It's not all about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, you know. We're talking about the pressure on Iker Casillas, Luis Suarez debuting in the big one and Isco's big chance...
Those being sniffy about Erik Lamela's rabona are given short shrift in the afternoon mailbox, where criticism of Brendan Rodgers is smashed out of the park...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sherwood For England
I'm going to put my case forward for Tim Sherwood to be the next England manager.
He speaks the same language as the players. To a limited level but no worse than the likes of Rooney. Woy the Wordsmith ain't exactly 'elped 'as he! The players at our disposal can't seem to play to any system effectively. Sherwood is perfect in this regard - he don't believe in systems.
Tactically, we seem all over the shop. Can't help but think some of Tim's 'straight talking' would have helped. If Jagielka did a bit more defending, Rooney did more attacking and Gerrard did either/both, we wouldn't have lost.
He's played the game before. Everyone knows that if you haven't played the game to a good standard, you don't deserve an opinion, let alone the England job. Move over Woy. He has a win percentage of 59.6% in league games so he'd get us through the group stage at least. Looks like Roy has messed that up. He'd keep the media onside with his cheeky chappy persona and Harry-lite posturing.
HE CAN'T DO ANY WORSE, CAN HE!
Ross THFC and Proper England Fan
If The Cap Fits
In light of England's deficiencies at the back this summer and our general poor performance over the last few tournaments it seems that some change is needed. We need someone who can come in and stop us from shipping goals, turning the team from underachievers to overachievers, someone who can galvanise the team and give them purpose.
So, Tony Pulis for England?
Mike, China (only partly joking)
Paying For Fair Play
I seem to recall not too long ago that the esteemed readers of F365 pondered the possibility that England were too afflicted with c***itude to win anything, as if the balance of the force meant that such a feckless bunch of grasping mercenary philanderers would never be owed sufficient good karma to win anything.
Well, we got rid of John Terry, so surely we should be due some good karma now? Boom, and indeed boom, but on a more serious note I think it's time that England stopped playing the gentleman's game and started playing football in the gutter along with everyone else. Anything with an organisation as corrupt as FIFA at the helm is anathema to gentlemanly conduct.
If Sturridge had floundered around a bit more when elbowed in the throat by Godin, and Gerrard had been a bit more of an international captain and organised the players into a bit of ref-hounding, who knows what would have happened? Instead we had to watch Urugruay waste about a quarter of the game in the second half and accuse Raheem Sterling (of all people) of nasty tackles every five minutes to break up play further. Watching Godin fist-bump his keeper for 90 seconds before every goal-kick in the final stages, while meek England watched on impassively, was galling in the extreme.
Uruguay and everyone else see this kind of gamesmanship as a fair part of the battle, it's only England who seem to think they are above it, and this arrogance costs us every time we play a major tournament - we allow ourselves to get wound up at the injustice of it all and lose a player to a silly red card, or we do nothing and allow the game to be managed out of our control as a result. Think Beckham and Rooney's red cards, and all the times the opposition have bullied the ref into seeing everything their way. We allow ourselves to play 12 men every time!
Suarez is the embodiment of the win-at-all-costs footballer, which is why he is so loved by the teams he plays for. Perhaps England don't want it enough to compromise their self-appointed status as custodians of fair play.
Morgan (blame Gerrard for the flick-on, the defence for not tracking Suarez all night, and the attack for missing chances - everyone is happy to agree everyone is rubbish!) Goford
Two mailboxes on Friday and a Mediawatch but no mention of Glenn Hoddle's incredible word play from the pre-match build-up. On Joe Hart, Hoddle quipped: "at the moment, he's HEAD AND SHOULDERS above everyone"
No one in the studio even flinched. Maybe I imagined it.
Hot Air Jordan
I think this might have been Roy's first exposure to the Michael Jordan type of athlete. This is the type who will use any fodder as fuel. This is an athlete who will pin up your off-the-cuff remark for days or even weeks to remind himself that he will punish you for doubting him.
I remember watching the NBA finals between the Bulls and Jazz in the late 90's, and the Jazz thought it would be a good idea to have the Most Valuable Player presentation for Karl Malone BEFORE the game against the Bulls. And who do you think was courtside an hour before the opening tip staring down the player and the award? Michael Jordan was there in the wings with a look that can only be described as homicidal. My point is this: you do not say anything or do anything to these types of athletes and you just hope against hope that something is distracting them, whether it be a knee or serious gambling addiction, from beating the living pudding out of you.
And by the way, have Messi or Ronaldo ever performed on the World Cup stage? So I'm not even sure his point was right even though it was certainly stupid.
I disagree with John's assertion about 'team spirit'. I truly believe the malaise that exists within the England set-up stems from an 'Air of Entitlement'. Watching England play from many thousands of miles away, it was evident that the players appear to lack the drive and determination to succeed. This does not come from a lack of desire to win, but more from a belief that winning should come easily, and not require much effort.
