Food for thought from the World Cup on Luis Suarez, Gordon Strachan’s comments and England’s Euro 2016 campaign plus the possible retirement of senior internationals.
Alan’s 2014 Summer Diary – No. 13
Wednesday 25 June
Fans of the popular True Blood vampire TV series may have been surprised to see Bill, the head vampire putting in an appearance at the World Cup as Croatian coach, using the name Nico Kovac. Only he knows how he managed to survive so long out in the Brazilian sun without bursting into flames. The secret will no doubt be revealed in the next series, coming soon to a TV near you.
England go out with a whimper and away goes all the bunting. It shows though, how it’s possible to thoroughly enjoy a World Cup even when your own team fails. Scotland and Wales fans know how it feels. The England team and we England fans have now sadly joined them as long term losers and also-rans. Accept it, don’t live in denial.
Nevertheless by any sensible consideration, the qualifying fixtures for the Euros starting in September should be a walkover. Just look again at who we are scheduled to play. If anyone says about these that there are no easy games at international level they should be ridiculed. These should be easy games. No excuses. If we can’t beat this lot we might as well withdraw from major international competitions.
I won’t be putting myself through it watching the qualifying rounds against these other minnows.
Food for Thought: Relative approximate Populations
England 54 million
San Marino 30,000
Isle of Wight 126,000
Estonia 1.3 million
Slovenia 2 million
Lithuania 3 million
Uruguay 3.3 million
Costa Rica 5 million
Switzerland 8 million
Honduras 8 million
Chile 18 million
If England qualify, I’ll dust down the bunting, dig out the shirts and cheer them to the rafters once again in 2016, in the hope they can muster up a win from somewhere in a tournament final. Meanwhile I can focus all my efforts back on Tottenham.
Food for Thought: Time to Retire?
All the talk about whether senior players like Steve and Frank should retire from England duty made me think that this is the wrong approach. Listening to Ian Wright, Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker, they would play now if asked. Their attitude is that you don’t retire from your country; you just wait until it says it doesn’t need your help any more. David Beckham too – probably wouldn’t do any worse.
A novel approach would be to say that because of their age etc., they are going to retire from club football but will be available to serve their country whenever they are called upon, in any capacity. Their clubs should offer them the opportunity to train with the squad and all the club’s facilities for as long as they want, so they can keep themselves as fit as possible for their England duties – plus a role at the club once they finally have to retire completely. It should be country first, club second, not the other way around.
Everybody has had their say on the latest Suarez biting assault. I won’t add my views as I’ve said it all before – how he was the best player by far last season – but was only on the pitch at all because Liverpool sold their souls by not sacking him for previous despicable behaviour. In the end, they still won nothing, so was it really worth it? Those chickens are now going to come home to roost with a vengeance. Whatever else happens, he has just guaranteed they won’t win the league next year either.
Alan’s Diary: A Dream – Playing with Style Principles and Morals: Read more
Tottenham Fan Feels Sorry For Liverpool Over Luis Suarez: Read more
That is why I was so pleased to witness Gordon Strachan’s honesty in the live ITV broadcast from the Copacabana beach picnic table.
Adrian Chiles was encouraging the obvious high horse moralising about Uruguay’s appeal and was clearly taken aback when Strachan went off on one, baring his soul about the absence of morals right across football, not in Uruguay alone.
“We don’t have any morals in football, let’s get that right. We have none. Over the years I have played football there have been wife batterers, there have been drunken driving incidents, there has been infidelity, there have been Eric Cantona jumping in the crowd and kung fuing somebody in the chest. The clubs stand by them and the supporters themselves; when these guys come back, they stand up and applaud them on the pitch, so don’t anybody start talking about morals because we don’t have any in football. All it’s about is winning football matches. If these things had been done by youth team players who have not got any importance to the first team, they get sacked. Because they can bring in merchandise and they can bring in money, then they will back them to the hilt.”
Never a truer word spoken but influential people running football won’t like hearing it. Strachan should be prepared for brickbats rather than the compliments he deserves. If I’ve ever witnessed an applecart being upset, that was it. I’m surprised they didn’t cut him off in mid-flow and rush to a commercial break, like they used to when a late goal was being scored. Chiles did comment on the insignificant fine being for about 3 days wages. I have said before, the answer is simple, express the fine in terms of a period of salary not a sum of money. Four month’s salary for Suarez, how much would that be? Also one would hope that for the period of the ban, the offender goes unpaid anyway but I doubt that happens either.
Why Keep Suarez, Liverpool? Read more
Thursday 26 June
Germany beat USA 1-0 but Jurgen Klinsmann’s boys do enough to squeeze through in second place. Jan Vertonghen scores Belgium’s second as they win their third group game in a row to qualify for a second round tie against the USA. Algeria equalise to knock out Russia – and another chunk out of Capello’s reputation. They did it with the aid of a laser being shone in the goalie’s eyes at a corner. The ITV team made light (ahem) of it but surely that is serious enough to warrant post-match action by FIFA? I think I hear the familiar soft sound of something being swept under the carpet. Surely they can’t be expected to deal with two serious issues in one week?
That’s it for Round one then. I bet nobody put a bet on England, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Russia all going out in the first round. I wonder what odds you could have got on that happening?
We have a day to enjoy the start of Glastonbury (it’s bound to rain for the first time in a fortnight) and then we are off and running with the second round. It’s still the best World Cup I can remember. Bring it on!