A beautiful girl took on the beautiful game.
How did she get on?
It probably wasn’t her first choice but, perhaps inspired by watching a four player coop FIFA session last weekend, Jess cheerfully agreed to be my partner in a game on FIFA’s Exhibition mode.
She got to choose the team so, in true playful fashion, she chose us to be Everton (a former favourite team of hers) and naturally we were against Blackburn Rovers. Although this was clearly unfair with Rovers being so much better, I reluctantly agreed.
I gave her the standard controls run-down: X for pass, L2 for Sprint, Square for Slide Tackle, O for Shoot. It didn’t help that initially she was using the D-pad and her players weren’t moving. When we didn’t touch the ball for the first ten minutes of the game and Rovers missed three sitters, I realised it would be a long game!
Her keenness and enthusiasm was amazing. Even amidst the confusion of “Which player am I?” “The blue one” “They’re all blue!”, she never gave up and very nearly scored. A low cross swept along the six yard line picked out Jess as Lukaku at the back post but Jason Steele pulled off a David Seaman-esque save.
(It was shortly after that when she said; “O to Shoot? I just mashed all four buttons at once!)
I opened the scoring through Tom Cleverley but it must be said I was indebted to Jess’ decoy run, dragging defenders off the pitch, into the dressing room and into the stands with her random charge into “space”!
The lead didn’t last too long though. The confusion of who was who caused a few issues and there was a vaguely frazzled “I think I’m trying to control you!” as Conway set up new signing Danny Graham to head home an equaliser.
With the game into extra time we had one last chance to attack. I yelled, “Get in there, Jess” and an overly enthusiastic Ross Barkley took the instruction too literally, piling into the back of the net himself while the ball pinged across the box behind him!
It went to penalties and Jess and I shared the scoring and keeping duties. Her first penalty was smashed against the bar – so unlucky – but then she swiftly pulled off a save to keep us in it. Following that, she buried her next, in off the crossbar this time (she likes her power) before a panenka from Grant Hanley (!) sealed the shootout for Rovers.
It was tremendous fun, we both thoroughly enjoyed it and Rovers ultimately won the game.
An experience to repeat? I’m not sure Jess will be in any hurry!