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TLOTLDR - World Cup Blog Day 11 (June 11th 2014)

Well, 'noise-gate', as detailed in yesterday's blog, was thankfully a one-off incident.

The guys in charge of us press boys & girls following England around Brazil gave me the use of their office on the 11th floor of our hotel to do my piece into Alan's breakfast show this morning, and with no one within earshot I was able to sneak back to my own room afterwards having disturbed nobody at all. Phew.

I did raise my voice at one point at Mickey Quinn who I thought was being disrespectful towards James Milner as though picking him to play on Saturday would be a dreadful idea. Unless I'm very much mistaken, the 23 gents selected by the national manager are the best 23 English footballers in the country, and I don't remember hearing too many moans about players being left out who should be in, particularly in midfield areas. 

I happen to like what Milner brings to a team, and his form for Manchester City in the season run in was excellent and he deservedly got his place on the plane. So I fail to see how he's suddenly the worst option for Roy to deploy in Manaus or elsewhere for that matter.

The way Quinny was talking, it sounded like he only wanted a 17-man squad out here, such was his disdain for Milner Welbeck etc. I love Mickey to pieces, but I felt he was being dismissive to good, solid pros who I'm glad to know we can call upon in this tournament. Now if Milner played for Mick? ;)

Who knows if we can call on Welbeck anyway - it's all a bit vague. Absent from training with an apparent thigh injury that was picked up by spies who were able to somehow watch the closed England training session yesterday, the Man Utd striker was catapulted back into contention by his teammate Wayne Rooney in his press conference when he said Welbeck was fine. So there, eh? Is that a red herring to keep Prandelli and co guessing? Perhaps, but Wayne is probably not the sort to indulge in skulduggery, so I'd take his words at face value.

There were a few more boats on the water opposite the England training pitch when we had our 15-minute look this morning. Again the conspiracy theorists suggested foul play by Italian spies in our midst. Next thing you know, the vultures that circle nearby on Sugar Loaf Mountain will be implicated in some 'cameras under the dorsal guiding feathers' scam or other.

Vultures circling...just realised what I've said there. And the boys haven't even kicked off yet...

It appears an FA representative is going to the Arena Amazonia tomorrow to inspect the playing surface that has suddenly become big news for looking, shall we say, a bit rutted? I'm not exactly sure what an FA official can actually DO about the pitch with 48 hours to go. Miracle Gro doesn't work that fast. It's a FIFA problem, beyond both Italy and England's control. Let's not use it as a crutch or an excuse come Sunday morning. That really would look weak. 

Our radio room at the Urca base appears to be 5 degrees cooler than it is elsewhere in the building. We have Sky Sports News pumped into every room - a reminder of dear old Blighty - and of course Nick Collins, he of the finest moustache in British broadcasting is here showing us all up with his vast array of shirts and ties whilst the rest of us go with t-shirts and Bermuda shots. We can hear Jim White as we work with SSN blasting, although I suspect we would still hear him over here without the need for satellite broadcasting. "SOME BREAKING NEWS HERE, NATALIE!!! AND IT CONCERNS WAYNE ROONEY, WOULD YOU BELIEVE??!!!" etc etc

They should stick him, Stan & Saggs in a room and see who has the boomiest voice. Stan for me every time I think. I've been on the other side of the pitch when he's been hosting Call Collymore and heard every single word he said. And I thought I was loud.

Stan'll do well to make himself heard in São Paulo, the biggest city in the Southern Hemisphere, where opening night finally rolls around tomorrow. Let's hope the football is exhilarating and everyone enjoys the tournament for what it is - the biggest global sporting event there is. We press guys will follow events unfold from our hotel in Manaus by the time Brazil & Croatia get going - that's if the threatened strike action by Rio airport workers doesn't go ahead as has been rumoured this evening.

I'd better not have taken these flaming malaria tablets for nowt.

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