I fear this stems from a mis-held belief that the Premier League is the greatest league in the world, and if the greatest league is in England, they should just cruise to victory over countries that don't have such a 'great league'. The ultra-celebrity status these players have from the English media fosters an attitude of infallibility, and they would have seen all their group opponents as infinitely beatable, purely on the basis that they don't have as many players in the Premier League as England do. The lack of respect for their opponents has ultimately cost them.
I know that may sound crazy to some, but can you honestly say that in either game so far, that the players looked at all like they had something to prove? Was there any clear determination to fight right up until the final whistle? Each time they have looked surprised that their opponents have had the temerity to win the game. Australia has shown more desire and determination in two games against far superior opponents, than England has in theirs.
Until the sense of entitlement of the English players is ground out of them, they will continue to under-perform on the world stage.
David (A Gooner knows a thing or two about coping with shattered dreams)
Just Because You're Paranoid Doesn't Mean They're Not After You
Watching how awful Italy are against Costa Rica is it me or do teams always seem to raise their games when they play England? It was the same with Uruguay, who were unrecognizable from their first game. Maybe it's a hangover from our old imperial days that we are so unpopular that teams are desperate to beat us. Perhaps we're not quite as bad as we think but suffer from sides giving that extra 10%. Like voting in the European song contest we're hamstrung before we've started!
Stuart Bingham, Wall Heath
What The World Cup Is Missing
In Italia '90 I can still clearly remember a Brazilian lady flashing her breasts, and so naturally, I was expecting to see plenty more of the same this time round. So far it hasn't happened, and I'm wondering why the hell not? Of course, these days there would probably be a "down with this sort of thing" attitude, but back in the day, Eurosport included those wondrous orbs in their World Cup highlights package, which they showed endlessly for the rest of the summer.
A Stiff Beating
Costa Rica are probably going to be resting players against England.
Just let that sink in.
Luca James Sparks (Italy were woeful and knackered)
Chicken Or Beef, Sir?
Roy Hodgson still has some huge selection calls to make next week.
Not least: Window or Aisle.
DC , Dublin
Based on their performance in this World Cup, is it safe to assume that Chile, Costa Rica and Colombia all have B-teams in their respective football leagues, yes?
James Tong, GFC, Brighton (No to League 3)
Key To Happiness
Reading the blog of Richard Keys is the gift that just keeps on giving, and his latest post regarding England and another limp exit from a major tournament is brimming with insightful wisdom from the self-proclaimed 'Key To Sports' (see what he's done there?)
Keys gets off a decent start, but after only a few line he asks: 'Remember Bobby Robson? Top guy'. Actually, Richard, no, no I don't remember who that is. And 'top guy'? I'm sure he'd have loved that on his epitaph: 'Loving father, brother, uncle and top guy'.
Our Richard then continues to state that Gary Neville has done 'a marvelous job of trying to emulate Andy Gray on TV' (a line presumably written by Andy Gray) and yet I don't know about you, but I can't recall Neville acting like a dogmatic sexist for Sky Sports. He refers to Neville because he believes Glenn Hoddle should replace the former England right-back as part of Roy Hodgson's coaching staff in the international setup because he wants someone 'who's been round the block a few times'. For the record, Neville has almost 30 more caps for England than Hoddle and has also won 20 trophies with the most successful club of the modern era. But Hoddle's older, so yeah.
Much has been made about the paucity of the England defence, but fear ye not, because Keys has a plan. The answer? Why John Terry, of course! Because we were so successful with him in the first place, weren't we Richard? And according to Keys, it was 'OUR fault' he no longer plays for England. I thought he was dropped for using racist language, but of course it's OUR fault, like we have the power to restore Terry to the heart of the England defence.
Keys then makes an honest typo, but a funny typo nonetheless as he says with regards to forcing players out of international reckoning: 'And we'll see off the Rooney if we're not careful'. Wayne just isn't 'a' Rooney, he's the Rooney.
Richard is on a roll here, and in no mood to come grinding to a halt, chortles: 'In recent years I've apparently become 'controversial'!' which isn't how ' a 'misogynistic sexist' is spelled but it's a valiant try.
Finally, Keys believes that this tournament came too soon for Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling, which is ironic given that they were perhaps two of our brightest players at the World Cup. The latter in particular was hugely refreshing and provided England with an extra attacking impetus, emanating a youthful exuberance that defied his tender age.
But other than that Richard, a cracking read.
Jordan (When does the new England shirt come out then?) Eyre
Point Too Well Made
Alex, the concept of a well hit shot being easily saved is absolutely mental. Essentially you're saying that strikers aim at the keeper and hope to miss?
Ridiculous. I have never agreed with anything less. If anything you've made your point too well.
Gary Nolan, London
Here I am, sat watching the Italy v Costa Rica game, listening to Robbie Savage describe everything anyone does as 'poor': Buffon, 'poor'. Linesman, 'poor'. De Rossi, 'poor'.
Robbie dearest, people in glass houses...ah forget it.