Southgate delivers twins during England’s World Cup win over Croatia
Buccaneering football manager clambers up into the stands after being alerted to lady in difficulty
Gareth Southgate, England’s genial and much-lauded team chief has delivered twin girls after learning of a woman experiencing breathing difficulties during his side’s semi-final clash with Croatia in the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, yesterday.
It was ten minutes into the second half when word reached Southgate that there was an issue with a travelling supporter in one of the top tiers of the Joseph Stalin stand.
‘He didn’t hesitate’ explained fourth official Lars Larsson ‘one minute he was stood there in the dugout; the next he was sprinting up through the seating areas, then clambering up over fencing and partitions, and toward the top rows of seats. I have never seen anything like it.’
Olga Yevgenykov, a Russian national in attendance at the game, described what happened. ‘I saw it all.’ she said. ‘A big lady, she was. The England manger was asking her if she was okay; and whether she had any existing medical conditions. The woman just managed to tell him that she felt dizzy and that she was pregnant. And it was like somebody flicked a switch inside him. He gently ran his hands around her tummy, and was telling her everything was going to be okay. He then grabbed a pint glass from another supporter, threw its contents on the floor, then used it to listen to her tummy. ‘‘These babies are premature!’’ he then shouted. ‘‘We need to move quickly in case of bronchopulmonary dysplasia!’’
As this message was relayed to FIFA representatives, it is understood that match officials began making preparations to stop the game until paramedics arrived, and the lady could be airlifted from the grounds. ‘‘Over my dead body!’’ Southgate then screamed ‘‘We need to move quickly here! Get me some hot water and some blankets!’’ He took her pulse with one hand and checked his wristwatch with the other. ‘‘I need a saline drip’’ he said ‘‘some iodine, and a pair of scissors. Tell Maguire to attack the far post, and Rashford get his bib off. It’s imperative we utilise our height advantage in the final-third.’’
Kieran Trippier, one of England’s top-performing midfielders, described the atmosphere on the pitch. ‘We were 3-0 down when we saw the gaffer climbing up into the stands’ he said. ‘We got word from the bench about what was happening. I looked at Harry. He looked at Hendo; and we just knew that anything was possible. We knew in that one moment when we saw Gareth ripping up his waistcoat to make swaddling cloths for those two kids that it was all going to work out okay. The next thing you know, Dele’s got one, and Welbeck grabs a brace. It was no surprise that Stonesy then smashed in that bicycle-kick to make it 4-3’’
‘Look.’ Southgate explained after the game ‘I just did what anybody else would have done. We’ve all seen Casualty. I just applied what I had seen on that, that was all. Do you know how many researchers go into a production like that? I’m no hero. I’m just an ordinary guy who wants to take it one game at a time. Belgium next in the final on Sunday. So let’s all stay grounded.’