Amanda Platell for the Daily Mail
19:28 EST, 3 July 2015
02:31 EST, 4 July 2015
On Wednesday, I did something I almost never do. I stayed up late to watch a football match. Around 2.4 million Brits did the same, as it happens, cheering on the England Women’s World Cup team in their semi-final with Japan.
It wasn’t patriotism in my case, but curiosity. The ‘Lionesses’, as they’ve been dubbed, were said to be changing the face of football in this country with their recent run of form — so I thought I’d see what all the fuss was about.
Like many, I was cynical. How could a bunch of girls, most of whom have day jobs and are semi-professional, play with speed and finesse? How could they ever compare with the men’s game?
I was heartbroken when Laura Bassett, pictured, scored an own goal with just seconds of the game remaining
Like millions of sceptics, I was proved wrong. The Lionesses lived up to their name. It was a nail-biting game, and they were courageous and fearless — and dignified (if a little emotional) in defeat.
I was heartbroken when defender Laura Bassett scored an own goal in the final minutes.
Of course, she and her team-mates were in tears. David Beckham and Paul Gascoigne also blubbed after World Cup defeats.
The highest paid woman in the team earns £65,000 a year — around a fifth of what England captain Wayne Rooney gets in one week.
Yet the girls insist on an equal playing field with the men: literally. The same size pitch, the same 90 minutes, the same rules.
Which is a welcome change from the prima donnas at Wimbledon this week.
Unlike the Lionesses, the women get the same prize money as the men, even though they play only the best of three sets to the men’s five.
Reigning champion Petra Kvitova’s first-round match lasted just 36 minutes, while the men’s games lasted two hours or more.
And in the heat, the girls are allowed to take a break during their matches, but the men aren’t. I had a hot flush of anger just hearing that.
The Lionesess have a long way to go to reach parity with the men.
But they’re doing it the right way, taking them on at their own game, not a footie-light version of the sport.
And the fact is they’re more likely to bring home a World Cup any time soon than our preening national men’s team.
Luciana Morad, pictured, denied reports that Mick Jagger got her pregnant in a dog kennel
Is it refined to cheat with Mick, Luciana?
Denying reports in a new book that Mick Jagger got her pregnant in a dog kennel, Brazilian model Luciana Morad, mother of their 16-year-old son Lucas, insists: ‘I am a super-refined gal and would never do this.’
Indeed. But not so refined that she wouldn’t have a brief fling with a married multi-millionaire rock star, destroying his family and setting herself up for life.
I suspect Jerry Hall, his wife at the time, might think Luciana is anything but ladylike.
Buxom Monica Lewinsky, the intern once on intimate terms with President Clinton, says she’s often mistaken for Kim Kardashian. Only from behind, dear, only from behind.
Many have criticised the way in which we Brits fail to cope with a bit of sunshine, claiming we’re a bunch of weather-wilting softies.
But there is evidence we suffer from some kind of collective hallucinogenic heatstroke when the thermometer nears the 100f mark.
What else could explain the legions of pink-fleshed fatties disporting thunder thighs in excruciatingly tiny shorts and tank tops?
And that’s just the men.
The family of Val Doonican said after his death this week, aged 88, that ‘his batteries simply ran out’.
The much-loved Irish crooner — famous for singing from a rocking chair and wearing vivid knitted jumpers and cardigans— died as graciously as he lived.
And what a tribute it is to him that this devoted family man, who entertained us for decades, was only ever sent knitting patterns by his many fans — never a pair of knickers.
Clare Balding’s Wimbledon 2Day show has proved such a disaster that 95 per cent of viewers want it scrapped.
Balding replaced John Inverdale, who was axed by BBC2 when he said 2013 champion Marion Bartoli ‘wasn’t much of a looker’.
He blamed his car-crash comment on hay-fever: an excuse Balding can’t use as the grass in her studio is as fake as every- thing else about her show.
