Monday 21 August 2017

World Cup diary: Cool-headed Cox takes sudden call in his stride

SIMON COX is a confident chap and displayed his sense of humour in the Grand Hotel on Saturday evening when a press briefing was interrupted.

A reporter who was using his phone as a recording device hadn't banked on someone trying to call him during the exercise.

Instead of waiting for it to ring out -- or taking the Roy Keane approach of staring down the owner -- Cox calmly lifted the phone and answered it.

"He's doing an interview at the moment," chirped the West Bromwich Albion striker before hanging up.

TV star suspended for Russia 'keeper remarks

THE airwaves will be quieter than usual in Moscow this week, with well-known Russian broadcaster Dmitry Guberniev currently suspended for scandalous comments he made about the national team's stand-in 'keeper, Vyacheslav Malafeev.

Zenit's netminder will deputise for the sorely missed Igor Akinfeev, who suffered a serious knee injury after a horror challenge in last weekend's Moscow derby.

Guberniev, who works for the Russia-2 network, was caught speaking on-air about Malafeev, expressing his horror that Dick Advocaat would have to call on a very bad player. Or words to that effect.

The choice language was one thing, yet Guberniev went further by discussing the death of Malafeev's wife in a car accident earlier this year, adding details that he claimed to have heard from a police officer.

Not surprisingly, a storm erupted, and Guberniev was sidelined. Malafeev stood in against Macedonia and failed to convince, opting to punch rather than catch the ball.

Trapattoni will surely have taken note.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I am well used to intimidating atmospheres; you get that going into a restaurant in Glasgow."

-- Darren O'Dea, currently on loan at Leeds, has enough life experience from his time at Celtic to give him confidence about entering hostile arenas.

NUMBER OF THE DAY

3 The amount of teams who have come away from Moscow with victory in a qualifying encounter. The victorious nations were the French World Cup-winning team of 1998, who were on their way to Euro 2000 success, the Germany team who used it as the platform to their thrilling exploits in South Africa last summer, and the Slovakia side who caused a stir 12 months ago.

At least Ireland can take encouragement from one of those wins.

Irish Independent

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