Well, what a first round of fixtures we were treated to at the start of this 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. There's been a load of goals (38), as well as ample moments of controversy and confusion that are necessary for a truly exciting tournament.
In such a climate, there's only one man you can turn to for the final word on the exhilarating action that we've been gifted with - Mark Lawrenson. Obviously. Here is the first part in our exclusive (and very much unofficial) series with Lawro on this month's World Cup.
Things Mark Lawrenson hates:— Jonny Sharples (@JonnyGabriel) June 16, 2018
• Benjamin Pavard
• Goal Line Technology
• Players going down under minimal contact
We asked him to give us a concise and studious analysis of what we've seen so far. This was his response. We've added some explanations and clarifications here and there, but for the most part it is pure unadulterated Lawro. Just a warning, it got very esoteric*.
*Another warning, this is a parody. We didn't actually talk to Mark Lawrenson.
ML: Right, Where to start. I didn't watch the first game because I was deep in preparation for my commentary on the France v Australia game...NOT.
[He still thinks NOT jokes are relevant. Just go with it.]
ML: No, to be honest with you, every game up until that Spain vs. Portugal clash had felt like successive trips to the dentist. The opening game was the routine check up - nothing too intrusive - but Egypt against Uruguay was like when they tell you you need root canal. The operation then came in Iran v Morocco - it was just pure agony.
[He can be known to over-indulge an analogy.]
ML: But the Spain game was alright wasn't it. Definitely a decent game of football. My only concern was whether the tournament has now peaked. I mean, do you ever just look at yourself in the mirror and think, 'it's all downhill from here' you know...well that's how I feel about the World Cup now. And the more the comparisons between my face and the competition continue, the more trouble we're in for.
Anyway, that was good, and then there was that France game, with the bloke who dislocated his shoelace and that United player with an ever changing haircut. I mean, seriously, why is that a thing now? I haven't changed my hairstyle since 1985, and look at me, I'm fine. If you're changing your barnet every 48 hours, there's no way you can be fully focussed on your job, is there? The mind boggles, really. I mean, if you've got training on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...
[Lawro suddenly started just listing days of the week, and then activities that you should and could be doing as a footballer instead of getting your haircut, but I think you get the picture.]
I'm probably in a minority of one, but I've come full circle with Mark Lawrenson. I now enjoy his general demeanour of a perennially overlooked deputy head— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) June 16, 2018
ML: Argentina vs. Iceland was a real low point for me, to be honest. I just wanted the little lad Messi to score so much. I mean, it's at times like these that you ponder whether there really is a god up there. I mean, who said there is a god, cause I certainly didn't. It just seemed so unfair on the poor sod, all those Icelandic legs flying out of nowhere and blocking his shots.
[We then prompted him on a highlight from the first round. Radio silence ensued for 24 hours, before he finally got back to us.]
ML: To be honest guys, I'm just thankful we haven't had any of those godforsaken predicting animals this time around. They do my head in.
[We tried to get him to talk about England, but communications broke down when he refused to believe that Jordan Henderson wasn't captain. He also admitted he hadn't seen any of the other games, but still offered us a prediction (ironically) of the two teams who will get to the final.]
ML: It's hard to look beyond Germany and Brazil right now. They've both got so much about them. The Spanish are ok, but it's all a bit too powderpuffy their play, there's no cutting edge, no desire, no ooomph about them. You know what I mean?
I’ve come to the conclusion that Mark Lawrenson has seen all the tweets about his commentary, and is now just doing it on purpose.— Tom Coast (@thcoast) June 18, 2018
Of course we know what you mean, Lawro. We always have. Unfortunately, that's all he blessed us with from round one, but rest assured he will resurface at the end of the next round of fixtures, with his eternally sage wisdom.