Clare Balding’s tennis show has been a major flop with 95 per cent of viewers wanting it scrapped
Cheryl’s wearing thin
From her performances in Girls Aloud to her WAG status as Mrs Ashley Cole and her role as an X Factor judge, Cheryl whatshername has always played on her pretty face and lovely figure.
Let’s be honest, with a voice as thin as an ice-cream wafer, her fortune was never going to be built on her singing talent.
So it’s a little disingenuous of Cheryl (pictured this week) to accuse Twitter fans concerned about her apparent dramatic weight loss of ‘body shaming’.
After all, her entire celebrity career has been built on her looks.
Cheryl whatshername has a voice as thin as an ice-cream wafer, but has a pretty face and figure
On the eve of the minute’s silence yesterday for the 30 British people murdered in Tunisia, Russell Brand took to YouTube, describing it as ‘bull***t’.
The self-styled sofa revolutionary blamed the Government’s foreign policy for the slaughter.
I’m sure I speak for many millions when I say what we would like now is a little silence from Brand.
The self-anointed Queen of the Selfie Karen Danczuk believes her marriage broke down when she became more famous than her MP husband, Simon.
‘I’ve gone from fat, frumpy Karen to happy, confident and sexy Karen,’ she gushed.
The mother of two small boys has a line in signed-and- scented selfies of her considerable cleavage.
Her 54,000 Twitter fans mostly debate whether she is Westminster’s most embarrassing wife. Vying with Sally Bercow for that title is hardly anything to be proud of. A classic case of selfie-destruction.
Lib Dem leadership contender Norman Lamb says that he wants children’s TV shows such as Peppa Pig to include more gay characters.
Curious that, from a party which, as far as I can tell, doesn’t have a single openly gay MP.
David Laws, who lost his Yeovil seat at the General Election, only came out when he was exposed for fiddling his expenses to the tune of £40,000 to pay the rent on a flat for his secret lover.
New Labour’s Liz Kendall claims she’s the only leadership candidate who is not ‘continuity Miliband’, a sneering reference to her former boss Ed.
Instead she is positioning herself as continuity Blair, a man who’s now even more derided than Red Ed.
Betrayal of ISIS family
The Luton family of 12 who went missing have confirmed they are in Syria. They include two grandparents in ill health and three grand-children aged from one to 11.
Ashuk Ahmed, who has been a family friend for 30 years, said: ‘We are concerned. We thought this would be the last family to be radicalised.’
It’s the same old story. No one suspected a decent, British-born Muslim family would choose to turn their backs on the West and make their homes with terrorists.
How full of hatred must a family be to deny grand- parents free health care and children an education.
And to choose, instead, a life in a country ruled by the terrorist group ISIS, who beheaded two women this week and saw teenage boys crucified for failing to observe Ramadan.
Taking young children to a place such as Syria is nothing short of criminal.
Acerbic writer Julie Burchill is not an easy woman to love, yet after her adored son Jack took his own life, she is truly one to pity.
She confesses she felt no love for her first child, Robert, whom she abandoned as a baby.
Jack, her second, however, was the apple of her eye — her Achilles’ heel, she says.
Losing a child is a heartbreak beyond imagining, but perhaps out of this tragedy will come a reconciliation with Robert.
Ben buys Jen’s loyalty
After ten years of marriage, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are divorcing.
Friends blame his return to booze and gambling and his continued infatuation with former fiancee Jennifer Lopez.
He credits Ms Garner with saving his career when he last went off the rails, and now the pair plan to ‘co-parent’ their three young children.
For which read, he will be generous with his £50 million fortune while she raises the children and keeps quiet to protect his reputation.
American Vogue editor Anna Wintour went to watch her friend Roger Federer at Wimbledon, proudly showing off her heavily muscled and deeply veined arms.
Perhaps they share the same personal trainer.
American Vogue editor Anna Wintour, pictured, showed off her heavily muscled arms at Wimbledon this week