World Cup All in the Game: Omens aplenty as England hit bullseye in opening game

Spanish manager Luis Enrique feeling family pressure to pick Ferran Torres

Even before England’s 6-2 win over Iran in their opening game, The Sun was feeling decidedly optimistic about their prospects in Qatar, declaring “it’s coming omen!”

The omen in question? Well, Declan Rice, Luke Shaw and Mason Mount all took part in a darts challenge on Josh Denzel’s Lions’ Den show where they were given unlimited arrows to reach a particular figure in 30 seconds.

“What should have been the most simple challenge became instead the most freaky,” The Sun gasped, “as it rammed home the dream of emulating the Three Lions’ World Cup heroes.”

“That is just strange. that is.. wow,” said Mount.


What happened?

All three lads hit ….. 66. Prepare the open-top bus.


“Are you Scotland in disguise?”

As if losing 6-2 wasn’t bad enough, Iran had this sung at them by the England supporters.


According to Opta Joe, the number of passes in the build-up to Jack Grealish’s goal on Monday, the most in the World Cup since ... 1966. It’s coming home.

Abbreviation gaffes

On Monday we mentioned the unfortunate slip-up by RTÉ in their choice of abbreviation for Iran, which resulted in their World Cup fixtures for the day including “ENG v IRA.”

A trend is developing. S4C’s billing for Wales’ meeting with the United States on Monday evening? “UDA v CYMRU.”

Not that you need to be told, but the Welsh for the United States of America is “Unol Daleithiau America”.

Might be best to rearrange those words a touch.


“Any country can host an event. I actually went to North Korea some years ago to ask them if they were ready to host part of a women’s World Cup with South Korea. I was not successful, but I would go another 100 times if it would help.”

Fifa president Gianni Infantino is just trolling us at this stage, isn’t he?

“When you are coach of Iran, if you don’t have dogs you go with cats.”

Carlos Queiroz, speaking about the quality of players available to him, upsetting the world’s cat-loving fraternity by implying that dogs are superior. (Which is, of course true).

“Morgan Freeman has more World Cup appearances than Italy since 2014.”

Cold from @TrollFootball, but true.

“That’s very easy: it’s Mr Ferran Torres. Otherwise, my daughter will come after me and chop off my head.”

Spanish coach Luis Enrique on being asked who would be the first name on his team-sheet, Torres his choice because he happens to dating Enrique’s daughter.


“The atmosphere is excellent, we are completely focused. You can help by not talking about me. I’m completely bulletproof and ironclad. If you ask other players about Cristiano Ronaldo I would be upset. If you want to ask about the World Cup and the team, I would like you to do that.”

Cristiano Ronaldo instructing the media not to ask the Portuguese squad about their thoughts on Cristiano Ronaldo. If only that lad had some confidence.

“Gianni Infantino obviously not feeling armbands today.”

Hats off, Gary Lineker.

“Richarlison might be in Brazil’s team, but I honestly don’t think he’d get in the England squad. He’s decent enough, but I really don’t see him as any better than Callum Wilson.”

Harry Redknapp ensuring that Richarlison will end up with the Golden Boot.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times