GIVEMESPORT Awards #22: Cristiano Ronaldo, England and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang feature

  • Kobe Tong

I've got a confession to make: I'm addicted to Suez Canal memes.

I know, I know, it's a serious issue that has cost the world economy billions upon billions every day but let's be honest here, the 200,000-tonne Ever Given being freed is a terrible bit of news for my entertainment on Twitter.

I mean, seriously, such is my lockdown boredom that the sight of Ross Geller screaming: "PIVOT," across the marooned vessel and Austin Powers desperately failing to execute a U-turn in a tight corridor have been invaluable.

Suez Canal memes

If you were to send humanitarian aid to the Tong household this week, then sack off the toilet rolls, long-grain rice, chicken casserole mix and craft beer for the sight of a teeny, tiny digger staring up at a colossal boat bow.

Actually, that craft beer part... yeh... let's keep that.

'But what has this got to do with football?' I hear you screaming. Well, aside from absolutely nothing, it has absolutely everything to do with the beautiful game - and I've come here today to combine my passions.


Suez Canal meets football

That's right, my blissfully-unaware editor might think I'm writing the GMS Awards today, but I'm actually here to welcome you to 'The Official Kobe Tong Gallery of tenuously-football-related Suez Canal memes'.

Hi, hey, welcome, take a seat. You'll just have to imagine me in Steve Jobs fancy dress, swirling around a glass of red wine and walking around thoughtfully to the sound of Beethoven, but the exhibition is free for all, so be sure to check it out below:

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Oof, yeh, maybe I should stick to the day job. Speaking of which, the international break did what it does worst this week - existed - so I better plough through ten hours of World Cup qualifying footage I never knew I needed in my life.

So, without further ado, strap yourselves in for 16 winners that, depending on your opinion on international football, might make you wish that you were one of the 370 ships waiting weeks and weeks to pass through the canal: 

Goal of the week

John McGinn vs Austria

If there's one thing I love more than Suez Canal memes, it's bicycle kicks and Scotland's McGinn was on hand to supply my weekly fix, continuing his unwavering penchant for outrageously good goals.

A special shoutout to Gabon's Aaron Boupendza for his rip-roaring strike against the Democratic Republic of Congo but for my money, it had nothing on the switch-blade-like finish of McGinn's acrobatic equaliser.

Player of the week

Tomas Soucek

Just when it looked as though Soucek's season couldn't get any better, the West Ham United hero goes and steals the show in the international break, smashing home a hat-trick from midfield against Estonia.

The free-scoring Czech might not have followed it up with a goal against Belgium, but his qualifying masterclass was still enough to oust brilliant displays from Burak Yilmaz, Jordi Alba, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Diogo Jota.


Manager of the week

Luc Holtz

Yes, we could have chosen Turkey's Şenol Güneş for securing wins over the Netherlands and Norway, but we'd be remiss not to choose Luxembourg's long-serving head coach after their historic result at Ireland.

Their unlikeliest of 1-0 victories on Irish soil ended a winless run of 124 away matches in World Cup and Euros qualifiers and 28 qualifying games on the road without even a draw, dating back to September 2008.


Game of the week

AS Mhamdia 7-7 Es Rades

Look, I don't even know where to start with this madness. In fact, such was the level of anarchy during the Tunisian second-tier clash that the country's football federation is investigating the game for, well, obvious reasons.

Besides, just in case the 14-goal scoreline isn't mental enough on paper, bear in mind that Es Rades were only leading 2-1 at half-time and AS Mhamdia sensationally bottled a 7-5 lead in stoppage time. Carnage.


Outrageous skill of the week

Jude Bellingham

You know you've whipped out pure sauce when a trick from the warm-up is good enough to bag a GMS Award but this is Borussia Dortmund's Bellingham we're talking about, why should we be surprised?

Well, actually, Eric Dier was clearly surprised because the Spurs man was brutally and unwittingly nutmegged by a superb trick from Bellingham that saw him rebound the ball off both feet with jaw-dropping accuracy.

Fallon d'Floor

Léo Chú

We've all seen players pick up a yellow card for diving, but have you ever seen someone sent off for two of them? Well, fear not, because that's exactly what happened during Gremio's 1-1 draw with EC São José.

The visitors' Chú was left with egg on his face in stoppage time at the Estádio Passo D'Areia after being awarded his second consecutive caution for trying to win penalties under minimal contact. I bet he dived into his early bath, too. 


Strangest punditry of the week

Paul Ince

Take it away, Paul: "Sergio Aguero might be leaving Man City, why shouldn’t United make a move for him? You could see it now; if he wanted to stay in the Premier League and he’s living in Manchester, then I don’t think it would be a bad thing at all if they went and got Aguero.

"It can happen, who knows? You’ve got to ask the question if you’re United because you never know. It happened with us back in 1992 when Howard Wilkinson was asking Sir Alex Ferguson about Denis Irwin.

