How Southgate erased lingering effects of the Golden Generation and more of the week's best sportswriting

It’s Sunday morning and you know what that means… stick the kettle on and feast your eyes on some brilliant long reads.

1. Like the male gaze, football fans have eyes for just one thing. Nothing can turn them away from the pitch. When Fifa announced it was handing the World Cup first to kleptomaniac murderers who run Russia and then to the overseers of a serf economy in Qatar, even cynics thought Zurich’s masters of corruption had finally gone too far. Surely the world wouldn’t stand for it.”

We want to thrill to the beautiful game, but Fifa’s World Cup is toxic writes Nick Cohen for the Guardian

Morocco v Iran - FIFA World Cup 2018 - Group B - St Petersburg Stadium Source: Tim Goode

2. England’s France ’98 campaign is not really a story that can be told in black and white. A number of those involved, particularly the manager Glenn Hoddle and David Beckham, were both the good guy and the bad guy. They and the precocious Owen dominated coverage to such an extent that others who might have been scapegoats – Paul Ince, David Batty, Paul Scholes, the referee Kim Milton Nielsen - were allowed to get on with their lives in peace. Hoddle, 40, showed his age both in the immaturity of his man-management and the enlightenment of his tactics and coaching. Whether by accident or design, gaucheness or ego, he made the tournament about him in a way no England manager has done before or since.

Writing for Eurosport, Rob Smyth takes us back 20 years with his definitive account of England’s unforgettable campaign at the 1998 World Cup in France

2018 World Cup Package Source: PA Wire/PA Images

3. Tradition has dictated that the first-choice panel get the opening game on RTE, so it seems that Damien Duff has been anointed John Giles’ successor alongside the extant amigos. Amid Dunphy’s plaintive cries for the hosts, Duffer said he wanted Russia to go deep into the tournament as he hoped it “might keep the hooligans at bay”. Elsewhere, Eamo had done his deepest level of research for a broadcast since his iconic journey through Terry Venables’ Wikipedia page, chucking friendly results and qualification results and friendly goalscoring records and qualification goalscoring records at us like they were going out of fashion.

Heck, he even had Liam Brady’s work done for him as well.

“Eamon has told me about Saudi Arabia, they’re a decent team”, said Liam.

On, Gavin Cooney’s World Cup TV Review discusses Eamon Dunphy’s pre-game predictions, which went up in smoke


4. Camogie ace Louise O’Hara has been working out the dates.

The Dublin hero is eight-and-a-half months pregnant, but still hopeful of seeing some action for her club Erin’s Isle this summer. “You never know, might get a bit of championship in at the end of this year,” she said, laughing.

Considering some of the obstacles O’Hara has overcome in her life, it would be no surprise. The Finglas woman grew up just yards from the Erin’s Isle clubhouse in an area that was ravaged by drug addiction — including her own family.

Four of her six siblings were heroin addicts and O’Hara admitted that camogie and the local club saved her life. She lost her mother Rita to breast cancer and her father Michael to a brain tumour, but through it all she had the support of her club and county teammates as she rose to the very pinnacle of the sport.

Dublin camogie legend Louise O’Hara chats to Dave Coughlan of The Star about family, sport and the future

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Louise O'Hara Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

5. In 2014 and 2010 they had Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard. In the three World Cups before that they had David Beckham towering over everyone else. His presence in a Hard Rock Cafe in Kobe during an evening off in the 2002 tournament was enough to force the closure of all the surrounding roads. Italia ‘90 was another era but they had Paul Gascoigne, the best and most exciting player there. In 1986 they had Gary Lineker and in 1982 a fading Kevin Keegan, champion of Germany, England and Europe, with two Ballons d’Or to his name. In 1970, of course, they were reigning world champions.

This time, England’s best player is Harry Kane, a top striker and impressive figure but yet to win a trophy in his life.

Jack Pitt-Brooke investigates for the Independent how Gareth Southgate erased all lingering effects of the ill-fated Golden Generation

England - FIFA World Cup 2018 - Media Activity - 15th June Source: Owen Humphreys

6. “I was 150kg and I reached a point where I couldn’t walk 30 yards,” Mido says. “If I did, I started to feel pain in my back, my joints and my knees. I remember I was getting off my boat in Egypt five months ago – this day is the turning point in my life – and I was walking off on to an island. I had three friends with me and it was 300 yards to the end of the island. The sand was a bit heavy and it was a bit sunny and I said to them: ‘I cannot walk.’ I had to sit for 30 minutes. I was only 34. That was the moment the switch flicked.”

The Guardian’s Stuart James interviews Mido, the former Tottenham and Egypt striker has lost 37kg in five months since turning his life around after a wake-up call

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - West Ham United v Hull City - Upton Park Source: EMPICS Sport

Dramatic last-gasp own goal sees Iran claim their first World Cup win for 20 years

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