England – heroic failure is no longer an option

When your best result in a World Cup is a 0-0 draw against an already qualified Costa Rica, you know you’ve fucked up massively. Let’s not sugar coat it, England’s performance in Brazil was nothing short of shambolic.

On the face of it, we could make the excuse that we were in a Group of Death with Uruguay and Italy being formidable opponents. In all honesty, the Italians came into the tournament on the back of a 7 game winless run and were eliminated without much fuss along with England. The Uruguayans were there for the taking, but a barely fit Luis Suarez was allowed to sink his gnashers into both Italy and England. As for Costa Rica, the opportunity to prove a point was clearly lost on the players that faced them in our final group game. Contrast that with the footballing powerhouses Bosnia, who pulled off a 3-1 win when they were already dumped out.

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There were many fingers pointed throughout the tournament at individual players, but the truth is collectively the team were very poor. From the minute they stepped on the pitch, they failed to show any passion during the anthems and matched this limp effort on the pitch too. Having enjoyed the best season from Liverpool in a long time, I was shocked to see several of the key players from that team looking lost and restricted.

Roy Hodgson seems to have coached the free flowing attacking football style from these players and several others as we were barely able to mount an offensive spell of play at times. Sure we had our moments, but it was never sustained and we never looked secure defensively at any time. Even the weather was kind at times and this didn’t seem to help the team play at a high enough tempo. It’s even more frustrating when you see relative footballing minnows such as Nigeria, Chile and Colombia advance playing exciting attacking football.

We put our stars on a pedestal, but the truth is we seriously lack truly world class players. We don’t have a magical talent that can win a game on his own or play a spellbinding pass. I’ve heard many say we have the players, but if that is really the case, why is it that none of the England players ply their trade at a top foreign club? The answer is simple, our players are just not good enough. Are Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill top level centre backs? Not a chance, we left our best defender John Terry at home. Are Baines and Johnson able to cope defensively against the better sides? Again, not a chance. United fans may plead the case for Rooney, Arsenal fans for Wilshere and Liverpool fans for Sturridge, but the reality is none of these players would get into a Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich side.

y

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So where are the positives? I’m genuinely not sure. We were banging on about the young players such as Sterling, Barkley and Shaw, but they had little impact on the tournament. Will they be able to impact on future tournaments with Roy Hodgson still in charge? My biggest fear is that nations who were nowhere on the footballing map 10 years ago are growing stronger, whilst England are growing weaker. If we can’t solve our problems, even simple qualification for the major tournaments may prove to be out of reach for our nation’s ‘finest.’

@adamdellboy

We need to talk about Luis.

Today I was planning to a piece on the poor performance by the England team in the World Cup but then I witnessed something we thought I would never see again. The sight of Luis Suarez biting another player.

Let me preface this by saying that I am a Manchester United fan, but even I appreciate Suarez as a top player and I completely agree with his clean sweep of awards last season as he was phenomenal and almost pushed Liverpool to their first league title. The thing is this time, unlike the others times there are no words of support coming from Liverpool, fellow pundits or anyone. It’s almost as if the patience has run out for the Uruguayan from everyone. There is even talk about Adidas and 888 Poker withdrawing their endorsements with the striker.

So in case you live under a rock what actually happened? Suarez and Chiellini clashed shortly before the goal that ultimately decided the clash and eliminated the Italians, at first look the Uruguayan seemed to run and headbutt the Italian defender and both men went down. The first inkling that something was different from a standard clash in the box was the sight of Suarez grabbing his front teeth as if he had been elbowed. It wasn’t until the second and third replay that I thought hold on a minute, surely not, not again, he didn’t just bite Chiellini did he? The answer is yes, yes he did. It became obvious when Chiellini pulled down his shirt to show 5 teeth marks on his shoulder. The whole thing cast a massive shadow over a big win for Uruguay, the Italians elimination and Pirlo’s & Buffon’s last international game.

So the big question is whats next? Well there is no doubt that FIFA will impose a ban on him that could have potential ramifications not just for country but for club as well as they could put a worldwide ban on him, although this is highly unlikely as it would leave them more open to appeal and reduction under various human rights infringements. If they go down the route of just banning him from all international football it may make him more desirable to teams looking to sign him from Liverpool as they wouldn’t have the burden and risk of him going halfway across the world to play football for Uruguay, so he would essentially have a two week rest every couple of months which would probably make him an even more useful player for the club. As we have already said he risks losing potential endorsements with this latest blot on his copy book, although in his native country he is seen as a bit of a hard man and uses it to trade on his likeness in adverts.

