Desert Outtakes: German Wags accountable for early World Cup exit too

A new low for Cristiano Ronaldo, Poland’s third choice goalkeeper doesn’t hold back

Blame the Wags

The inquest in to Germany’s early World Cup exit continues and while, naturally enough, the bulk of the blame is being placed firmly on the shoulders of the manager and players, Bild reckons the “WAGs” need to be held accountable too.

While they saluted the wives and girlfriends of the England and Wales players for “drinking half of Qatar dry”, they, em, alleged that the German women wanted to show that they are “more than just a nice accessory, so during the World Cup they were pursuing their own interests”.

“Just a few years ago, they cheered on every game in the stands, not only providing motivation for their men but above all some glamour in the stadiums. But those times are, it seems, over.”

Only two WAGs, they said, were regular attenders at the games, the rest off doing their own thing. Like Scarlett Gartmann, wife of Marco Reus. “She never misses an opportunity to market herself on Instagram and thus increase her value as an influencer ... and there are always sugar-sweet selfies with fluffy dogs.” (Reus actually missed the World Cup through injury, so what else would Scarlett be doing?).


Izabel Goulart, the partner of goalkeeper Kevin Trapp? “She keeps posting pictures of herself in the Brazil jersey – does she want to annoy her dream man,” Bild asked, Goulart being, well, Brazilian.

Lisa Müller, wife of Thomas Müller? “She dedicates herself to her passion: dressage – and proudly posts her successes on Instagram. However, how about you support your dream man? He’s really an animal!”

Bild’s conclusion? “Be happy that you too are now flying home with your football dwarves.” Oooh.

Exchange of the weekend

We’ll go with this one, from Saturday, the latest chapter in this pair’s interminable spat over who is the current GOAT.

Piers Morgan: “The relentless Messi fan-girling by the whole BBC punditry team is getting excruciatingly obsequious. Getting worried one of them might have an ‘accident’ in the studio. Calm yourselves, lads. He had a good game against an average side. See how he does against a good team.”

Gary Lineker: “Good to see you emerge briefly from deep inside the bowels of Ronaldo to express your opinion.”

Not for the first time, 1-0 to Gary.

A new low for Ronaldo

As if his bank account wasn’t already healthy enough, last year Cristiano Ronaldo overtook wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson as the celebrity who can charge the most for endorsing a product or company on Instagram – for simply saying, as an example, “this orange juice is delish”, he gets E1.5 million.

We can confidently state, though, that one business he won’t be endorsing is the Croatian based sports data company Sofascore. Why? Because they’ve named him in their worst XI based on performances in the group stages of the World Cup, Ronaldo’s average rating a meagre 6.37.

The full line-up: Meshaal Barsham (Qatar); Alistair Johnston (Canada), Oscar Duarte (Costa Rica), Francisco Calvo (Costa Rica), Homam Ahmed (Qatar); Mathew Leckie (Australia), Karim Boudiaf (Qatar), Abdulellah Al Malki (Saudi Arabia), Tajon Buchanan (Canada); Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Almoez Ali (Qatar).

The bigger shock, to be honest, is that Qatar only have four players in there.

Biggest Louser of the World Cup so far

Take a bow, Kamil Grabara, Poland’s third choice goalkeeper at the tournament.

What did he do to earn this gong? Well, The Guardian picked up on it on Saturday after Australian goalkeeper Mat Ryan’s mistake that led to Julián Álvarez making it 2-0 for Argentina in their knock-out game.

It was a nightmare of a moment for the Australian captain, not least because the game finished 2-1, so you’d imagine he’d have received some solidarity, in a, there but for the Grace of God go I, kind of way, from fellow goalies.

Enter Grabara. “Must have been politics, for sure,” he tweeted, along with a smirky emoji. What did this mean? Well, the Australian media say it’s a reference to the theory that Ryan only lost his place at Copenhagen because of club politics – namely that they want to sell their other goalie, so are playing him in the hope of attracting a suitor. Who is the other goalie? Grabara. Yes, he and Ryan are clubmates.

Not friendly ones, as you’ll gather. “There is a reason why we are in ninth place in the Superliga and that the goals have poured in,” said Grabara when Ryan was in goal for Copenhagen while he was out injured, “it speaks for itself.”

Ryan on being told about the tweet? “His opinion doesn’t really concern me.” Just as well.

In words

“Two great goals, the rest is something to cry about. As a football lover, I asked myself, ‘what am I looking at? I don’t know if I can cope with this much longer.”

—  The Netherlands might well be through to the quarter-finals, but their brand of football is wrecking Marco van Basten’s head.

In numbers

789 – That’s how many goals Lionel Messi has scored in 1,000 career appearances. He’s quite good, this lad.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times