“It’s all gone a bit flat here.” These were the words of BBC 5-Live’s chief football correspondent George Riley in his report from Rio this morning, following England’s rapid exit from the World Cup at the hands, or should that be feet, of Costa Rica – before we had even played them! As might be expected, his report was heavily cliché-ridden, focussing particularly on the need for facing uncomfortable Truths.
Last night’s message from the Costa Rica fans
He was making his comments from the comfort of the massive World Cup Media Centre in Rio de Janeiro, but was he reflecting the mood of England fans in Brazil, or the atmosphere among the thousands of two-bit Fleet Street hacks whose long summer holiday watching the Girl from Ipanema had just been cut drastically short? Because the greatest Truth to be faced here is that, were world cup success for our soccer team measured purely in back-page column-inches, then we would have won more trophies than Brazil and Germany put together. Continue Reading
We awakened this morning to the sound of inevitability – a three-day thrashing to complete an Ashes whitewash that was on the cards as soon as The Urn was lost pre-Christmas. The story was a familiar one this winter – an opening session-and-a-half that had the Aussie top-order all back in the hutch for less than a ton, then the turnaround that culminated on day three in an England side all-out within 35 overs to lose by almost as many runs as they totalled in the match.
When three’s not a crowd – Peter, Urn and Michael
Back at the end of the summer series, I commented that there wasn’t much between these sides, and certainly the three-nil home series result was flattering. It would seem that, in a very short time, the Aussie coaches used the relative adversity of that result to stoke-up the performance levels in their squad – and it worked. Harris has carried-on his good work of the summer – that opener of the second innings in Perth that got Cook was one of the best innings-first-balls I have ever seen; in fact, had I bowled one like that, I might just have announced my immediate retirement, knowing I would probably be unable to reproduce it. Continue Reading