That's if reports that Calum Chambers cost Arsenal £16m are to be believed. The English premium shows no signs of disappearing. Plus, worrying about poor Southampton...
Some supporters sound oh so confident on Louis Van Gaal's excellence. Plus thoughts on shirt sales, best signings, football sevens and a good deal more besides...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Portugal's New Formation
Much has been said about the tacticians of the World Cup, with double pivots, false nines and other coach speak,but please spare a moment for Portugal and their visionary coach, Paulo Bento, and his revolutionary 'false 1'.
Tip-top Sir, I salute you.
...I think we all need to take it easy on Portugal. Clearly that was an innovative tactical experiment on how to play football without a midfield.
Paulo Bento's courage and 'bravery' should be commended.
Stanley (holy cr*p, the US might have a chance) Millworth, Portland Timbers
Can't Players Run Backwards Anymore?
It's always nice and exciting to see new introductions to football, i.e the worldwide exposure for the 10-yard spray paint or the use of goal-line technology but it's also sad to see the demise of other things we once held dear in the game.
Mailbox friends of a certain vintage, I ask you...whatever happened to players who could run backwards?
I've just watched Nani in attack and the ball goes out. Cue Nani turning and running back to his own half oblivious to whats going on behind him. Why isn't he constantly watching the ball while doing that backwards run that we all used to practise in shuttle runs at football training back in the good old days.
Whats next to go? Football shirts that don't properly cover up a man's nipples?...yeah I'm looking at you Uruguay!
Paul Healy, Glasgow
Red Cards For Headbutts? No Thanks
While of course one can't usually call a red card unjustified when the player in question is Pepe, I think that the absurdity of giving a red card for 'headbutts' must end.
A cynical foul, a mistimed sliding tackle or an elbow to the face, all of which have a much greater chance of injuring the player, are given only yellow cards. On the other, an utterly injury-less expression of anger is given a red. Of course, for a sport which rewards taking off the shirt for celebration with a yellow card, anything can be justified.
Bala (Germany would have tonked Portugal anyway) MUFC
Spoiling The Game? Shush.
I know it's revisiting old ground, but I just want to share my frustration at something that really annoys me. Listening to the Germany vs Portugal game on the radio on the way home, Pepe's red card was said to have "spoilt the game...no-one wants to see that..the ref should try to keep in 11 vs 11" and so on.
I don't like being one of those people who scream at the radio - but I did in this case. It's just utter horseshiznay. Aside from the crime of speaking on behalf of the world, the laws of the game are the laws of the game. You can't transgress them and then plead for a lesser punishment on the grounds of spoiled entertainment. Whether you do or don't disagree with the red card (and I think it was soft), if the ref interpreted the act as violent conduct then it's a red card. You can't have a go for not applying the rules, and then have a go when they do apply the rules.
It annoyed me almost as much as when commentators/pundits say that nobody wants to see the imaginary card wave. Yeah...it's the unsportsmanship there that's annoying, not the claiming every foul/throw on/corner ever.
Anyway, happy World Cup all...been a cracker so far.
Rich (Loving Muller since way back when. Also Frau Muller. Hipster Shmipster), AFC, London
Raging At Chiles...
I have to vent somewhere about what I've just seen and since my friends are all working like normal adults I thought I'd turn to the mailbox.
I'm sure everyone who saw Adrian Chiles' half-time assessment of the Muller play-acting/Pepe red will know exactly what I'm talking about, but where on earth did that shock and outrage come from? A player going down theatrically having felt contact to the face?! Well I never. It happens all the time Adrian, which surely you know considering all the football you should be watching. It was of course made infinitely worse by those two chaps sat next to him that realised what they had seen was completely normal in modern-day football. You know Adrian, those two articulate and knowledgable World Cup winners whose opinions the public might actually want to hear. Don't make us all watch you argue your moronic viewpoints with them please.
Thankfully, Adrian was at least cut off at the beginning of a train of thought that went "play acting is actually dangerous", which I assume would have been a boy who cried wolf type rant, and a commercial break saved the day. Honestly ITV, that was horrible to watch.
