Sunday’s match against West Brom wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t even that much fun to watch. What it was, however, was a win that put Spurs at the top of the Premier League table for a glorious 20 minutes or so until Leicester City scored against Wolves. Whatever. Results conspired to keep Spurs in second place through the upcoming international break.
Speaking of international breaks, the upcoming (and stupid) friendly/Nations League pause got me thinking about other countries, and specifically, their flags. I love flags. I’m a bit of a map-slash-flag nerd, and along with that comes TAKES about how countries reflect their national identity on a piece of cloth they fly from a flag pole. There are some really, really outstanding flags in the world. There are also some garbage ones. Let’s look at them.
For purposes of this theme, we are eliminating USA and United Kingdom flags from contention, mostly because this site has big American and UK readership and I don’t want to get bogged down in “ur flag sux” discourse when there’s plenty of non-personal “ur flag sux” discourse to be talked about. Also it’d just devolve into politics, and that’s no fun.
Here are your player ratings for Tottenham’s 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion to the theme of international flags (non-USA/UK edition).
5 stars: Japan
Japan’s flag is incredible. In a world where so many countries try and cram tons of colors or design elements onto their flags, Japan put a red dot on a white field, symbolizing the circle of the sun. You can’t get more basic than that, but it is MAJESTIC in its simple beauty. It commands your attention, but doesn’t get bogged down in complexity. A classic. Others have imitated (looking at you, Palau and Bangladesh), none have equalled.
Other 5-star flags: South Korea, Albania, Argentina, Montenegro, Canada, Denmark
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as good as the Japanese flag.
4.5 stars: Mexico
Let’s be honest: Mexico has a five-star flag, but it’s not quite as good as Japan and I didn’t want it to get lost in the five star category so I’m demoting it slightly out of love and respect and so it gets its due as a category leader. At first glance Mexico’s flag looks like a store-brand Italian flag, but what really elevates it is the crest in the middle. The Mexican crest is a GOLDEN EAGLE STANDING ON A CACTUS EATING A GOSH DANG SNAKE. What’s not to love? It’s badass.
Other 4.5 star flags: Vietnam, Somalia, Barbados, Uruguay, Jamaica, Brazil, Slovenia
Harry Kane (Community — 4.0): Nobody was great in the first half, but Kane was sneaky good the entire match. He had seven shots, which usually bodes well for Spurs’ offense. West Brom blocked four of them, but couldn’t save Kane’s header over the keeper for the win. Was dropping super deep to make plays, but his passing wasn’t quite coming off.
4 stars: Bhutan
Bhutan’s flag is a simple diagonal orange and yellow field that someone slapped a FUCKIN’ DRAGON in the middle of. That just rocks. There are actually three national flags with dragons — Bhutan gets the nod over Wales (which is also great) in the Dragon Flag ratings, only because the Welsh dragon looks like a serious actor auditioning for Game of Thrones, while the Bhutan dragon just wants to party. Malta also has a dragon flag, but it’s an itty bitty St. George skewering its dragon, which is lame. The Maltese flag sucks. Basically I’m saying: more dragons on flags, please.
Other 4-star flags: Wales, Botswana, Kiribati, Estonia, Kyrgyzstan, Isle of Man
Eric Dier (Community — 4.0): Tottenham’s defense was pretty solid overall, but Dier was exceptional. Had a header off the goal line and several important tackles and blocks, especially late. We’ve bagged on Dier lately, but he was outstanding against West Brom.
Giovani Lo Celso (Community — 3.5): On a day when Spurs were not doing a good job of moving the ball through midfield, Gio Lo Celso came in and made an instant impact, upping the tempo of the match and coming close a couple of times. Shame he’s contractually prevented from playing with Ndombele at the same time.
3.5 stars: Nepal
Everyone: Make it a rectangle! Nepal: No. Nepal’s flag is all “fuck your right angles.” Not only is it made of triangles, they’re not even equal triangles! It looks like someone let a five-year old with some scissors near their usual flag and everyone decided to just go with it. More countries should do this. Go on with your bad self, Nepal — good on you for charting your own course. Down with the rectangulists! Don’t be square! Let your freak flag fly!
Other 3.5 star flags: Andorra, India, Portugal, South Africa, Venezuela, Croatia
Hugo Lloris (Community — 3.5): Didn’t have to do too much but made one pretty spectacular reaction save on Darnell Furlong late that definitely saved the match.
