How do you sell a match report for a 1-1 draw? And why does Thierry Henry need putting in his place? We take a look at the day's newspapers to save you the bother...
The Daily Mail arrive fashionably late to the Roy Keane story, and The Sun reveal Mario Balotelli's 'secret'...
A Smoking Gun
Things Mediawatch thinks:
- Jack Wilshere was pretty foolish for being caught smoking again, whilst enjoying a holiday with Joe Hart (and others) in Las Vegas. He is a high-profile international footballer that has been publicly chastised by his club manager for doing it, before promising it was only a 'one-off'.
Things Mediawatch does not think (and therefore disagrees with Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail):
- That the images of Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere drinking when on holiday will 'live long in the memory'.
- That these 'alarming pictures' are amplified by Germany celebrating their World Cup win in Rio de Janeiro. The two incidents are almost entirely unrelated.
- That drinking in a hotel pool is 'not becoming of England internationals'. They were on holiday, and can therefore do (within reason) what they please.
- That Jack Wilshere's career is threatening to 'go up in smoke', and that occasionally being caught having a puff of a cigarette means he 'smokes like a trooper'.
- That England players can be criticised for not 'keeping a low profile' given that the players were 5000 miles from home and the images have been provided by Splash News, a worldwide Paparazzi agency with offices in five countries.
- That the aforementioned images of two players drinking in the swimming pool make England's entire World Cup squad 'ill-disciplined and ill-advised, no better illustrated than by the latest round of party pictures'.
- That Connor Wickham drinking champagne in Marbella is evidence of him lacking the 'aptitude' to be considered for the England squad.
- That England are 'pouring it all away'.
One interesting aspect of Neil Ashton's attack on Jack Wilshere and Joe Hart 'tearing it up' in Las Vegas was his accusation of Hart's lack of professionalism prior to the World Cup.
'At the Lions and Roses charity dinner on May 18, England's head coach Roy Hodgson allowed his players to have a couple of drinks.
'On one table, Gerrard and Lampard had half a glass of red wine poured for them and did not touch a drop. On another, far more boisterous table, Hart drank bottle after bottle of beer at a remarkable rate.
'Sitting on the same table was Luke Shaw, a young man who cannot even drive yet, at his first official England function. At the time he was 18. What an example to set a kid.'
A reminder that this charity dinner was almost a month before England's first match in Brazil.
In addition, it's strange that Hart drinking 'bottle after bottle of beer at a remarkable rate' wasn't reported at the time, particularly as journalists were invited to the shindig.
Thankfully, the Daily Mail did report on that evening, sending along a man by the name of Neil Ashton. What a coincidence.
So, what was Ashton's reaction to the drunken debauchery that evening, and Hart setting a bad example to poor Luke Shaw?
'England's players behaved impeccably at the England Footballers' Foundation dinner. In an era when it is so easy to casually criticise the players, this event, in football parlance, could be described as 'a leveller'.
'Every member of that squad, from captain Steven Gerrard and vice-captain Frank Lampard to Southampton trio Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Luke Shaw, understood their roles and responsibilities. It has to be said, it was pretty refreshing.'
It's almost as if Ashton has altered his memory of that night for the sole reason of sensationalising these latest pictures. Next time the tabloids moan about getting insufficient access to England players, just remember this.
What A Difference Four Months Makes
'Liverpool's renaissance is good for the soul of English football. They were told that building teams around a core of British players was a romantic notion with no place in England's 'World League' - because home-grown players were innately inferior. Rodgers has railed against the myth that British players lack basic technique and both invariably field a majority of natives' - Dave Kidd, Daily Mirror, March 31st.
'However much money they spend and however many players they buy, Liverpool will only ever be able to field 11 men, and none of them will be Luis Suarez. Instead, Brendan Rodgers is left with SEVEN of England's failed World Cup squad and not one world-class player' - Dave Kidd, Daily Mirror, July 14.
'I messed up on the big stage', confesses The Sun's back page on behalf of Lionel Messi and his World Cup disappointment.
'Lionel Messi faced up to his World Cup heartbreak, admitting: "I blew it."'
The Sun's use of quotation marks is odd, given that no other news outlet are carrying Messi's admission. But wait, let's have a look at what he actually said...
"The chances we created were clear. We had three - mine, Gonzalo Higuain's and Rodrigo Palacio's. But we couldn't finish them.
"We deserved more after the match we played so it's very painful to lose in the manner we did because we were so close to penalties. We wanted to take home the trophy and enjoy it with all the people in Argentina. But now we have to carry with us the disappointment of not being able to win this match."
Yep, it sure sounds like he's admitting he blew it.
Click Click Click
'Manchester United's woes could be over after 'winning the World Cup' ahead of Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool', farts out the headline in the The Metro. And this one stinks.
The story concerns Manchester United's players scoring more goals than any other Premier League club at the World Cup. Sigh.
In order for United to 'win', the Metro choose to exclude David Luiz's goals because he moved to Paris St Germain before the tournament. Which he didn't.
They should be ashamed, but they won't be.
Unsurprising Opinion Of The Day
Ian Wright was asked by The Sun to pick his top six (why six?) strikers of the World Cup. No place for Lionel Messi or Neymar, but Luis Suarez, James Rodriguez and Thomas Muller do make up numbers 6, 5, and 4 on his list.
The top two? Alexis Sanchez and Robin van Persie, of course. One former Arsenal striker and one new Arsenal signing.
For what it's worth, Gonzalo Jara is Mediawatch's player of the tournament.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'Fashion chain Next has taken a baby grow off its shelves after customers noticed it was covered in penis drawings.
'Shane Gallivan, 23, was feeding his 10-month-old twin daughters Evelyn and Amelia at home in Bulwell, Nottingham, when he spotted an unusual shape in their baby grows' 'washing line' design.
'After looking closer, he uncovered what he believes is the drawing of a penis in the image of a green jumper.
'He then examined the rest of his daughters' baby grows and found lots of different penis images covering their arms, legs and bodies.
'Today, Mr Gallivan's wife Carla, 24, said her husband's discovery had left them feeling 'angry'.
'"It just looks like the designer was having a laugh and no one spotted it. I was angry because it's not the kind of thing you should be dressing a baby in."' - Daily Mail.
Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotter Michael Malysewich. If you spot something that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.