The Page That Was Your Strength When You Were Weak

Martin Samuel has found the real reason for England's failure, while Adam Lallana's dreams have changed in spectacular fashion. Plus Lawro wishes it was the 1970s...

Last Updated: 02/07/14 at 12:31

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England's Saviour
Martin Samuel is a magician, and his most famous trick is to take any news story and, abracadabra, it is transformed into a dig at the Football Association before your very eyes.

Samuel uses part of his Daily Mail column today to demonstrate a wonderful example of his party piece, in a piece regarding Arjen Robben's dive.

'Arjen Robben was public enemy number one at the World Cup on Monday, accused, yet again, of diving,' Samuel begins. 'So what did the Dutch federation do? They put him in front of the media to give his side of the story, like a grown-up.

'Had that been Wayne Rooney facing a similar crisis, we would have been offered Phil Jagielka and Frank Lampard - and at the first mention of cheating, a hyper-ventilating Football Association apparatchik would have blocked all questions on the subject.

Yes, Samuel is criticising the FA for not putting a player forward for an entirely hypothetical and imaginary incident. The same FA that put both Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney up for media questions after intense disappointment during this World Cup.

Furthermore, while Robben was allowed to give his side of events, the midfielder actually admitted diving earlier in the match, causing a media storm in which calls were made to FIFA to ban the player. Not exactly a recommended move.

Perhaps, Martin, if the tabloid media didn't run back page headlines crying foul at the FA Chairman's choice of holiday reading or players daring to smile the day after being knocked out, then they may be a little more prepared for questions to be asked of the highest-profile players?

So is it any surprise that Dutch footballers accept responsibility during matches, while England's retreat trembling into a shell?

Why of course. It wasn't fatigue that caused England to fail in Brazil. Nor the heat and humidity. Not the number of foreign players in England or our players' lack of ability to keep the ball or defend properly. And it wasn't that we kept missing chances, either.

No, the reason England struggled in a major tournament again was because players don't do enough interviews for the media. Nailed it.

What A Difference A Year Makes
"To commit my future to the Club for the next five years is something I'm really happy about. I've been at the Club since I was 12 and - being honest - I can only see my future lying with Southampton Football Club. If someone was to say that I'd end my career playing for Southampton in the Premier League then I'd snap your hand off for it. I am privileged and honoured to be given the opportunity to be here for the next five years" - Adam Lallana, April 2013.

"Watching [Liverpool in] the run-in towards the end of last season was unbelievable. Deep down, I was thinking to myself 'Hopefully, one day I'll be able to play in that team'. Now that dream has become a reality" - Adam Lallana, July 2014.

Mark Clattenburg was right. He has changed. A complete U-turn, in fact.

Do The Right Thing
Textbook criticism of Roy Hodgson from tactical guru Martin Keown in the Daily Mail, who condemns the England manager for not staying in Brazil. Of course.

'I wish Roy Hodgson and his staff had stayed out in Brazil because there is so much to learn here,' Keown begins.

'The battle for the future of English football starts straight away and there are so many different tactics and systems to watch and learn from at this tournament. It's important to watch the games as a team so you can bounce ideas off each other and discuss how certain systems could work.

'It's good to see managers such as Roberto Martinez and Arsene Wenger out here lapping it up.'

Few things, Martin:
1) Mediawatch can only imagine the 'Roy Extends Holiday' and 'Hodgson Refuses To Face The Music' headlines had the England coach chosen to do so. He can't win.
2) The games are all televised in England, you know. It's not as if Hodgson is going to able to waltz into the Colombian dressing room after the match and ask Jose Pekerman for some advice.
3) Roberto Martinez and Arsene Wenger are in Brazil getting paid for TV work. Just imagine for one second the media s**tstorm if Hodgson chose to do that.
4) A number of England coaches have in fact remained in Brazil, including Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate.

The God Delusion
The Sun's Steven Howard was at Argentina v Switzerland on Tuesday, but we can't help feeling that he may have drifted off to sleep for the last few minutes of extra-time.

