World Cup 2006 Blog

From our reporters in Germany

Once more unto the breach dear Sven

phil_mcnulty.gifGELSENKIRCHEN - Ray Winstone will apparently be seen on video reciting Henry V's St Crispin's Day speech and maybe even some Churchillian oratory to motivate England’s players before the World Cup quarter-final against Portugal.

Judging by what we saw of Gary Neville in his meeting with the media on Thursday, he could not be any more motivated to meet Portugal.

Neville inspired the media, let alone his colleagues, with his honesty and and his brutal assessment of what is riding on this game, and the desperate price of failure.

So what have we learned about some of those who will be listening to Winstone’s words of wisdom over the last month in Germany?

England’s players have gallantly performed their media duties for the last four weeks, probably with reluctance on occasion, but they have done it all the same.

And it has proved an intriguing insight into their characters.

Steven Gerrard is deadly serious, but more humorous that he appears on the surface – and cuts an imposing figure.

He was cutting in his dismissal of England's chances if they continue to perform as they have, and you suspect he will be putting it even more bluntly in the dressing room prior to kick-off

Despite his brilliance, he still needs to know he is wanted, as one incident illustrated perfectly.

Eriksson, Gerrard and Frank Lampard were wheeled out to face us before the meeting with Sweden.

The coach hinted he may rest either Gerrard or Lampard to spare them a possible suspension.

In two separate rooms, Gerrard and Lampard could both be heard uttering the same phrase to the press when word reached them: “I hope it’s not me.”

It was an eye-opener to see a talent such as Gerrard seemingly suffer the same moment, just a moment mind you, of self-doubt as the rest of us mere mortals.

Lampard is a deep thinker about his game, a man whose brow becomes genuinely furrowed when the subject strays on to the current thorny problem of his finishing.

But one thing can be gleaned from his body language, and that is if he fails it will not be for lack of effort and concentration.

Joe Cole has shown great maturity, while Peter Crouch’s media campaign has been conducted with a delight at his emergence at the World Cup and a nice line in humour – particularly on the subject of robotic dancing.

David Beckham is a measured spokesman on team affairs, but carefully avoiding any trick questions and controversy in the manner of a man who has been doing this for years.

Wayne Rooney has come on light years from the monosyllabic teenager who first faced the world’s media when he signed a professional contract at Everton.

He is now comfortable but still quietly-spoken – which may all be an act after Eriksson outed him as the noisiest man in the dressing room.

Goalkeeper Paul Robinson is another who has conducted himself well, particularly when he openly announced Michael Owen was out of the World Cup even before the official medical verdict – let’s have more like him.

Owen Hargreaves is composed and cosmopolitan with a wry sense of humour.

He has happily conducted interviews in German before moving on to discuss affairs with the English media.

But if there was an award for media interview of this whole campaign, Neville’s performance in Baden-Baden would be out in front by a mile.

It may need a World Cup win for someone to top it, but even then my money would be on Neville

He has no need for Ray Winstone’s admirable intervention, but let’s not knock the tactic – anything that the FA feels may help England to World Cup glory is worth a try.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 01:01 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Duncan J wrote:

I'de love to see this Ray Winstone speech!

Any chance you press types might be able to get a copy of it up on the net for us fans?

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  • 2.
  • At 01:15 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Duncan J wrote:

Why not have just one post on these message boards that isnt someone whining about the world cup.

That would be a pleasant change.

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  • 3.
  • At 01:27 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Bellamy wrote:

Am I the only one who is scared by Gary Neville? He has diabolical deep-set eyes and a strange silvery-grey aura.

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  • 4.
  • At 01:29 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Anonymous wrote:

What ever it takes. If Ray Winstone can further inspire the team to victory then so be it!

We certainly won't be complaining about it if we win.

A question remains though, should it fall to someone outside the England camp to rise to this challege? Sven has already stated that rousing speeches are not in his repertoire, which considering his responsibilty to the team and to the nation is bold and honest indeed. Bold and honest enough to find a few inspirational words as well I think.

No matter, good luck to Ray and the England squad! cooomaaaahhhhnnn!!!

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When I first saw the pics of Ray Winstone in the England camp, I thought Wayne Rooney had taken up the Ronaldo Diet.

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  • 6.
  • At 02:16 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Jim wrote:

Being from Liverpool myself, I can quite see Gerrard "putting it even more bluntly in the dressing room prior to kick-off"!!! Answers on a heavily-moderated public forum board near you.......

Same goes for Rooney - quiet and monosyllabic is hardly in the Scouse genetic make-up, eh?

No, we don't need an actor to pep up the troops - but if it helps, I'll take it! There has been worse you know.

Oh and DuncanJ can hardly fail to spot the irony about whining about people whining about the World Cup.....just kidding mate - there's plenty of positive stuff around - read more.

COME ON ENGLAND! I'm driving from the Arctic tonight with my flag on the car, stopping in Stockholm to watch tomorrow's game, should reach Liverpool by Semi-final kick off - great!

