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Good and bad news from the Asia Cup in Qatar, while in the UK a storm over sexist remarks by TV a pundit and anchor. You can listen to these and other stories on our weekly podcast.
This week has seen two great adverts for football in Asia in the two semi-finals at the Asia Cup. Australia blew away Uzbekistan with a clinical performance. The 6-0 win by the Socceroos will give them great confidence going into the final where they will meet Japan. The Blue Samuri were involved in a titanic struggle against their north-east Asian rivals, Korea. These two countries are always up for it when they meet and this occasion was no different. Korea took the lead against the run of play with a controversial penalty. But Japan hit back with some beautiful play on the left with a fantastic, weighted pass slicing open the Korean defence. It was extra time and Japan scored again and then looked to be heading for the finals before a dramatic equaliser in the last 10 seconds of normal time saw the game go to penalties. A dramatic game was wrapped up emphatically by Japan with Korea missing three of their penalties (watch highlights here).
However good the semi finals at the Asia Cup were, the attendance has been atrocious, not to say embarrassing. Teams have been playing in stadia only a quarter full. The lack of interest doesn’t bode well for the World Cup in 2022 which will of course also be held in Qatar. What is more, it seems the wider footballing world hasn’t been given the chance to see some of the great football that there has been at the tournament.
It has been an ugly few days for UK TV company Sky Sports as two of their main figures, anchor Richard Keys and commentator Andy Gray were caught making sexist comments about a female referee’s assistant before Liverpool’s away game at Wolves. Gray has subsequently been fired for ‘unacceptable and offensive behaviour‘ as the sports channel aims to clean up their image. Both men suggested that the assistant, Sian Massey, would not know the offside rule – because she was a woman, while it now emerges that Gray also made distasteful remarks about Massey beforehand. Interestingly, Gray is in the process of suing the owners of Sky – News Corp – over allegations of phone tapping so we have probably not heard the end of this story yet. An ugly incident indeed.
blow away: defeat easily, win by a large number of goals, destroy
titanic struggle: huge match, difficult and exciting game with both teams fighting hard
(beautiful) weighted pass: a pass delivered at just the right speed for another player to collect
wrap up: end, finish, put to bed (idiom)
atrocious: terrible, awful, very bad
not bode well: not encouraging, not a good sign for the future
making sexist comments
phone tapping: When someone illegally listens in to someone else’ phone calls
subsequently : Since then
distasteful remarks: Nasty comments, comments in bad taste
suing: Taking them to court
allegations: Unproven claims