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Gary Neville has let something slip (by under-estimating media dickishness), no pundits is predicting England to do well and Lionel Messi has done nothing for six months...

Last Updated: 12/06/14 at 14:01

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Oops, You Did It Again
Mediawatch, amongst others, may give the tabloid media some stick, but at least with a World Cup campaign beginning we are all pulling in the same direction in the hope of the same goal. It's not as if any paper would run a story in order to shift copies that would be to the obvious detriment of the England te... ah, okay. Well, that is awkward.

The Daily Mirror's back page this morning contains a blown up image of some England training notes in the hand of coach Gary Neville, alongside the screaming headline 'Oops'. Oops indeed.

'Coach Neville lets slip England tactics to beat Italy on Saturday,' John Cross' piece begins with an impressive lack of self-awareness.

'Gary Neville has unwittingly revealed England's master plan to beat Italy writes John Cross in Rio de Janeiro.

'England assistant Neville left his training ground notes on show on Wednesday, revealing tactics Roy Hodgson intends to use.

'It is the second time that Neville has found himself in hot water since the squad arrived in Brazil.'

Now listen here chaps, and listen hard. The only ones letting anything 'slip' are the ones using a camera's zoom to take a picture of the notes held by a coach and then splashing said photos on the back of a national newspaper to sell copies.

As for Neville 'unwittingly revealing' the plan to Italy, Mediawatch is fairly sure that the Italians are a great deal more likely to know such tactics now that you have decided to carry out the aforementioned 'splashing'. And there is very little 'unwilling' about your reveal.

Finally, saying that Neville is in 'hot water' would be a great deal easier to swallow if the suggestion hadn't come from those that had filled up the kettle, boiled the water and then thrown it into Neville's face.

Send them to the Tower, and keep them there until at least July 13th.

Reality Bites
In his Daily Mirror column, Brian Reade breathes a sigh of relief that English TV pundits and former players seem to finally be resorting to realism regarding England's chances.

'World Cup reality has bitten mad dogs called Englishmen at long last', Reade begins.

'These are usually the days when a nation loses its sanity - the build-up to a World Cup opening ceremony when mad dogs called Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun and embarrass themselves by spouting wild and unfounded optimism.

'This was Alan Shearer days before Japan 2002 started: "I think England can win, no doubts."

'And as South Africa 2010 was about to kick-off and the question "which country will win it" was asked, Terry Venables replied: "That's easy, England."

'Ian Wright's response was: "England, of course."

'And Harry Redknapp chirped: "I honestly believe England can win it. I'm not just banging the patriotic drum, this is the best squad we've had for years."

'How different does it feel this time? No pundits (apart from Pele, obviously) are giving England a chance at Brazil 2014.'

Handily, The Sun's World Cup pull-out on Thursday asks a number of pundits for their opinions on England, including all of those mentioned above. So, here goes:

Wright: 'I believe England can get out of that frightening looking group quite easily. It really wouldn't surprise me if we caught Italy off guard in the first game, which would really set us up.'

Redknapp: 'I really hope England will win. I can certainly see us getting to the quarter-finals and who knows from there? England are dark horses in Brazil. They have been written off by so many people and I really don't know why.'

Venables: 'Can England win the World Cup? Yes. I like what I am seeing from the Three Lions camp and the way Hodgson is preparing'

You're right Brian, only a few are 'embarrassing themselves by spouting wild and unfounded optimism'.

Stones, Glass Houses
On Tuesday Sergio Aguero claimed that Lionel Messi "can play a big part in winning the World Cup", which sounds like a rather run-of-the-mill quote to Mediawatch.

Not so to Nigeria striker Emmanuel Emenike, however, who face Argentina in Group F: "The Argentineans are too boastful and disrespectful" Emenike responded, annoyed at Aguero's over-confidence.

Mediawatch is just going to leave these three quotes here, all made in the last three weeks:

"Yeah, Nigeria could just win the World Cup" - Jon Obi Mikel.

"It can happen. We have a good team. I believe an African team can win the World Cup. It can happen. I don't believe in negativity. I am a very positive person so I believe it can happen in Brazil" - Victor Enyeama.

"We can win the World Cup. All we need to do to win is to concentrate, be free from injuries and take the matches as they come" - Stephen Keshi.

There's over-confidence and there's over-confidence.

Mystic Meg #1
Mediawatch isn't sure which part of Paul Merson's World Cup predictions on it enjoyed the most.

Was it his line on Lionel Messi? 'Lionel Messi hasn't kicked a ball for six months; he's been absolutely rotten at Barcelona and he's just waited and waited for this.'

In the last six months (since December 12th), Messi has scored 27 club goals and has ten assists. That's more goals than Cristiano Ronaldo (and any other player in Europe) over the same time period.

Was it his honesty over Iran? 'If I'm being honest I don't know too much about Iran and that's why I've got to tip Nigeria to sneak this one.'

No, in hindsight the clear winner was his reasoning for Russia struggling in Group H.

'The problem with Russia is that it's usually -25c over there - we talk about us worrying about the weather but how are they going to cope with it?'

Average Moscow temperature during June, July and August: 23C
Average London temperature during June, July and August: 22C

Just another reason England are f**cked, then.

Mystic Meg #2
Some wonderfully bizarre logic from Gary Lineker in his World Cup group guides for the BBC Sport website.

'Group C - Japan are growing in stature all the time - they've come a long way since I played there in the early 1990s - and they will be able to cause a few upsets. Prediction for qualifiers from Group C - Colombia and Ivory Coast'

Not too many upsets, then.

'Group H - Here's something... Algeria are priced about 12-1 to be the African team to go the furthest - it could be worth a punt at those sort of odds." Prediction for qualifiers from Group H - Belgium and Russia.'

Would the bookies still pay out if at fifth odds if all five African teams were knocked out at the first hurdle?

Video Blog Of The Day/Week/Month/Eternity
Here is a link to Richard Keys and Andy Gray doing a World Cup preview from Gray's car. You're welcome.

"Life, my friends, contains various twists and turns." So far beyond parody that it hurts.

Erm..What? Headline Of The Day
'Get Beers In, Open KFC Bucket And Put Feet Up For 32 Days' - The Sun. That's Steven Howard's advice for the World Cup. How do you open a bucket?

Worst Headline Of The Day
'Are Roo Afraid?' - The Sun. We've got a sodding month of this.

'Sunshine 'N Wayne' - The Sun complete an unwanted hat-trick.

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'An extremely clumsy man needed medical assistance after getting his penis jammed in a pipe for two days while painting in the nude.

'Lian Tien, 61, admitted he 'did not think people would believe him' after slipping while doing some home improvements on a particularly hot day in China's Quanzhou city.

'He gave the improbable excuse after going to his local hospital when his penis swelled up and he developed a fever.

'"It was hot so I was painting the wall in the nude," he explained.

'"I slipped on the floor causing my private parts to fall inside the pipe that was protruding from the wall to take water outside from the air conditioning unit. Unfortunately, I got stuck as a result."

'He added: "I cut it from the wall and tried pouring oil and liquid soap down the sides but my manhood was so tightly wedged that nothing dripped down.

'"I went to sleep thinking that if I relaxed it would slide off. But it didn't. It began to get red and inflamed. I was worried that I would get a terrible infection.'

'Firefighters were eventually called by stumped doctors and used use an electric cutting tool to saw off the pipe during a four-hour operation' - Metro

Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters Andrew Spedding and Caislin Boyle. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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