It's all very well getting giggly and excited about the World Cup, but what of the social cost to Brazil? Do FIFA have a responsibility to ensure accord and sustainability..?
The stark realisation for Manchester United fans is that their Everton counterparts seem much happier without David Moyes. Even more so after their 1-0 win...
Defeat to Sweden was perhaps the most disappointing and critical of the Giovanni Trapattoni era because Friday night's qualifier seemed to offer a shot at redemption. Alas for the Lansdowne full house, there was disappointment and no little embarrassment. Yes, the loss to a qualification rival was a bitter blow, but the ineffectual flapping and flailing of the Irish team added a sense of mortification.
Robbie Keane's horror show of an opener epitomised the Irish efforts in the opening 25 minutes - their best period of the game. Ireland were up for it from the off, all bite, bollock and foot rush - discomfiting the Swedes more with their level of intent than anything they looked likely to do with the ball. The goal was direct and largely comical. Keane's admirable persistence, which allowed him to capitalise on the various slices of luck that came his way, was about the only thing to recommend it.
Keane's goal gave Ireland a valuable lead but it doomed us all to an evening of more of the same. Clearly the Boys in Green were under orders to go Shane Long and direct. Perhaps if Keane failed to notch, other avenues might have been explored. Instead, a game that began with Ireland playing football from the Stone Age gradually descended into something more primordial. Thankfully, a limited, but not so inhibited Sweden punished us and most probably put us out of our misery.
In fact, Sweden's limitations, Sweden's approach, Sweden's goals provided us with the key lesson of the night and exposed the shoddy foundations of Trap's Ireland perspective. Sweden, with players of comparable quality to those in green, beat Ireland by playing something that resembled football. Fine goals, football goals by Johan Elmander, a burly 30-something-year-old Norwich City striker, and 37-year-old Anders Svensson, once of Southampton but now of humble Elfsborg, blew apart Trap's notion that the Irish players were of a level where they simply cannot be trusted to play.
Yes, of course, they will never be Spain, or Holland, or Germany, or Brazil, but they can hope to emulate Sweden, play like Sweden. Pragmatic, sensible football - but football all the same. That is not beyond this Irish side.
Look at the make-up of the Irish squad - the best of them playing for mid-table clubs across the water. Not a brilliant standard, but as watchers of the likes of Norwich or WBA will attest, capable of playing a decent level of football. A Swedish international side level of football. Had Trap spent more time - of his own volition - watching the game in England, he would surely have noted how the game has changed in recent years, with relatively few teams playing the brand of football he has imposed on his Ireland team. Even newly promoted teams try - with some notable success in recent seasons - to play the game.
Yes, I appreciate that there is an argument to be made that having access to players day in, day out gives the club manager an advantage in this area. But the lack of access for an international manager only makes the job more difficult, it does not render it impossible. And frankly, if a fabled, storied manager like Trapattoni cannot get the current Ireland squad playing a Norwich City level of football, then he has no business taking €1.5 million of anyone's money, let alone that of a cash-strapped association of a very small football nation.
Paul Little - follow him on Twitter
Yoursowrong,,,,James McCarthy wasnt exactly screaming for the ball friday night and his movement off the ball was crap- Dave1978