'The Swiss stopped God yesterday in Sao Paulo yesterday - but they could do nothing about his Angel,' Howard claims in the first line of his match report.

It's a nice line, Mediawatch accepts, but in insinuating that Switzerland thwarted Lionel Messi only for Angel di Maria to save the day rather ignores one salient fact.

Remind us Steve, who was it that ran half the length of the field and rode three challenges before setting Di Maria up for his goal. Was that not the 'stopped God'?

Casual Sexism
Mark Lawrenson's typical mood seems to be that of a man annoyed with life, and last night Mediawatch discovered exactly why: he wishes it was the 1970s again, when casual sexism could be cherished rather than censured.

"He should put a skirt on" was Lawrenson's response to weak shot from Switzerland's Josep Drmic during their match against Argentina on Tuesday on the BBC.

Of course, because if it's weak or lacking power it must remind you of women's football, Lawro.

The saddest thing is that Mediawatch wasn't surprised in the slightest.

Ask A Silly Question...
'Can USA's 'I believe that we will win' chant inspire them to World Cup quarter finals?' - the headline on the Daily Mail website's sidebar of shame continues to ask.

No, is the answer. Football chants have little relevance on the result of the match, it seems.

Slight Difference Of Opinion
'Saviour Messi To The Rescue' - Daily Mirror

'Di Maria miracle gives Messi hope' - The Sun

Childish Giggle Of The Day
"I signed up to do that, to put my face in front of balls" - Tim Howard takes one for the team

Sound Decision Of The Day
"So we stood there face to face in the lift area (of the hotel). And I looked at them, they looked at my BBC Accreditation and then looked straight into my eyes. And I'm standing there thinking to myself 'is this the right time to start discussing the Falklands? No...probably not...'" - Alan Green on BBC 5Live discusses meeting three Argentineans in the lift in his hotel.

Sometimes, Mediawatch is left speechless.

Headline Of The Day
'How do you solve a problem? Di Maria' - lovely work from the Daily Mirror.

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A South African Airways (SAA) pilot lost his cool Tuesday and stripped to his pants in front of fellow crew members, Harare International airport staff and passengers in protest against the rigorous searching he was made to go through by security.

'Captain W Van Ginkel, who was minutes away from flying the airline's Flight SA 025 jet, was immediately arrested for indecent exposure, inconveniencing some 90 passengers who were waiting to be flown to Johannesburg.

'Witnesses to the bizarre incident said the pilot, as per routine, went through the metal dictating scanner which bleeped as he passed through. He was made to remove his shoes and go through the process again by a Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) officials but the bleeping sound went on again, much to his annoyance.

'He took off all his clothes and strode through the electronic detector in his underwear, but what was intended to be an expression of discontent with the meticulous frisking process turned nightmarish for the irritable pilot, who was immediately arrested by police for unsolicited display of his underwear. Police confirmed he was later fined for "criminal nuisance" and released.

'The airline was forced to dispatch another pilot from Johannesburg to come and fly the aircraft after Ginkel was adjudged unstable to proceed with the flight. The incident, which happened Tuesday morning, caused a five hour delay of the flight' -

Thanks to today's spotters Gerry McGreevy and Batsirai Gombera. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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sn'tthis strange. Last season we were worried that we were stuck with a Dinosaur in Moyes while Liverpool and Everton were disappearing into the distance with their young, spritely managerts, playing football from heaven. Progressive managers, they said. Managers who understand the modern game.........

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eing consistently and unrelentingly dog turd really takes it out of you. Try shadow boxing. That's what it's like watching Liverpool, punching thin air.

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ood list, some crackers in there. For me, I'd have had Steve McManaman for Liverpool away at Celtic in the UEFA cup in 1997. I was in the ground that night and everyone kept screaming at him to make a pass, but he just kept going and going and going...brilliant, and in the dying minutes too.

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