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That ‘Ted Lasso’ Match Had Me Experiencing Déjà Vu

screencap from Ted Lasso season 3 episode 4 - Ted Lasso, Coach Beard, and Roy Kent all looking defeated and disturbed

**Spoilers for season three, episode four of Ted Lasso**

I don’t think any of us could have predicted the final result of the match between West Ham United and AFC Richmond in the latest episode of Ted Lasso. It was certain to be one for the ages no matter what, as Ted and Nate were reunited for the first time since Nate left his former club in anger. The rage displayed by the Richmond boys in the second half of the match was surprisingly hilarious yet equally heartwrenching—an emotional combination now intrinsic to Ted Lasso.

While our favorite AFC Richmond supporters likened the rage-fuelled playing style of The Greyhounds to the Italians—an admittedly apt description—the match itself reminded me of a different infamous football clash entirely.

Yes, some football matches really are that violent!

There are plenty of Ted Lasso fans who couldn’t care less about football—fair enough, it’s not for everyone. But it has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’m originally from the Netherlands, a country well-known for its football culture; to me, Jan Maas is the most relatable player on the Richmond team. My family and I are always ready to support the Dutch national team at the Europe Cup or World Cup. We even supported them in 2006, when they participated in one of the most bizarre matches ever played on the world stage.

Picture this: the Netherlands versus Portugal. Nuremberg, Germany. A FIFA World Cup round of 16 matches. What started as a somewhat normal match, just as the most recent one in Ted Lasso did, somehow turned into a bloodbath. Four red cards and 16 yellow cards were distributed that day, setting a new record for the total number of cards registered in one match at an international tournament organized by FIFA–a record that still stands today.

That match later received the nickname “The Battle of Nuremberg.”

So what happened? Instinct took over. Common sense was abandoned. Dirty tackles, threatening behavior, you name it. Every foul you saw the Richmond players make in Ted Lasso, the Dutch and the Portuguese perfected them in that real-life match. And while I don’t know whether the writers of Ted Lasso used the so-called “Battle of Nuremberg” as inspiration, it certainly seems plausible.

While this particular football match was an outlier, it’s certainly not the only one of its kind. In fact, the Netherlands’ national football team has been involved in quite a few of the most carded international matches of all time, a record we probably shouldn’t be proud of but can generally laugh at. Most recently, the Dutch clashed against the Argentinians in the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals, in which a total of 18 cards were distributed: 17 yellow and one red, of which two yellow cards were given to members of the Argentinian staff not even on the pitch. Another record was set that day, with 15 players on the field being carded in a single match.

I counted three red cards in Ted Lasso‘s fictional West London derby, an impressive feat given the players didn’t start fighting with fire until the second half of the match. An equal record has been achieved in multiple real-world Premier League games, including but not limited to (the Premier League has a long history, after all) Southampton versus West Brom in 2013, Portsmouth vs Sunderland in 2010, Man City vs Tottenham in 2008, Chelsea vs Aston Villa in 2007, and Newcastle vs Aston Villa in 2005.

But perhaps the most shocking thing of all was that throughout the madness of Ted Lasso‘s West Ham versus Richmond match, Jamie Tartt, of all people, seemed to keep his cool more than anyone else on the team. Talk about character growth.

(featured image: Apple TV+)

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El (she/her) has been working as a freelance writer for various entertainment websites for over a year, ever since she successfully completed her Ph.D. in Creative Writing. El's primary focus is television and movie coverage for The Mary Sue, including franchises like Marvel and Pokémon, but she is happy to pitch in with gaming content once in a while if it concerns one of the few video games she actually knows anything about. As much as she enjoys analyzing other people's stories, her biggest dream is to one day publish an original fantasy novel of her own.