"Fergie said there’d be no chance of that happening and suggested Leeds sold Cantona to them and within a couple of days that deal was done. It was just Fergie throwing a name out there and taking a chance, trying his luck. Maybe that’s what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should do with Aguero this summer."

I love the ambition, I really do, but there's not a cat in hell's chance that Manchester City's all-time record goalscorer would even entertain the idea of crossing enemy lines this summer. Sorry, Incey.


Disasterclass of the week

Serbia vs Portugal situation

Let's face it, this was a shambles on every level. Firstly, it's bonkers that such a high-profile World Cup qualifying game would be without goal-line technology and VAR, ultimately impacting the final result.

But at the same time, give the assistant referee a break. It was an incredibly tough decision in real-time and Cristiano Ronaldo's hissy fit - claiming that the entire nation of Portugal has been 'harmed' - was completely over the top.

Tweet of the week

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Just when we thought Jack Grealish had shrunk modern-day shinpads to microscopic proportions, Everton's Calvert-Lewin goes and raises him one, turning out for England with approximately zero leg protection.

And with football fans bounding around Nokia jokes on social media, the man himself couldn't help having the last laugh by declaring that his tiny shinpads were in fact Custard Creams; breaking the internet in the process.


Craziest bet of the week

San Marino odds vs England

Ok, ok, ok, we might not have a mind-blowing accumulator to show you this week, but we couldn't resist laughing at all the mental scenarios that bookmakers considered more likely than San Marino defeating England.

According to The Sun, the absolute shenanigans of Beyonce becoming US President, Steven Gerrard taking over at Manchester United and Scotland winning Euro 2020 were all more fancied than the plucky minnows making history.


Sunday League award

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting

Oh boy, oh boy, there's been a bizarre trend of registration errors in 2021 and the latest clanger involving Cameroon has the Sunday League drama of signing up a ringer at the last possible moment written all over it.

But even the organisational shambles of the Duck and Hound can't hold a candle to Cameroon coach Antonio Conceicao sending a request to Bayern Munich about calling up Choupo-Moting to the wrong email address. Whoops.


S***housery award

Jose Enrique

Am I the only one who learned that Enrique is an absolute savage on Instagram this week? Well, either way, it's fair to say the ex-Liverpool defender was on brutal form after Portugal's draw with Serbia.

Besides, Enrique was pulling no punches with his post-match s***housery, penning: "BREAKING NEWS: Jota is injured. Jota has sustained a back injury after carrying Penaldo and Penandes." 


Roy Keane award

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's new haircut

Call me crazy, but I don't think that Keane is a Travis Scott fan, so it's probably safe to infer that the United legend would have been raging with Aubameyang's decision to sport a wild haircut on Gabon duties this week.

Let's face it, Keane doesn't really like footballers doing anything other than, well, football, so I don't doubt for a second that Aubameyang would be forced to return to a mere crewcut if the Irishman was his boss.


Urban Dictionary of the week

Word: Sanmarino (adjective)

Definition: The cheery, plucky inspiring person who always - despite their best efforts - gets bulldozed

In a sentence: My mate Dean is an absolute sanmarino, bless him. I mean, honestly, you couldn't meet a nicer guy. He's so happy-go-lucky, always puts a smile on people's faces and you know he'll show up every time, but the poor lad can't catch a break. Besides, he crashed his car, suffered a burglary, broke his leg and got rejected in five job interviews last week alone.


Managerial innuendo of the week

Stephen Kenny

“It’s a bad night, a very bad night, and we’ve got to dust ourselves down and go again. It’s very disappointing, we’re all gutted, and we have to take the criticism.”

Look, Stephen, mate, it happens. But don't dust yourself off too quickly, otherwise there might be even more disappointment in store. (Sheesh, this segment is getting seedier with each week).

TV Burp award

Most emotionally-moving and uncannily-realistic Lionel Messi impression of the week


In seriousness, it's great to see Jesse Lingard playing his best football again since moving to West Ham and he was desperately unlucky not to bag a Messi-esque goal during the San Marino clash.

Everyone's Suez Canal

Welcome to the end, ladies and gentlemen. Or the Red Sea, if you prefer.

But jokes aside, one can't help feeling that Ever Given's plight this week was the world's unfunny way of ensuring that these 12 months of absolute misery aren't going away without a fight.

Besides, what made countless of those 'digger vs gargantuan boat' memes so uncomfortably amusing is that many of our lives have also come hurtling towards an Ever Given-like impasse.


And sure, while slowly chiseling away at an overwhelming problem with tools about 1% of the size might seem unimaginably scary and intimidating, it's honest and earnest work nonetheless. 

So, the next time you feel like you're putting out a fire with a water pistol; taking down an army with a Nerf Gun or downing 30 shots of tequila with a toddler for a drinking partner, think of that plucky little digger and keep going.

Well, either that or... PIVOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!

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