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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 24 April, 2019

The Kingdom, Suarez and celebs at Wimbledon: it's our favourite sports writing this week

Get that kettle on.


1. It’s not quite writing but this Telegraph piece on how the 1996 World Cup final would’ve played out on Twitter is great. 

2. After two goals against England and a great deal of post-match jabbering, Suarez’s desire palpably drained. He was half-hearted against Italy. It’s also important to remember that he underwent knee surgery a month ago. Those are now some very valuable knees, and Suarez may want to protect them.

One of the several ways to look at his biting of defender Giorgio Chiellini is as a way to end an unwanted professional commitment.

Surely, he understood that he was headed home once he bit someone. For the third time. Suarez is unhinged, but he’s also proven himself a wonderful facilitator at getting the things he wants. So, having showed up the country he hates, he grows bored and frustrated and bites the Italian. He gets banned for however many games. He goes home, where he starts his real work of the summer – leaving England. As such, there is a malign brilliance to what Suarez has accomplished here.”

Cathal Kelly’s take on the story of the week — and possibly year — is worth a read.

3. “Willie John McBride, when speaking about how he earned his first cap for Ireland in 1962, used to joke ‘I think the previous fella died or something.’ During the 60s, 70s, and 80s, it was notoriously difficult to be dropped from the Irish rugby team. The only way one could surrender a spot on the Irish team was by either breaking one’s leg or retiring.

Roughly the same system of squad rotation was followed, with somewhat more justification it has to be said, by Kerry in the 1980s. For the 1988 Munster Final, circumstances forced Kerry to go with a newish looking forward line. Sheehy and Moran had retired, and Liston’s knee was banjaxed. Maurice Fitz, Connie Murphy, and McAuliffe were all given starting berths. The only player who was ‘kind of’ dropped was the only half-injured Paidi O Se, and that decision was so momentous it was discussed on the Late Late Show last year.”’s Conor Neville remembers Kerry’s lost years betwen ’87 and ’96.

3. “I visited the tomb of General Jose Artigas this morning, just as dawn broke over his hometown. A heavy blue fog covered the city, hiding the tops of buildings, so there was no dramatic segue from night to day. One minute you couldn’t see, and the next you could, taking in the scene: an empty main plaza, with the enormous bronze Artigas riding his muscular bronze horse. One city worker, puffing clouds of condensed breath in the bone-chill of an early morning, swept the bricks around the monument. It was the time for ghosts. Many of them will be intersecting today — Uruguay’s first match since the suspension of Luis Suarez, which had rallied and angered the nation; yesterday’s 41st anniversary of Uruguay’s military coup; and, as always, the life story of Artigas, Uruguay’s George Washington — as both inspiration and warning.”

ESPN’s Wright Thompson is having a great World Cup. 

4. ”The middle Saturday of Wimbledon tells all you need to know about the values of 21st century Britain. The Royal Box, designed for the pleasure of those with the right ancestral blood, is taken over by a different kind of elite, and yesterday the sporting royalty on display included among others a track queen (Victoria Pendleton), a cricketing prince (Sachin Tendulkar) and Bradley Wiggins, who proved at London 2012 that he looks good on a throne. They were all, of course, upstaged by King David of Beckingham Palace, who gave a particularly regal wave from his front-row seat.

Star-spotting became a key distraction since the Beeb had little else to cut away to, except the occasional forlorn shot of the Hill, covered in brollies that the cameras had to strain to pick out of the gloom. The rain pelting down on the roof was picked up by the Centre Court’s mic, and gave the likes of Lizzy Yarnold, Tom Daley and Stuart Broad extra reason to feel smug about their seats.”

The Guardian’s Emma John on star-spotting in the royal box at SW19.

World Cup hangout: talk football and win a new tablet as we get back to Brazil

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