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TLOTLDR - World Cup Blog Day 14 (June 14th 2014)

Eating at a hotel breakfast buffet on your tod is about as frustrating as Birmingham City's home form. The moment you move from your spot, strategically leaving a near full glass of orange juice to mark your territory, someone from the staff swipes it before your anywhere near returning with the mini croissants. So you leave the mini croissants to recharge a fresh (warm & straight out of the dishwasher) glass with juice and next thing you know, the pastries have gone! It's an elaborate dance that can go on indefinitely. Serves me right for being Billy no mates.

I tell you something else that gets nicked - your ideas for blog titles! All ten of you who read this will know that my witty attempt at a title for these things (based on the title of Alan Sillitoe's short story) is now etched in stone as my own plagiarism and my plagiarism alone. Only some bright spark back at TalkSPORT towers website staff nicked it to go and title one of Adrian Durham's blogs, which about a million people read (probably)! Now, that's kicking a man when he's down in my book ;)

(Do read Adrian's though - it is rather good)

I'm typing this but now before Day 3's games get underway with Columbia v Greece. Up to this point (regardless of some truly chronic refereeing) we've seen a lot of attacking intent from pretty much all sides. Just catching up with the Netherlands 2nd half dismantling of Spain, although one wonders what would have occurred had David Silva put his laces through that shot when clean through rather than chip the 'keeper. If and ands etc - Chile vs Spain may be the pivotal fixture in that group. 4 years ago Alvin and I were in Pretoria to see the Chileans run Spain ragged for 30 minutes but succumb to David Villa and co eventually. As with the Dutch last night, revenge is a dish best served cold. Or chilly, if you pardon the pun.

Reading Sid Lowe's excellent piece in the Guardian this morning, where he summarised the Spanish media's (over) reaction to what they witnessed is a stark reminder that all the level-headed, focused build up England have shown since the Portuguese training camp could become a distant memory and a huge point of debate if things don't go our way this evening........

.......and they didn't. 

I'm sat on the bus ready to head back to our hotel and it's very quiet sitting here amongst my colleagues from radio & the written press after that defeat. Marchisio - well any player - will revel both in the freedom he had to fire Italy ahead and in the step over his skipper Pirlo did to free up that space.

The equaliser was, let's face it, terrific. All elements of the move - the Sterling pass, the Rooney cross and the Sturridge finish were executed to perfection. Unfortunately Rooney will be the main topic of conversation once again as to whether he's being deployed in the right position or indeed if he's worth his starting place regardless. His missed chance midway through the 2nd half was the last sniff we really had in front of goal.

It seems you can't have a Rooney debate and not be accused of witch hunts and agendas against him. It's as though you're not allowed to discuss his relative merits or otherwise. Did he look sharp enough to have been more useful in a central position tonight? Not always. Did he provide adequate protection for his full back Baines? No, but was that his instruction?

Basically England to me played a lot like Liverpool this evening - unsurprising given that 5 of the starters were Reds - eye catching at times going forward but susceptible to attacks down their flanks. Baines will not enjoy watching his defending for the Ballotelli winner (why always him?) and there were a few walking wounded who passed us in the mixed zone. Sturridge was carrying a knock. Sterling's exertions had cramped him severely and Gerrard's knee looked a concern too. Next 24 hours will tell us a lot on all 3.

Gary Cahill looked dejected as he came over to speak to us. Let's remember that for 8 of that starting lineup (including him) it was their 1st World Cup Finals match and I doubt the knives will be out too much when the considered reports are filed.

But Uruguay now looms very large in São Paulo. Both sides have no points and they will play their game before Italy face Costa Rica. Lose that and England could sit and watch the other 2 sides in the group draw the next day and send them home. 

But I'm not going to whip England for that as a whole. Sirigu made some decent saves from Henderson & Barkley - Lallana might feel aggrieved that he didn't start and may well push in training to make a case for his inclusion against Uruguay. And let's not forget that they have lost a vitally experienced defender in Maxi Pereira after his late red card...whose morale is lower, theirs or ours? I'd say Tabarez has the tougher job picking up his squad than Roy does.

And so to bed - for about 2 hours. Then it's back to Rio first thing on our charter flight to continue the post mortem. 


the eleventh who reads you

Hi there Ian,

I'm Brazilian and have recently found about TalkSPORT, been listening to you guys since the beginning of the WC2014. I've stumbled upon your blog the other day and been following your humorous accounts of this WC since. So I guess I'm the eleventh reader of yours.

I was rooting for the Old Blighty last night, but Italy was a bit more street-wise. On the bright side, it was the best England's World Cup match since England X Brazil in 2002.

Keep up the good work, mate.


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