Women’s World Cup run was like one big gushing love-in: Clive Smith

England's Steph Houghton after her penalty miss. Picture: Getty Images
England's Steph Houghton after her penalty miss. Picture: Getty Images
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Who says the England women’s football team doesn’t have the same qualities as the men’s? By the way they went out of the World Cup, they were exactly the same.

Going out in the semis, dubious decisions, a missed penalty and a red card. Is there a more typical way for England to exit a tournament?

But really, that’s where the similarities end.

For me, it felt like it was one big love-in, even gushing to a point.

It would have been better if there had been some middle ground between the ‘inspiring the nation’ guff that was so often banded about during the women’s tournament and the savaging the men’s team take when things go wrong.

No one was called a turnip, there were no effigies of players hanging from lampposts. But I feel it’s important tough questions are asked when you lose.

But this never happened. It was all very nice, almost like people were afraid to criticise the women.

This won’t be helpful if the women’s game is to move on.

And yes, the standard has improved since I last watched it. But let’s not get carried away. There were people saying they were better than the men. What rubbish.

Just three years ago world champions the USA were beaten 5-2 by an under-15 boys’ team from Dallas. The Australian women’s team were beaten 7-0, again by an under-15 lads’ outfit.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s good the women’s game is getting exposure and if it encourages more girls to take up football or any sport for that matter, then great. But it’s silly making comparisons to the men’s game.

So let’s take it for what it is. Women’s football. Not some new elite sport that the BBC have been pushing on us for the last few weeks

And where were all the girls who just last year were in the pub pretending they gave a damn about football because the England men were doing well?

This year the women’s team also made the semis. But were those same girls singing It’s Coming Home again? No. Love Island was on.

If NHS has cash to splash on this, things can’t be that bad

I had a pop in last week’s column about GPs wanting to give free healthcare to foreign visitors. And here we are again with another.

You see Public Health England has just published a booklet inviting men who identify as women to attend cervical smear tests.

So you have no cervix, zero female anatomy. What the hell is there to check?

If the NHS really has enough funds to throw away on what is essentially nothing more than a role-playing exercise then things can’t really be that bad can they? And they have the front to moan about budget cuts and no money, yet will waste it on this rubbish.

It really is a load of balls… you see what I did there?

Jumbo stake shows there’s only one Dumbo in arcade

Cheryl Holden, 34, spent £100 trying to win her son a Dumbo toy from a claw machine you get at amusement arcades. She’s now appeared in the papers fuming about it.

Who puts that sort of money in those machines? Everyone knows they’re rigged. I might put a couple of quid in for the kids as a bit of fun, but that’s it.

The best part of the interview was when she said: ‘My son is five months old but if he was old enough he would probably be upset.’ Thankfully he’s not older and will never remember this sorry episode.

There’s only one Dumbo here and it’s not the baby or soft toy. Go to the Disney Store, you could get five for that price.