i adore football, but like all other things it is best in moderation.
i can't help think that the best time for the most controversial political decisions to be made would be during the world cup. i hate that people feel a need to be drunk 24/7 during the world cup and i hate that they think about nothing other than football during the same period. i also hate the commercialism surrounding the whole thing.
mussolini was the first to recognise the link between politics and football. control football, and you control politics.
i'm scottish, but i do
believe england have the best group of players in this years tournament. however, i don't want them to win (if you're non-english and live in the uk then you'll understand). they won't win, either. eriksson is the wrong man for the job. he doesn't understand northern european football (despite being swedish). he plays a more philosophical game and the english players are stiffled by this. i don't usually believe in stuff like this, but i feel national teams should be managed by managers of the same (or similar) nationalities (or be receptive to the culture they represent).
erikssons long ball stuff recently is (i think) an attempt to 'take a gamble' and play the game the 'english' way. i think he has missed the point again. english teams are based upon strong, battling midfields who are direct and powerful - he is missing this key component (and probably the best midfield in the world) out by simply launching the ball forward from the defenders to the strikers.
english football is based (for me) on the premise that all the defenders can romp forward to support the midfield and that all the attackers fall back to battle for the ball. what he is doing instead is stretching the field of play (from goal to goal) and narrowing the field of play (from side to side), when the english game for me is all about having the defenders and stikers play as close to one another as possible and widening the pitch. the long ball comes from the oppositions byline, not from ashley cole 10 yards off his own byline. ironically, by narrowing the pitch along it's longest side, you are also making the game more receptive to 'over the top' tactics. eriksson hasn't a clue how to play direct/long balls correctly.
england don't have the best team, though. i have to say the south koreans win that hand down. perhaps not he most individually gifted, but have you ever seen such a hard working team? apart form scotland, of course