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TLOTLDR - World Cup Blog Day 18 (June 18th 2014)

Well I stayed awake long enough to see Akinfeev's unfortunate 'bar of soap' moment for Russia against South Korea. I wonder whether Fabio Capello will drop his No.1 'keeper as ruthlessly as he did with Rob Green 4 years ago after the USA game? If he sticks with Akinfeev, then at least he's learned something from his time in charge of England. 

To dispense with Green as he did after 1 game (having made him his 1st choice) wasn't so much hanging Green out to dry, more shoving him in the washer/dryer and and putting it on the highest heat setting. It effectively made England a 22-man squad, as once he'd done that, he could never pick Green again. Terrible management from him. Whether you thought Green was our best goalie is irrelevant - Capello made him believe he was and then pulled the rug from right under his feet.

You can't imagine Roy Hodgson being that unforgiving. However, football management is sometimes about making tough decisions, and no doubt the grilling he'll get at today's presser in São Paulo will centre on choices he's perceived to have about...well, you know who. And I don't mean Voldermort. Sick of talking about him to be honest. 

But as discussed before, we seem to have to get hung up about somebody in the team/squad. I remember asking some years ago why Jermaine Jenas kept getting in England squads and barely kicking a ball in anger. Was he a brilliant tourist? Was he ever close to realising the potential he showed at Forest and as an under-21 player?

Our conversion rate of U-21 to full international status is scandalously low down the years. Maybe now that we appear to have a pattern of play that seeps down from senior level down to youth teams, then such continuity should help produce players that understand what's expected of them as they move through to becoming a full international.

Mind you, next thing you know, there'll be a new directive, a new formation, new ideas and ideals that will be implemented by someone believing in change for changes' sake to suit their own ego and we'll be back to square one yet again. Maybe that's why players like Jenas never really defined his role as a midfielder...That and injuries.

'Noise-gate' again this morning on the 11th floor, but I was not involved this time. John Cross boomed his way through an update on the breakfast show and got a yellow card at breakfast from his next door neighbour. Still, it meant he got his alarm call to get on the fun bus to the airport. So no harm done really - didn't wake me up though, mercifully.

31 years to the day today that my heroes (in case you didn't know) KISS played that huge gig at the Maracanā to an estimated 180,000 people...or 2 million if you believe Gene Simmons' hyperbole about the event. Vinnie Vincent was the guitarist on that tour, the last tour before the band originally took off the make up. He looked strange with the gold Egyptian ankh (silent W) painted on his schnozz - but trust me, he looked even weirder au naturel! 

São Paulo - been dreading this part of the trip from a logistical point of view what with 17 million people there who all appear to have 3 cars each that they all drive at the same time. However, it became apparent as we boarded our short flight South that today - and game day tomorrow - are public holidays here. Today is Corpus Christi Day, and any game days are treated as holidays in a bit to ease potential gridlock. Sat on the coach at the airport bound for the stadium - we shall see how this pans out.

Shaun Custis of The Sun drew the short straw yet again and was sat next to me on the plane. Cue more musical nostalgia and an interesting chat about the dichotomy that sports writers face (particularly tabloids) in trying to maintain good relationships with players who become front page news for those other writers who have no interest in sport, and as such have no interest in the relationships and trust that writers cultivate with players over time - a trust which one story (usually sensationalised) can damage irrevocably. 

Saggers had warned me to pack my swimming trunks due to inclement weather, but the sun is out and we're comfortably mid-20's temperature wise. Not quite Manaus but warm and sultry nonetheless.

As it goes the trip to the stadium was pleasantly quick. The Arena Corinthians stands high up overlooking the outskirts of the metropolis, and its permanent stands are quite impressive from the outside. The temporary stands which Corinthians have no need for apparently are less so, as you might expect. Once inside I ordered a cheeseburger from the media concessions stand - stone cold when it was presented to me - its replacement was nuked like Alan Partridge's hot apple pie. I'll give it 20 minutes I think...

Uruguay arrived here first to train and give their press conference. Suarez' fitness is much debated and he was out training fully in the 15 minutes seen by the press corps. But who knows how much of a gamble it is to throw him in at the get go? Actually, we shouldn't concern ourselves with such things too much - getting all jittery over his possible inclusion is precisely what Tabarez & co. would want.

Well, at least if we do go out early, we'll be in the company of the (former) champs. We do a decent tournament post-mortem...imagine the Spanish Inquisition? No comfy chairs or cushions I'll bet!
Roy and Steven's presser wasn't too explosive. Uruguayan reporters tried to trip them up on Suarez, but the party line was towed without either building him up or dismissing him too much. Before you knew it, we were back on the bus, heading for our hotel in downtown São Paulo.

Can't see us parking the bus tomorrow - we should have more than enough in the tank

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