Toby Alderweireld (Community — 4.0): Pretty ok defensive showing and got a header on target early in the match, but his passing was a little wayward and Spurs had difficulty building out of the back at times.
Pierre Hojbjerg (Community — 4.0): Another dependably solid performance in central midfield. PEH is almost boring in that way, which is good.
Sergio Reguilllon (Community — 3.5): Sergio wasn’t the best we’ve seen him, but he did provide an outlet for the ball on the left side of the pitch late in the match when things started to open up.
3 stars: France
France’s flag is a great flag — simple, dramatic, with good color contrast. Unfortunately, the tricolor also a model for many other countries that want flags that looks like France’s flag. Sure, maybe they turn the bars on its side to give it a little professional distance, but you’re not fooling me, I see you Russia, you’re just a rotated France. The French flag is a flag template now which unfortunately cheapens the entire product line. Sorry, France. You’re basically Nike now.
Other 3 star flags: Ireland, Italy, Belgium, Chad, Russia, Cote D’Ivoire, Luxembourg, etc.
Tanguy Ndombele (Community — 3.5): Tricky on the ball, one of the few things that looked good in that stinker of a first half. Still confused why he’s playing at the 10 and not deeper, as that’s where he tends to be at his best. Subbed off after getting his toe stamped.
Matt Doherty (Community — 3.5): Look, Doherty was one of the players I was screaming at the most in this match. He wasn’t good... but had a sublime assist to Kane for the match’s only goal. Three stars seems fair.
Jose Mourinho (Community — 3.5): Since West Ham, Mourinho’s primary tactical goal has been to get Tottenham better defensively. That seems apparent, though I’d like a little more offense back if this isn’t a zero-sum game. Still, it wasn’t the worst way to approach West Brom away, I guess.
2.5 stars: Seychelles
I want to like this flag, I really do. But I can’t. The colors don’t meld well. The off-center radial design is disconcerting and makes me slightly seasick looking at it. It looks a bit like someone poorly stitched together the Italian and Romanian flags and then shrunk it in the wash. Credit for trying to be original, but I can’t get behind this. Sorry.
Other 2.5 flags: Grenada, Zimbabwe, Armenia, Haiti
Son Heung-Min (Community — 2.5): The thing about Sonny is that he can be a world beater for a few weeks and then just disappear entirely for a few weeks. What’s the opposite of a purple patch? That’s where Sonny is at right now. He wasn’t great — SHOOT THE BALL, SON — but he did stretch West Brom’s defense with his running and opened up some space for others to play into.
2 stars: Indonesia
I have so many issues with this flag. For starters, it’s a red band on top of a white band, which is boring. Like, this is a flag that is representing the majesty and honor of your country, and you pick a two-color rectangle? Are you even trying? It reminds me a bit of Libya’s old flag which was a piece of green cloth, except that Libya at least recognized that their flag was lame and changed it in 2011. Indonesia not only phoned in their flag, which they adopted in 1945, they didn’t even do a basic copyright check on the design because it’s exactly the same as the flag of Monaco Also, flip it upside down and it becomes the flag of Poland. That’s not only lazy, it’s derivative. I’m embarrassed for you, Indonesia.
Other 2-star flags: Monaco, Poland, Malta, Ukraine
Gareth Bale (Community — 3.0): Stealing a phrase from Ben Daniels, “more like Gareth Snail.” Had the hockey assist for Son’s should-have-been-a-goal in the first half, but he looked unfit, immobile, and off the pace. I’m trying to be patient. I’m afraid he might just be washed.
Moussa Sissoko (Community — 3.0): Moussa Sissoko is not the player you want in midfield when you’re trying to pick the lock of an organized defensive team — he’s the guy you want when your right back is too busy bombing down the flank to worry about the space behind him. His poor passing and dallying with the ball killed a whole bunch of attacks in this match. He was not fine.
1 star: Uganda
Has anyone asked Uganda why their flag is two German flags with the Nando’s chicken logo in the middle?
Other 1-star flags: Belize, Central African Republic, Maldives, Cyprus, Zambia
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as the flag of Uganda.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
I really couldn’t find a place for Kyrgyzstan’s flag in the ratings, but I wanted to give them special mention. It’s one of the newer national flags and I just have to give props to the people of Kyrgyzstan for fully embracing turn of the millenium popular culture and going with a Golden Snitch as their national symbol.
Carlos Vinicius, Lucas Moura (but both were decent to good)