The Page That Is Red All Over

FIFA need to act before football is sent back to the Dark Ages and Marc Wilmots has a good cry. Go on, Marc, let it all out...

Last Updated: 07/07/14 at 12:48

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Before Brazil's clash with Colombia no-one appeared to consider this to be a 'dirty' World Cup. Sure, there have been a number of lenient refereeing displays, but that hasn't precluded matches being clean and fairly contested on the whole.

That fact seems to have escaped the Daily Mail's Martin Samuel, however, who implores FIFA to act following the 'horrendous' scenes in Fortaleza on Friday.

'We cannot go back to the days when the best player got kicked out of the tournament, maybe out of the game, while the world watched and shrugged pitilessly,' writes Samuel, equating Neymar's unfortunate injury and Brazil's unpleasant but not career-threatening treatment of James Rodriguez to the Battle of Santiago.

'What happened to Neymar, what happened to James Rodriguez, this is the growing scandal.'

Perhaps Mediawatch is a heartless soul, but we would find it easier to share Samuel's concerns had he been able to cite more examples of this 'growing scandal' than Brazil's quarter-final against Colombia and Nigel de Jong's kung-fu kick on Xabi Alonso in 2010. A handful of incidents in two matches over back-to-back 64-game tournaments doesn't really indicate the blood lust he's suggesting.

To Samuel's credit, though, he plugs away at his point, curiously employing the image of a bruised and battered Diego Maradona struggling through his daily exercise routine for emphasis:

'His legs are bent almost double, his pace measured and desperately slow. He is not gasping for air, so there isn't a lack of fitness. He's just shot, physically. His joints, his legs. And he's the same age as George Clooney.

'If anyone from FIFA would like to come down and watch Diego Maradona's exercise routine they will realise that diving, even biting, may not be the biggest issue at this World Cup after all.'

They might also realise the effects of drug abuse on the body, which have surely played as significant a role in Maradona's declining health than any other factor. But why let that get in the way of a bizarre overreaction to a few tasty challenges, eh?

Headline on the MailOnline: 'Mario Balotelli caught smoking a cigarette on hotel balcony while on holiday in Florida.

Intro: 'After a disappointing World Cup there could be more trouble ahead for Italy striker Mario Balotelli, who has been caught smoking while on holiday in Miami.'

This is what the Daily Mail has been reduced to, telling tales on Mario Balotelli and publishing no fewer than 18(!) photos of his fiance to hoover up hits.

And to think Mediawatch hoped there would be a break from this s**t while the World Cup is on.

Cry Baby
Mediawatch can't help thinking that Marc Wilmots is being a bit of a sore loser after Belgium's quarter-final loss to Argentina.

"We were not impressed by the Argentinians," said Wilmots. "They are just an ordinary team. Messi made a couple of fouls and I noticed the referee never gave a foul against him. I don't want to be a cry baby, but I noticed the referee never gives fouls against Argentina. He made three fouls and no yellow card.

"If we'd equalised in the last few minutes, they would be dead. Finished. How many shots did Argentina have? Seriously. If we'd played this way, we'd have been destroyed by the Belgian press."

Number of shots by Argentina: 10.
Number of shots by Belgium: 10.

Wilmots might also be interested to know that Marouane Fellaini has conceded more fouls than anyone at the World Cup but hasn't picked up a single card. But yes, Messi's the one who keeps getting away with it.

Given that it's now over two weeks since England were knocked out of the World Cup, Mediawatch thought it had read all of the 'Hodgson Out' pieces. Sadly, we were wrong. Step forward Mark Lawrenson to deliver the final word in the Daily Mirror.

'Roy Hodgson is NOT the man to lead England - this exciting World Cup has proved that now,' blasts the headline.

'I've changed my mind about Roy Hodgson,' Lawro begins. 'After England went out of this World Cup I was convinced England should stick by him. Now, I'm not so sure.'

'How can I be when I look at the passion and the invincible spirit of the Americans? Or the way that Carlos Queiroz made Iran so hard to beat?'

That's the same Iran side that were beaten twice in three matches and scored only one goal.

'Take Robben and Van Persie out of the Dutch team and they are an average side,' Lawro continues. 'But just look at the way that Louis van Gaal has rallied them to reach the semi-finals.'

And take the c**k and balls off Mediawatch's uncle and he would be our aunty, Lawro. The fact is that the Dutch do have Robben and Van Persie, and both are among the best players at the tournament, scoring six goals between them so far.

And so to the crowning glory:

'We pamper, preen and praise our players to the skies and they routinely fail us. Players from the so-called smaller nations put ours to shame. They leave it all out there on the field. And yet the Premier League will start again in August and it will be: 'What World Cup?'

'The trouble is, ask any fan right now whether their priority is their club side winning the Premier League/gaining promotion or England doing well at a major tournament and the answer will invariably be the former.'

So let's get this straight. When England went out, Lawrenson thought Hodgson should stay. Then the passion of Costa Rica (after England's exit) persuaded him that Roy wasn't good enough. But, actually, it's the fault of the players. And the Premier League. And the fans. And presumably anyone who has ever attempted a 'rabona'.

We're glad that's clear.

Writes Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail: 'The Newcastle keeper, thrown on by Louis van Gaal in the 119th minute of their quarter-final with Costa Rica in Salvador, had screamed 'Vamos!' in the face of every penalty taker. It pushed the boundaries, but Krul couldn't care less.'

If those are the perceived boundaries in English football, then Mediawatch isn't at all surprised that Wayne Rooney has called for more 'nastiness'.

Holland look forward to a World Cup semi-final and England debate the decency of a harmless spot of sledging. Good lord.

Bizarre Angle
If you thought only the English press like to twist players' words, then think again. Today's top story on claims Angel Di Maria's praise of Lionel Messi's World Cup performances was intended as a snub to Cristiano Ronaldo in order to expedite Di Maria's exit from Real Madrid. They might be reading a bit too much into that one...

Writes Alex Crook in the Daily Mirror: 'Dejan Lovren raised a few eyebrows when he signed for Southampton rather one (sic) of the Premier League's bigger fish.'

Hmmm, that's not how Mediawatch remembers it. Or Liverpool, for that matter, considering they're now willing to pay £20m for a defender they overlooked at £8m.

Quote Of The Day
"Brazil without Neymar are going to be much more difficult to beat" - Joachim Low is more worried about Brazil now they've lost their star player and leading scorer.

Headline Of The Day
'Champagne super Novak' - The Sun.

Worst Headline Of The Day
'Ashley's Romeing' - The Sun.

Thanks for nothing, folks. If you spot something that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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