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  • 7.
  • At 02:35 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Agincourt wrote:

Super Gary Neville is all we need to get motivated, although to be honest why anyone would need motivating to play this game is beyond me. Drop the Ray Winstone idea, surely we have enough people in the camp to get us well up for getting through this game and than hammering Brazil and then the Argies in the final! Come On England!!!!

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  • 8.
  • At 03:05 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Stephen Alley wrote:

How come Terry Butcher isn't calling for Beckham to be dropped this match, or has he realised he was wrong all along.

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  • 9.
  • At 03:06 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Ben wrote:

Gary Neville is extremely scary- not leasst because you get the impression he could snap at any moment
'Nice shirt, Gary'
'What you calling me a pouf?'

etc...

I would not want to be stuck in a lift with him.

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  • 10.
  • At 03:07 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • el_bumbador wrote:

Gary Neville is a real scrapper. He should be delivering the speech. He wears his heart on his sleeve every week for United, hence why he was chosen as Roy Keanes replacement as skipper. He has real passion and hunger and could motivate the players better than anyone else. His honesty has earnt him the respect of his fellow players. He is the man for the job!!

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  • 11.
  • At 03:16 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Phil wrote:

Where's ya tool?

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  • 12.
  • At 03:19 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Stephen wrote:

Duncan J, I'm not trying to have a whine - well maybe I am, I suppose.

I have nothing against Ray per se. I just wish governing bodies (in general) would stop trying to get down with the kids. It's not mega, it's not ace.

Rather, if someone in authority feels that the players need motivation and tub-thumping, why not appoint a manager that has these qualities.

It strikes me as a publicity stunt. A "we're really cool and we understand the common man" approach.

Sorry if I sound like I'm whining (again).

I agree that with most people that the team need help in this department. I'm just not sure this is the best way to do it.

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  • 13.
  • At 03:31 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • R Phillips wrote:

Yep spot on. Gary Neville does not beat around the bush. He tells it as it is. Some people can give it but they can't take it. Real people like Neville do not spare them. They may go crying for help to get their petty vengeance, but they know that the point has already been made. I think you know the incident to which I am referring... I am not surprised that Neville's press conference was so honest and so absorbing. Must admit I'm a little surprised to see such sentiments echoed so openly anywhere on the BBC. I applaud this breakthrough!

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  • 14.
  • At 03:32 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Ben wrote:

I'm certainly scared of Gary Neville. You get the impression that he might just snap at any moment and flyu into a murderous rage. I wouldn't want to be stuck in a lift with him.

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  • 15.
  • At 03:38 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • mauritianguy wrote:

Anything, as long as England win on Saturday!

But, personally, I don't think the boys need any motivation for this game, they know what they've got to do... there will be no hiding if they fail this time !!!!!

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  • 16.
  • At 03:43 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Duncan J wrote:

Jim, I refuse to dignify your fact with a blush!

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  • 17.
  • At 04:24 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Anonymous wrote:

commmmmooooooonnnnnnnn England!!

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  • 18.
  • At 05:30 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Sir Dearlove wrote:

Stephenn, are you actually aware of Ray Winstone's work? I fear not, because if you were, you would certainly never compare him to Ross Kemp and Ricky Tomlinson. They are leagues apart!

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  • 19.
  • At 05:50 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Warren wrote:

What's wrong with using a different approach to motivation. Motivation is not just about going into the game and what awaits, it's in the mind, to rid of the doubt that they might have. There will always be doubt it's getting rid of it and thinking positive. Anything that can help rid the doubt can only be good, and I for one couldn't think of anyone better reciting Henry V or Churchill than the Daddy himself.

COME ON ENGLAND!!!

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  • 20.
  • At 06:21 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Joe wrote:

What a joke.

This is a new low for the FA. The fact Sven cant do his job properly is one thing, but getting an actor to do it for him is pathetic.

Why not get an average fan who who has spent £100's of his hard earned cash to follow the team.

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  • 21.
  • At 07:54 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • PO RT UG AL wrote:

Wat a result, with all the injuries and the lack of goals, england have now called up ray winstone, maybe sven will chuck him up front as a lone striker

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  • 22.
  • At 07:59 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • jim wrote:

half the England team would not be able to understand the language used by Shakespeare, so how would they become inspired and motivated?

I think this is a joke

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  • 23.
  • At 08:00 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • jim wrote:

half the England team would not be able to understand the language used by Shakespeare, so how would they become inspired and motivated?

I think this is a joke

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  • 24.
  • At 08:01 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Nikola wrote:

Garry Neville makes me laugh when I see him, although his long pass is deadly accurate. But, that's his only true skill.

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  • 25.
  • At 03:16 AM on 01 Jul 2006,
  • james wrote:

would any of us need motivating to go out there and play with the heart and passion our public deserve? If they lack motivation for the biggest games of their lives they shouldnt be there!

