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The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Reporter - World Cup Blog Day 5 (June 5th 2014)

The sun is out.

I repeat - the sun is out and not obscured by any of those cloud thingies.

I could easily pass for a meteorologist in South Florida, actually. It appears to be almost impossible to give a fully accurate forecast for 12 hours ahead, never mind a 3 or 5 day summary. Sunshine wasn't on the menu necessarily, but I'm not complaining - really I'm not.

Whether the sun is about to set on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's World Cup remains open to debate. The short statement released by the FA here yesterday lunchtime gave little precise information other than telling us that medical staff are continuing to monitor the midfielder's medial ligament injury. At least we can be certain that it is a strain and not a tear of the ligament. Now to wait and see what happens in the next few days. The very funny Wengerknowsbest on Twitter calls him 'Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 2 to 3 weeks away' - many a true word spoken in jest.

It's interesting that Paul Scholes, a man quieter than a church mouse throughout his playing career, has suddenly found a voice to register strong opinions on Wayne Rooney's involvement with the squad amongst other things. I know he's signed up to blog for a bookmaker during this tournament, but this sudden catapulting into the forefront of ex-player opinion seems very strange, although he clearly isn't too reluctant to get stuck in, whether it be Wilshere or Rooney.

Rooney has quickly dismissed his former team mate's words, and the obsession with Wazza from all sides continues unabated. He's probably ill advised to have responded publicly to Scholes' criticisms - Rooney would be better served letting his goals and on-pitch performances show the right way to reply. He's not as eloquent as some of his fellow players here - and that itself is not a criticism of Wayne, by the way. It's sometimes easier for a prodigious talent to respond with goals, assists or neat approach play rather than the spoken word. Some players revel in press conferences and make it look easy. It's not Rooney's fault that he appears less confident in such situations as, say, Daniel Sturridge. Let the wafer-thin boots do the talking Wayne...and watch the old metatarsals whilst you're at it

Delighted to hear that I'll be away from home whilst Big Brother is on the tellybox back home - doubt that I need to elaborate on that point too much for those that know me well...

Was told a great story here via a couple of sources about the US National Anthem, which is played before every sporting event, as I'm sure you know.

The story goes that at one such occasion, the stadium announcer began by saying "And sing our national anthem, please welcome...Miss Gladys Knight..."

As the crowd stands in readiness for the Star-Spangled Banner, a lone voice carries across the packed arena shrieking in response to the P.A. guy "Gladys Knight sucks!!!!!!!"

Another pregnant pause before the P.A. guy calmly announces "Nevertheless..."

I can't get as excited watching the NBA Miami Heat/San Antonio Spurs finals game tonight as I was watching the Stanley Cup Ice Hockey LA Kings/NY Rangers finals the night before. One of my sporting ambitions is to go and watch a live NHL game, particularly a Stanley Cup final match. This Game 1 match was a thriller, with LA Kings winning 3-2 in overtime after a brilliant goalkeeping display by both net minders.

Ice Hockey got me good and proper in my college days when Solihull Barons had one of the best sides in the British game, and had sell outs every Sunday game I used to go and watch at the Hobs Moat Rink. No plexiglass around the outside of the rink like in the NHL, though, just netting. If the puck flew in your direction, you almost needed to recoil as the netting wasn't especially taut! Great days, though - can still hear the Frank Stallone song they used to play as the teams came onto the ice with spotlights spinning around the playing surface.

Strange to think that one of the Barons' Canadian imports I used to watch back then, Chuck Taylor, is now a man I see regularly at Premier League games in his role as Floor Manager for TV coverage - he's already in Brazil preparing to do the same job for the host broadcaster. Look out for a bloke by the subs benches who's the spitting image of former Baggies boss Pepe Mel.

Out for a meal last night in downtown Miami, and my (average) impressions of various football alumni are, well, making an impression you might say. Graham Taylor leads the requests thus far, with Trevor Francis closing in fast in second place. My schtick/patter hasn't changed much over the years, so it's pleasing to get a laugh from the old favourite one-liners. 

Anyway, not much more to write about what was a fairly quiet day otherwise - the phoney war is nearly over, both for the squad and for us lot following the squad too!!

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