The cure for penalty shoot-out nerves…?

We think we might have just found the perfect spot to catch every kick, save, speculative through ball, wild deflection, dubious VAR decision, inspired dying minutes substitution, ‘come on, he won the ball ref’, and hoof right into row Z, of the UEFFA EURO 2020 cup.

Saadiyat Beach Club, that luxurious clutch of leisure real estate on Abu Dhabi’s fairytale desert island, is being transformed into an alfresco auditorium devoted to showing just how beautiful the beautiful game really can be.

A setting so relaxing that watching your team getting absolutely steamrollered by a nation whose starting 11 all have ‘day jobs’, might even just be bearable.

Clearly a dive ref

You’ll be able to watch the games on a huge cinematic screen at the shed end of the infinity pool. Behind it, an infinity of blue. In front of it, a socially-distant, semi-submerged squad of footie fans.

On match days, it’s Dhs120 entry for ladies and Dhs199 for the fellas, and you get Dhs100 of that back as credit to spend on food and beverages.

A la carte options will be available in addition to, as yet unspecified, special Euro 2020 combo deals.

Stoppage time

We swore we wouldn’t do it again. The relationship will never be anything other than toxic. Self-care should never include catching feelings for a sports team.

But every time those big international football tournaments come around… Hope rises. It could happen, right? Maybe things have changed? Maybe it is coming home?

Of course it isnt coming home. It never does. It flew the nest decades ago and hasn’t been back for so much as a flying visit since. If we’re not knocked out in the group stages, we’ll get within sniffing distance of the prize, and then choke on the rancid air of our own smugness. Then we’re left piecing together our lives, wearing the tear-soaked national flag facepaint of a clown.

All of this pitty-wallowing does have a point we promise. Mainly that both sides of this soccer circus, the jubilant highs and miserable troughs, the cheers and the tears, the GFs and the GAs, all of it — is a lot more enjoyable from the shallows of an infinity pool, on an immaculate stretch of desert island beach.

Saadiyat Island, daily 5pm to 10pm (later for late matches), ladies Dhs120 (with Dhs100 credit back), gents Dhs199 (Dhs100 credit back). @saadiyatbeachclub, Tel: (02) 656 3500

Images: Provided