While the World Cup was drawing to a close over the weekend, there were a few other football scores which might have piqued your interest.
Pre-season has officially started for clubs in the Premier League, and this means friendlies against teams of, if we’re being be generous, ‘varying’ quality.
Liverpool drew 0-0 with Bury and West Ham beat Wycombe 1-0, but other results were far less tight; Arsenal put eight past Boreham Wood, but none had a more ridiculous afternoon of goals that Everton did in Austria.
Everton played ATV Irdning, an amateur club so small that they don’t even have a Wikipedia page. In news that probably won’t surprise anybody, the game saw Everton win by 22 goals, including this own goal from the hosts.
However, t’s another of the goals that’s been raising eyebrows, due in no small part to the behaviour of Irdning goalkeeper Wolfgang Zelzer.
As Everton midfielder Nikola Vlasic strolled through, Zelzer appeared to turn his back on the Croatian, with some speculating that he had simply given up after
In fact, things got so out of hand that the club was forced to issue an official statement explaining what really happened, with the fitting title of ‘Fake News’.
After thanking Everton for playing them on their 60th anniversary, the self-professed “small club” said “it is important for us that we put the widespread Fake News right” with regards to Everton’s 20th goal of the day.
“At first the situation looked very strange indeed,” the statement reads.
“For the 293 visitors in the stadium it was totally clear what happened. Vlasic supposed to be offside and the assistant raised his flag. Our goalkeeper then turned away and waited for the whistle. However, this was missing because the main referee assessed the situation differently and overruled his assistant.
“Of course, if you look at the widely spread video, we understand the comments and the anger of some people. Our goalkeeper Wolfgang Zelzer is a very fair sportsman and would never give up a ball during the match.”
While it’s easy to say Zelzer should have played to the whistle, those with decent memories will know he is not the first or highest-profile goalkeeper to behave like this.
Back in 2001, while playing for Manchester United, World Cup winning goalkeeper Fabien Barthez watched West Ham United player Paolo di Canio run through on goal and decided to stand stock-still and raise his hand as if flagging the player offside himself.
At the very least, Zelzer will know he’s not alone.