The thing is as well is if this was an isolated incident then perhaps it could be written off as a lapse of judgement but it’s the regularity he seems to do something controversial that would alarm me if I was a Liverpool fan, after all this is now the second world cup in a row that Suarez has done something to cast a shadow on his performances. I have seen various things saying that this is like his way of blowing off when his frustration gets to its maximum, but surely fans would prefer him to go and destroy a team with a magnificent solo goal? or a bit of outstanding play like he showed last season in the Premier League? And if it is the case then why did he not do it last season when the pressure was on Liverpool  in their title run in.

Either way FIFA need to exercise the full force of their power in this instance more than anything to show that they are not as corrupt as they seem. Let me know your thoughts?

Ry

World Cup 2014

So here we are, only a few hours away from the biggest event on the footballing calendar.

After all the hype, scandal, deaths and protests lets hope that Brazil 2014 doesn’t disappoint. But who are some of the teams and players a few members of our writing team think could catch the eye. I will also provide a few players and teams that shouldn’t be written off.

Adam Dell Boy
Winner: Brazil
Player of the Tournament: Neymar
Potential Shock Exit: Portugal

Pete
Winner: Brazil
Player of the Tournament: David Silva
Potential Shock Exit: Italy

Ryan
Winner:Brazil. Although Netherlands would be a good left field bet and Belgium could make it to the semis
Player of the Tournament: Toni Kroos
Potential Shock Exit: England, sorry. Although if Ronaldo doesn’t drive Portugal as he has done on many occasions they could be out at the group stage.

As well as the players highlighted I think Arturo Vidal could continue to build on his fantastic domestic season and help Chile provide a tough test for Spain and the Netherlands. All eyes will be on Neymar and as he showed in the Confederations Cup, he can handle the weight of a nation in an international tournament, but can he handle it on the biggest stage? Romelu Lukaku will be licking his lips and hoping he can win his fitness race before Belgium’s opener against Algeria on Tuesday. This tournament could put him right in the shop window, especially if Mourinho is in a selling mood, also keep an eye out for fellow countryman Axel Witsel who has sparked time and time again at domestic level. Let’s hope it’s Brazil 2014 where he catches fires.

As for teams I’ve already said Belgium and Netherlands are both good “outside” bets for getting far in the tournament and perhaps in Netherlands case winning but who else do I think can do a job? Well one team would be USA, managed by Jurgen Klinsmann and a team that plays a patient game and looks to hit teams on the break, they could prove a real test for all the other teams in perhaps what could be the hardest off all the groups.
The other team to watch is Russia. Built on typical stoic soviet defensive techniques and managed by Fabio Capello who despite his lack of personality is a tactical genius and builds his teams to be fantastic on the basics of the game.

So that’s who we think could be lighting up your TV in the next few weeks but what’s your opinion?

Ry

Why you’d be nuts not to back Brazil at the World Cup.

It might be an obvious choice but for me, Brazil are the clear favourites to win this summer’s World Cup and here’s why…….

That anthem

When watching Brazil on the TV this summer, I guarantee you will find their national anthem impossible to resist. The Brazilian players and their fans sing it with such gusto, you’ll be wishing it was your own national anthem. Thank heavens for ‘God Save the Queen’……..

The fans

Those fans that will make every Brazilian national anthem more of a spectacle than the entire Honduras v Ecuador match, will back their team like nobody else can. The Brazilian fans will be a mixture of passion, noise and colour combining to give Brazil the ultimate home advantage. Oh and there’s bound to be plenty of eye candy in the crowd to keep us boys and the cameramen busy.

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Neymar

Now is the time for the latest Brazilian superstar to step up to the plate. Surely there will be no better time for the magical Brazilian to emerge from the shadow of his fellow South American Lionel Messi. Get on Neymar to win the Golden Boot and become the Golden Boy of Brazilian football.

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Brazil nuts are harder to crack

Gone are the days of Brazil being dodgy at the back, they now have quality defenders like David Luiz, Thiago Silva, Dani Alves and Marcelo to count on amongst others. Julio Cesar is still a top level keeper and will be well protected by a solid defence and a powerful midfield.

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Luis Felipe Scolari


Big Phil is one of the few managers at the World Cup that can truly class himself as a winner. Now in his 2nd spell as national coach, Brazilians will be hoping he finds the same magic that inspired his side to their most recent World Cup success in 2012. That team blew away the opposition and the signs are that history may be able to repeat itself. Scolari will be a massive factor when the pressure rises as high as the Amazon temperature.

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Recent success

Brazil were mightily impressive in winning the Confederations Cup last summer, comfortably brushing aside the unbeatable Spaniards thanks to a combination of all of the above factors. They’ve proved they can handle the expectation of a nation already, now it’s time to deliver on the grandest stage of them all.

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@adamdellboy