Smith on Soccer: Forget flags and bunting, give our girls a chance

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A PREMIERSHIP player’s tweets get more publicity but England could be about to win a football World Cup.

No back-page screaming headlines in the tabloids, no late-night TV inquests for England’s women but they moved into the quarter-finals on Tuesday night.

Women’s football has never taken off in this country the way it has in other areas of the world - 75,000 watched France lose 4-2 to host country Germany on the same night.

Perhaps it’s the way forward for us.

Maybe the girls, talented individuals all from the limited TV coverage shown, are our best hope of glory.

England won their group with a 2-0 victory over Japan in Augsburg which means they face France in the last eight on Saturday.

Let’s be careful though.

Whatever we do, don’t be getting the beers in and giving them the full national team treatment with car flags, ridiculous expectations and tattoos.

That’s guaranteed to be the kiss of death for any team and we’ve already done too much of it.

Those of you who haven’t seen women’s football for a long time should check out the BBC’s coverage.

There’s a lot of skill in the game, good awareness and they know how to kick one another.

Gabby Logan is assisted in the studio by ex-Arsenal and England defender Martin Keown who looks strangely different these days, can’t quite pinpoint why.

Tiger Woods reckons his best days are still in front of him. Mine too, Tiger.

At 35 with three major knee operations and a dodgy achilles I think Tiger has been taking lessons at the Owen Hargreaves school of sporting optimism.

Hargreaves, one of the midfield players England so desperately needed during the World Cup, has been out for two seasons with tendonitis problems in both knees and has been released by Manchester United. He can be seen on YouTube demonstrating his fitness in some rather fetching tight, white cycling shorts.

He has worked so hard and been through so much that I hope he does find a new club and proves everyone wrong. But I suspect that, like Tiger, his time as a sporting hero is coming to an end.