How to have a Christmassy World Cup

IT’S Christmas, and also the World Cup, therefore it must be Christmas at the World Cup. Follow these tips for a Yuletide football spectacular:

Shake sleigh bells for the last 20 minutes of every match

Just as a Christmas single is an ordinary song with sleigh bells a-jingling, adding them to a football match will make the whole thing charmingly festive. Shake them throughout the closing stages of Argentina-Australia tonight, including extra time and VAR.

Let it snow

Either pay a child to stand behind the TV sprinkling fake snow between you and the screen, put a graphical snowfall overlay onto the screen, or if that’s too much trouble get Qatar to do it. Call them claiming to be from FIFA and demand artificial snow at every game. They’ll do it, they’re throwing millions at this and don’t give a shit.

Any team in red and green are elves

Senegal, Portugal, Cameroon: if they’re playing in green and red they’re Santa’s jolly little elves having a break from relentless toymaking with a bit of a kickabout in a country that gives workers more human rights than Santa does. Ronaldo is the head elf and a merry fellow in charge of handing out candy canes.

Replace the national anthem with a seasonal classic

Turn down dull national anthems and turn up Slade, Mariah, Jona Lewie and Wham! Imagine France are singing along to Roy Wood and are all fired up for the game simply because they love Christmas so bloody much and get to unwrap a big pile of presents afterwards, shrieking like excited children.

Stick a flare up a reindeer’s arse

Not a real reindeer. That could be fatal for both you and the animal. But there’s plenty of stuffed ones around who’ll happily take a red flare in the rear, commemorating England’s greatest ever Euros moment and making it wonderfully festive. You’ll have tears in your eyes as your house fills with crimson smoke and burning ash falls like snow.

Don’t watch the final until the 25th

There’s only a week to wait, so record the final and watch it on Christmas morning while the children are opening their presents. The turkey roasting, the tree lights twinkling, the winning goal going in. Don’t worry about spoilers, nobody will bother to discuss the result of Qatar’s bullshit World Cup unless England win it. And they won’t.

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ITV curse affects entirety of channel's output

EVERY programme as well as the World Cup is made inherently shit when broadcast by ITV, it has been confirmed.

The curse, which supposedly makes England lose when playing a football match broadcast by ITV, also turns the channel’s dramas into bland slogs and its news bulletins into hyperbolic parades of biased speculation.

ITV boss Carolyn McCall said: “We can have the highest quality programme possible in the can, but as soon as it’s transmitted it looks like a poorly-made piece of commercial crap. It’s spooky.

“Very occasionally we think the curse is broken when we get a rare hit like Broadchurch. But even that went to shit after series one, which means it must have been the exception that proves the rule.

“Nobody knows where the curse came from, although I suspect it’s a natural side effect of selling your soul to corporate sponsors. That said, being funded by adverts seems to keep the press off our backs for some reason, so it’s a fair trade-off.”

England supporter Roy Hobbs said: “I’m not usually a superstitious man, but I’m going to illegally stream the Senegal match from a foreign network. Can’t afford to tempt fate this far into the competition.”