Watching the England vs. Croatia World Cup semi-final, which isn’t really my bag, but you know, it’s coming home so I had to watch it. Anyway, it got me thinking about horse sport, which was a nice distraction after the unnerving Croatian equaliser in a painful second half, and how it shares some of the same features as football…

1. At half time, the potential substitutes actually spend time stretching on the pitch to get them used to the atmosphere. That’s basically an arena walk for a spooky dressage horse.

2. You get penalties.

3. They wear studs.

4. Some of the players have two white socks.

5. Some of the players cost a great deal of money.

6. Corners are so very important.

7. VAR is hugely effective…

8. We totally invented it…

9. The Germans are (ordinarily) rather good at it.

10. Kicking is involved.

11. Just when you think everything’s going swimmingly, it can all go horribly wrong.

12. When you hit the dirt, which is often enough, you can roll about a bit but ultimately get back up and kick on.


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13. You don’t want to be outside the flags (if there isn’t an opposing player further outside of them between you and the goal, along with the goal keeper… OK basically you don’t want the flags to go up, or down, or move…a female’s understanding of the off-side rule right there).

14. Waistcoats, even, on occasion.

But I can’t think of anything equal to the horror of having to be a goal keeper.

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