Just for the record, I think the feigning injury thing is pathetic as well, that's not the point of this rant, it's that we've all seen it a million times. Apart from Adrian Chiles apparently.
Dan (Fabio, Patrick, we're not all like that. Honest.), London
Do I remember people in the mailbox criticising Muller not too long ago? I think he's just proven again that any team in the world (club or international) would be delighted to have a 24-year-old who 'does nothing but score goals' the way Mueller does.
Ben (The way he celebrates is just so damn intense), Dublin
Six Reasons Muller Should Not Win Golden Owt
1. That crap celebration.
2. The fact that even he probably can't remember any of his goals.
3. He tries too hard, all of the time.
4. His face. LOOK AT HIS FACE.
5. The fact that his consistent-yet-instantly-forgettable goalscoring is now as predictable as the unremarkable-ness of the goals themselves.
6. Imagine how rubbish the montage of his goals will be. Like a montage of Darren Bent goals but without the relative excitement of the beach ball.
Stu (who does Mario Gotze look like? It's starting to really bug me) Chiswick
Celebrate Good Times, Come On
I hate the muscle-flexing, watch-me, over-celebrating douchebaggery of the likes of Ronaldo just as much as the next guy but equally annoying is the sheer lack of enthusiasm in Muller's goal celebrations. The guy just can't celebrate! After a hat-trick, no less.
Now That's A Celebration...
That goal celebration from John Brooks after his winning goal last night has probably got to be my new all-time favorite. Forget the dancing, the backflips, or the casual finger-wag (formerly a favorite of mine); this was the magic of the World Cup manifest in a single moment. Anyone who has played the game has imagined a moment like that, and for this young man, 21 years old, making his WC debut after barely making the squad at all, it has all become real in an instant.
Watching someone's dream come true in real time is a rare sight. Disbelief, excitement, and panic all seemed to show on his face at once. Seeing him just lie down on the grass to take it all in, to make sure it wasn't just a dream is something I won't soon forget.
Sue Them, Gareth
During the festival of football that was Iran v Nigeria they did a montage of fans, many of them attractive Brazilian ladies, doing the 'heart with the fingers' goal celebration, I really want Gareth Bale to be sitting at home making still images for his lawyers and muttering about people taking him for granted
Joe (Glenn "Pirlo can never last 90 minutes" Hoddle) Taylor
Okay, so you tricked me into watching that Larsson goal montage and the guy was a freak! 68 of his 242 goals were headers! That's 28% of all his goals which seems unreal to me. He also only scored two deflected goals which I am confident is some kind of record.
Quite frankly you could have filled the Top 10 diving headers with just his own personal contributions.
Warren (I bet he ends up with brain damage) Batt
Singing Is Not Key To Winning
Couldn't help but be riled by Robbie Savage's ridiculous rant about making players sing the national anthem.
Let's take his opinion, which is clearly that players who sing the national anthem are more patriotic, passionate and therefore play better. Even if this were definitely true, surely if you were made to sing the national anthem it's not some magic formula that instantly makes you care more despite being forced to partake.
I am from a Sikh background. I was made to sing Christan hymns at school, did this increase my passion or belief of Jesus?
You can have that analogy if you like, though I'm sure you can think of a better one.
Amer (compulsory brackets joke/statement) Lehall
Who Knew Balotelli Was Black?
In response to Ric Duncombe, the one that stands out for me is Freddy Adu. After been the hottest of hot prospects in one of the old FM games (I'm thinking '05 but happy to be corrected) I was surprised to see he was a bit rubbish when I finally saw him play for Benfica a few years back. Colour me disappointed.
In terms of physical appearance, probably Mario Balotelli, who I used to sign as a 17-year-old on FM (again, not sure what version) and pictured as being a small, nimble-footed white guy. Given that I'm pretty sure FM used to give you the height of players, it took a special type of idiocy to envisage that.
Balginho Silva (Brackets? Not for me, Clive), WWFC
...To answer Ric Duncombe (Kampala, Uganda) who asked if anyone else ever imagined a player in Football Manager who ended up looking absolutely nothing like our imagination created, two words: Mario Balotelli.