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  • 26.
  • At 03:59 AM on 01 Jul 2006,
  • chalky wrote:

13 hours to go till kick off i'm working nights getting very nervous bitten all my nails off (including toes) this game is going to be huge no deco which should help come on england step up this time round ray winston pavarotti damn it bring out fat les if you need him just win for us all.

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I have heard and read much comments/crticism about the English
world cup team and their manager, Erikson. I strongly feel that we should not discouraged or
demoralised them as they are trying their best. I'm sure they know what they are doing. Their disappoinments etc are not less than yours/ours. We should give positive/constructive comments/remarks. As a
Singaporean and a supporter of the English team, I feel that we should learn to give positive strokes. Don't be too harsh and say what it is not called for.
Good luck England!

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  • 28.
  • At 05:25 AM on 01 Jul 2006,
  • Paul West wrote:

Didn't the Aussies do spectacularly well?? Living in Australia and having long historical links with England, I hope they win. The English press will never be satisfied, so my advice to the team is 'go out there, play with pride and committment. Play as a team and you'll arrive home able to hold your heads high. Stuff the press !!!

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  • 29.
  • At 07:26 AM on 01 Jul 2006,
  • Jamie wrote:

I did of course mean Alex Ferguson, not Alex Feuguson. I do not know Alex Feuguson or his boyfriend and am sorry to any married Alex Feugusons who's wives may have read this and become confused or worried. Strange how Phill Neville never gets an england game now he's at Everton, dispite the fact that he is playing more and better quality football. Hmmm, very strange indeed.

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  • 30.
  • At 01:41 PM on 01 Jul 2006,
  • 2236 wrote:

Will this be Ray's version I wonder???

This day is called the feast of Crispian:He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,But he'll remember with advantages What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words Beckham, Lampard and Gerrad,
Rooney and Cole, Terry and Neville,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

The English do have pride. And today in a stadium in Germany 22 of my fellow countrymen will stand together and face what is thrown at them and defend and attack as they have been trained to do. I wish I could stand with them

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  • 31.
  • At 02:20 PM on 01 Jul 2006,
  • Bryan wrote:

"I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
straining upon the start.
The game's afoot: follow your spirit;
and upon this charge cry "God for Harry! England and Saint George!"

8.15 here in Toronto. Game at 10.30. I was working in the northern Ontario bush in '66 and missed the Finals... but wild horses and eleven moose in Septic Bladder T-shirts couldn't keep me from this one.

C'mon, England!

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  • 32.
  • At 03:19 PM on 01 Jul 2006,
  • 2236 wrote:

Although written by a great and extraordinary Irish Gentleman (Written for his only son lost in the Great War

The point is it's the motivational/spiritual aspect. Its all about endeavour and overcoming against all odds. The belief in your heart, the strength of character, 'to fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run'

'If' by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

It's about trying and if you win then it has been worth it. If you lose it has been worth it. Hearts of Oak, Hearts of Oak

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  • 33.
  • At 03:44 PM on 01 Jul 2006,
  • 2236 wrote:

I'm English, I've lived in Scotland for the past 20 years (20 miles West of Aberdeen). I'm just going down to the pub where I'll meet my wife and daughters (all English).

We'll be sitting with about 100 Portugese supporters. My consolation is that it has costs these supporters a fortune in flags and shirts so far.

My elder daughters boyfriend has bought a Brazil shirt (just in case we get to the 'Big Red One'

C'mon England - Make us proud

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  • 34.
  • At 08:32 PM on 01 Jul 2006,
  • wayne cason wrote:

I`d like to just say that the lions certainly Roared this afternoon !! Without the intervention of a Referee & a certain manchester united player,would we have lost Rooney ???? I Don`t think so. The ref was a known arch enemy of the english( Beckham twice ) club & country!!! & Do you not think it`s rather strange that we are officiated by an argentinian so close to ......you know.How many times do we have to be victims of FIFA & the FA ! Can they not afford the same qualities as the Cricket authorities......or do they not want to open themselves into the new century?............unfortunately the old school is finished.....and we have to embrace the fact that we can`t have mistake`s that cost millions of pounds....Let`s appreciate that Referee`s are outdated & Mr Blatter should opt for the obvious before ,as he would prefer , Soccer is outdated too.CAMERA evidence for fouls?,diving,is so important! It costs tournaments!!!!!!

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  • 35.
  • At 08:45 PM on 01 Jul 2006,
  • 2236 wrote:

Just back from the pub and the 100 Portugese supporters. 'They're Going Home...They're Going Home....!!! still ringing in my ears. But at least I can sing 'They never went... they never went they never,....etc.

Played like Lions from the first kick. Poor quality penalties from players who would normally score in the Premiership. I hope Steve McLaren shapes this team and gets the support from the Premiership Managers that he will need.

Couldn't quite get over the bile that these supporters had for England.

Forget what I said previously about a GB Lions team. It would definitely NOT work....Maybe we should break up the Union??


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