The Netherlands beat Spain, according to CBS

The broadcaster's website claims the Netherlands won the World Cup final last night.

The website of American broadcaster CBS has a story (now updated but see screengrab below) that claims the Netherlands defeated Spain in last night's World Cup final.

The report, which was obviously written before Spain scored the only goal of the match in the 25th minute of extra time, claims that "the Netherlands defeated Spain by a score of SCORE to SCORE to win its first World Cup title."

 

CBS online coverage of the World Cup final

 

It went on to say that "even with Spain dominating possession, it was the Netherlands that had the best chance to score" and concluded with the fact that "the Netherlands' streak without a title only stood at 22 years."

This is not the first time the American media has produced strange coverage of the World Cup: the New York Post amazed many by declaring that the USA "won 1-1" after their group stage clash with England, and after the US team's exit, the same paper declared "this sport is stupid anyway."

You can still see the full archive of the New Statesman's coverage of this World Cup here.

UPDATE: CBS have now updated the story to read "Spain wins World Cup 1-0". But you can still enjoy their error via the screenshot above.

Caroline Crampton is assistant editor of the New Statesman. She writes a weekly podcast column.

Photo: Getty
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Scotland's vast deficit remains an obstacle to independence

Though the country's financial position has improved, independence would still risk severe austerity. 

For the SNP, the annual Scottish public spending figures bring good and bad news. The good news, such as it is, is that Scotland's deficit fell by £1.3bn in 2016/17. The bad news is that it remains £13.3bn or 8.3 per cent of GDP – three times the UK figure of 2.4 per cent (£46.2bn) and vastly higher than the white paper's worst case scenario of £5.5bn. 

These figures, it's important to note, include Scotland's geographic share of North Sea oil and gas revenue. The "oil bonus" that the SNP once boasted of has withered since the collapse in commodity prices. Though revenue rose from £56m the previous year to £208m, this remains a fraction of the £8bn recorded in 2011/12. Total public sector revenue was £312 per person below the UK average, while expenditure was £1,437 higher. Though the SNP is playing down the figures as "a snapshot", the white paper unambiguously stated: "GERS [Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland] is the authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances". 

As before, Nicola Sturgeon has warned of the threat posed by Brexit to the Scottish economy. But the country's black hole means the risks of independence remain immense. As a new state, Scotland would be forced to pay a premium on its debt, resulting in an even greater fiscal gap. Were it to use the pound without permission, with no independent central bank and no lender of last resort, borrowing costs would rise still further. To offset a Greek-style crisis, Scotland would be forced to impose dramatic austerity. 

Sturgeon is undoubtedly right to warn of the risks of Brexit (particularly of the "hard" variety). But for a large number of Scots, this is merely cause to avoid the added turmoil of independence. Though eventual EU membership would benefit Scotland, its UK trade is worth four times as much as that with Europe. 

Of course, for a true nationalist, economics is irrelevant. Independence is a good in itself and sovereignty always trumps prosperity (a point on which Scottish nationalists align with English Brexiteers). But if Scotland is to ever depart the UK, the SNP will need to win over pragmatists, too. In that quest, Scotland's deficit remains a vast obstacle. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.