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Provocative sports commentary

In looking at England's smashing defeat at the World Cup, Boris Johnson hits one nail on the head -

Somewhere along the line the nation that invented or codified virtually every sport seems to have lost its lust for competitive games. I don't want to exaggerate this. We did amazingly at the 2008 Olympics, and we have recently beaten Australia at rugby. But in our game, the world game, we should be doing so much better.

I am sure the problem is partly to do with all those foreign players in the Premiership, but it's more fundamental than that. We are still paying the price of an educational establishment that developed an aversion to competitive games and an obsession with bureaucracy and elf and safety that made it hard for the voluntary sector to fill the gap.


Walking into the Twyford shop, I glanced at a headline which suggested that England coach Capello thinks the English always look for someone to blame.

Well, Capello, most sensible people like to find out why something or someone isn't working and do something about it. That being said, I thought you were the problem as soon as I first saw your face on the television screen. You can read a bit about a man in his face, which sounds unkind, but I think may be true. Further, English rabble-rouser that I am (what else would an American be?) I kept asking why an Italian was coaching the English team. It seemed odd. Today the Guardian writes that Capello did not know how to speak English well, and screamed at the players. Good grief.

Comments (2)


This post is frankly ridiculous and just goes to display how little you know or understand about Football, and in particular English football. Capello is widely considered to be the best available manager in the world, and in England's qualifying campaign he demonstrated that he can bring the team to a very high level. Why else would they have been considered to have an outside chance of winning going into the tournament? Yes, the shouting may indicate that he is a hard taskmaster, but that is just the nature of professional sports, and in most instances it galvanises people to their full potential. For sporting glory such as the World Cup, the players should be willing to make sacrifices, especially considering the huge amounts of money they recieve as an added incentive.

As for the question of an Italian managing the England team. That is just world football for you. Why does a Scandinavian man manage the Ivory Coast? If the Italian is better than any English manager then give the job to him.

Of course you can tell to some degree what a man looks like from his face and I personally see nothing wrong with Capello. Watch the reations of the players and coaches at the World Cup, to good and bad alike, and you will see that it is by far Capello who is the most animated and passionate man. It is not a problem with Capello, it is a problem with the attitude of multi-millionaire players who have lost their drive to play well, and for whom the novelty of playing for their country has worn off.


Good points, but I still fail to see why the players must be native to their country, but the coach can come from anywhere and may not have a sufficient grasp of the language the players speak.

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