Soccer Aid 2019: A star studded line-up with between them, over 2000 professional goals, 256 Major Honours, 12 Olympic Gold Medals, 28 Teen Choice Awards & A whopping $47 million raised for Unicef UK. It’s no wonder millions of people tuned in to watch these stars try their hand at the beautiful game (just remember not to *actually* handle the ball and try to fool the referee).

Soccer Aid - an idea taken and redirected from Bob Geldof’s pioneering idea of a charity music event, which was revisited in recent box office hit ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ - has taken on a life of its own since it’s inception in 2006. The high profile soccer game brings former professionals and celebrities together for a 90 minute game with the aim of raising money for crises around the world. This year, we thought it would be interesting to take an analytical dive into this good spirited soccer game to see just how well the celebrities got on. Many celebrities, like all of us, believe they could have made it as a soccer player if it weren’t for their life taking a different path, we’re here to find out if there’s truth to that.

Aside from the celebrities, there are many former Balon d’Or contenders on show and it’s not often we get the opportunity to rewatch our favourite childhood players. As we’re sure there are many people out there like us who are curious to know if Didier still ‘unleash the Drog’, If John Terry can still inspire his team mates to die on their feet. Has Eric Cantona been spending the last twenty years on a trawler full of sardines? (Has anybody figured out what he meant by that by the way? Anybody?) And sometimes, people are just looking for a quick laugh. We’ve got you covered every which way. 

England’s Strong Start

While watching the game it was clear to see that England had their oatmeal on Sunday morning. They gained the upper hand early on with a Roger Federer like ease. 

John Terry was acting the playmaker (28/31 [90%] Attacking Passes), picking out passes around the opposition box that Mesut Ozil would be proud of for God’s sake. 

It was only when reviewing the match statistics that it became clear just how commanding England were in that opening 40 mins. Sam Allardyce clearly threw caution to the wind with this team, putting his faith in his players to get him goals. A ‘shoot on sight’ policy was what Big Sam had ordered and boy did he get one in the opening half. 

England out-shot the World XI by 5x (15 shots - 3 shots). Obviously quantitative measure such as number of shots can tell a story, but it’s not always a true reflection of the game. A better judgement would be look at the quality of the opportunities. In the first half, England created 9 (NINE) goal-scoring opportunities and could have (should have) scored more. 

The Only Way is Index

As we would have expected, some of the former pro’s were looking to put on a show for the millions of viewers around the globe. With their tricks and flicks, all the stops were being pulled out. And John Terry made sure everybody knew that all those hours he’s spent watching that Bruce Lee box set he got for Christmas were not wasted. It’s not often we see John Terry lift his leg THAT high (click the link to get an uneasy feeling in your lower stomach). 

Professional players aside - there were two clear standout performers in this game. These two were Jeremy Lynch, of F2Freestylers, and Mark Wright, an actor, famed for his performances on The Only Way is Essex. 

Jeremy Lynch was our InStat man of the match garnering the highest match rating (430 InStat Index) of any player by quite a distance. 40% to be exact, the next highest player rating was that of Glen Johnson’s (301). Jeremy Lynch played so well in fact that Manchester United fans have started calling on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer & Ed Woodward to tie him down to Old Trafford.

Mark Wright played at a semi-professional level before hanging up his boots to pursue his acting career, giving him somewhat of an advantage over his peers. He impressed from the outset and was heavily involved in everything England produced with 86 total involvements, the second highest on the squad behind only Glen Johnson (95). 

With 80% of his passes being attacking passes and 6 shots registered, Mark Wright clearly wasn’t there to make up the numbers. Is it too late to cap him for the Senior Men’s National Team?

Super Keeper(s)

‘Behind every good goalie is an empty net’. Just like how forwards are judged on the simple metric of how many goals they score. Goalkeepers are judged on how many goals they concede and their number of clean sheets. It would be rather disingenuous of us to say that this quote and those metrics reflect the performances of the goalkeepers in this game. 

Julio Cesar rolled back the years and showed he’s still capable of drawing on his reactions to pull of show stopping super saves. 

He put in a performance that must have left QPR fans scratching their heads.

  • InStat Index - 313
  • 100% Passing Accuracy between 0-40m
  • 7 Stopped Shots
  • 5 Super Saves

It wasn’t just the former Brazilain international goalkeeper who impressed. A man who is no stranger to the number one, having garnered 14 of them in the UK music charts, Nicky Byrne commanded his penalty area during his second half performance between the sticks. 

The front man has been busy back touring again with Westlife, but he must have managed to squeeze some practice time into his busy schedule. He didn’t look out of place at all in his own penalty area. 

  • InStat Index - 317
  • 100% Passing Accuracy between 0-40m
  • 2 Super Saves
  • 1 Clean Sheet

Here for a good time

Being a pro-am soccer game, it was always going to be an entertaining affair. A family friendly event, throwing up some hilarious moments. People falling over, terrible misses, slick skills, and who knew Sir Mo Farah loved a slide tackle?

The unmistakable star of the show was Jamie Carragher. Jamie completely mistimed the bounce of a ball and was left for dead in the wake of Usain Bolt who scored his team’s opening goal as a result. I feel this clip is going to be played a lot over the next year on Sky Sports Monday Night Football.

The Turkish Aguero

The 2017 Love Island winner, Kem Cetinay, had a lot to live up to after self proclaiming himself to be the ‘Turkish Aguero’ on his reality tv show. He may have similar physique to the Argentinian sharpshooter, low centre of gravity and stocky upper body, but whether he could play like Man City’s all time top goalscorer was questionable to say the least.

Kem started the game as a substitute. That’s not something to hold against a player as many of the most important players of all time were better off the bench. With his team needing a goal with just half an hour remaining, the former Colchester United youth player was subbed in on the right hand side of midfield.

He impressed during his cameo performance and showed an ability to keep hold of ball possession. Putting in two dangerous crosses, successfully completing a dribble, successfully completing 78% of all his actions and let’s not forget - he did score the goal which sent the game to a penalty shootout which ultimately won the game for the World XI. 

With all that is said and done, this event took place for one reason. To help kids in war torn countries like Sierra Leone and Zambia. So let’s try and help children in sad situations find happiness and enjoy their childhood as much as possible. Please donate to Soccer Aid ‘19 and Unicef now to change a child’s life for the better.