back there sit down and have a coffee with him. I will give him a bit. That’s nowhere near good enough from the big fella. Blue all day long.”

Everton have a clause allowing them to sign Coady permanently from Wolves this summer for a fee of just £4.5m.

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Club director leaves door open to Chelsea transfer in January

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Dynamo Moscow director Dmitry Gafin has admitted young midfielder Arsen Zakharyan could seal his move to Chelsea in January.

The Blues attempted to sign the 19-year-old during the summer transfer window but complexities involved in dealing with a Russian club left them unable to complete a deal for Zakharyan before the window closed.

Since then, sources have informed 90min that Chelsea have not given up on Zakharyan, who comes with a release clause of around £12.6m, and have remained in contact with all relevant authorities in an attempt to conclude a transfer.

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Talks have been held between Chelsea and FIFA, UEFA and the Premier League to try and find a way to work within the current rules regarding dealing with Russian clubs, with Blues co-owner Todd Boehly still very keen to get a deal done.

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download or listen to the episode in full!

In Moscow, club director Gafin has conceded that talks with Chelsea could reignite in January.

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“We cannot rule out the resumption of history with Chelsea in winter, I cannot comment on the information that appears and will appear,” he told TASS.

Gafin was, however, quick to question claims that Zakharyan has already agreed personal terms with Chelsea, insisting Dynamo Moscow have not given the club permission to speak with the Russia international just yet.

“Regarding his alleged contract with Chelsea, we don’t know anything about this, we did not give permission for such contacts,” he said. “I think this is from the rumour mill.”



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Antonee Robinson praises career revival of USMNT & Fulham teammate Tim Ream

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United States Men’s National Team full-back Antonee Robinson has heaped praise on his club and international teammate Tim Ream for his late-career renaissance.

At 35 years old, Ream has gone from being on the outside of the USMNT setup, picking up just one cap in 2020, to being a rock at the heart of Gregg Berhalter’s defense in Qatar.

Ream’s revival has been thanks to his incredible form in the Premier League with Fulham, with the veteran center-back coming first among his teammates in a number of key metrics so far, such as interceptions (21), blocks (23), clearances (50), and passes completed (715).

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The man next to him both at club and international level, Robinson, has enjoyed Ream’s career turnaround firsthand and has revealed just how much it means to him.

“The standard that [Ream] has been at, it’s been amazing,” Robinson told ESPN. “He’s such a calming presence on the ball. It’s no shock to me. I’ve played with him for a long-enough time now to know what he’s all about. But to see him actually come out on this stage, when it was at one point looking like he wouldn’t be here, and raise his level even more than he has done already this season, it means a lot to me.”

Ream and the USMNT have a great chance to reach the World Cup knockout stages when they face Iran on Tuesday, with a victory enough to see them finish at least second in Group B. Anything less and they’ll find themselves on the next plane home from Qatar and planning for their 2026 campaign as co-hosts.

Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.

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