One Mailboxer inserts his tongue into cheek to offer his thoughts on Liverpool's newest signing. Plus thoughts on league-owned clubs, badges, and swearing...
With only two weeks to go until the start of the season, Man United still have plenty of work to do in the transfer market. It seems the enormity of the task is dawning on Van Gaal...
In terms of deciding which team to root for in Saturday's universally loathed and eternally pointless third-place play-off, Brazil have made the dilemma a real stickler.
On one side, there is the über Schadenfreude fun-fest of seeing the Dutch hand out another smacking to the hosts. But then again, the Brazilian players deserve the chance to reduce the unfortunate slurry of hate that is flying in their direction, even by a tiny amount with a stirring performance against the Netherlands, free of the clearly overwhelming pressure. And hey, the good people of Brazil seem a nice bunch on the whole.
The problem is that the former option really is a tempting prospect. Brazil were probably one of the most irritating teams ever seen at a World Cup. Well, to this column anyway. The tedium of 'jogo bonito' with its insufferable adverts and awful accompanying music over the years was bad enough, but add that to the fact that Brazil wanted to get away with that baloney and field Fred at the same time is a crime. It's no wonder that Diego Costa wanted out even before the forward was in.
The constant, ostentatious pointing to the sky and mouthing prayers before, during and after the matches was incredibly annoying. Perhaps the 7-1 thrashing was a message from He or She upstairs to stop pestering them. David Luiz certainly found out that God works in mysterious ways.
Wheeling out Neymar's shirt before the Germany game as if it was some kind of holy relic was also a real ridiculous no-no. The footballer had a hurty back, that's all. Luiz Felipe Scolari should have grabbed it, tried to stuff it into his mouth and yelled incomprehensibly to get a grip. Then slapped his team around a bit for good measure. The German side must have felt this was a team to be taken apart upon seeing that stunt.
Aside from lousy players and naff tactics, Brazil's downfall was a sense of entitlement along with a lack of spine in the face of what was admittedly a lot of pressure. But that's not the fault of the fans, the ones who clearly suffered as much as some of the players.
Apart from the odd loon in Luton that throws something nasty at a Pizza Hut window - a representation of anything foreign - to protest any kind of English setback, most Brits take their football hits with stoicism. Not so much with the Brazilian supporters, although they are not all favela-living souls whose only enjoyment in life is the football team. Most in fact have perfectly comfortable lives but are also emotionally involved in whatever genius or clown is wearing a gold shirt at any given time.
Despite this, there is a real in for a penny, in for a pound aspect to knowing who to root for on Saturday. If any pleasure was taken in Brazil's defeat, it is probably worth joining the Dutch camp and doubling up to cheer for an Argentinean victory in the Maracana on Sunday. That sums up the true meaning of football - getting a kick out of someone else's misery.
Happy to support the Dutch but I just can't bring myself to support a team so tedious I've wanted to fast-forward every game they've been involved in at this tournament. Also, I've got Germany in the sweepstake at work, so...Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles...- sailingmagpie