SUPPORTING ENGLAND DESPITE THE HATERS: Shop manager stands up against football racists

Ilford – VIJAY SHAH via ELLENA CRUSE and Ilford Recorder

A shop owner of Indian heritage, who was allegedly abused by racists and warned off his show of support by a fellow Indian after adorning his business with the flag of St. George in support of the England World Cup football team has vowed to fight back against the prejudice he suffered by increasing the number of flags flying at his shop, the Ilford Recorder newspaper reported today.

The unnamed owner of GMS Heating & Plumbing Spares, Ilford Lane, in the London-Essex town of Ilford, a Sikh Punjabi, declared his backing of the ‘Three Lions’ team by placing the distinctive red-and-white cross of England around the outside of his store, as well as a string of smaller flags of all the national teams in the World Cup across the shopfront.


The decorations riled some locals, who did not understand why a person of Indian origin was supporting England, even though he had lived in the country for forty years and had been supporting the national team for twenty years. Staff at GMS began receiving hate mail and letters criticising their manager’s allegiances. One handwritten missive accused the manager of forgetting his heritage and disavowing his culture and skin colour. The rambling letter went on to say that if National Front racists had seen the flags, the shop owner would have been ” [kicked] back to Indian with out (sic) your trousers on and give you flower (sic) to take”

The note, written anonymously and addressing the GMS owner as ‘Uncle’, annoyed the man and he has vowed to now add more England flags to his football display. 

The manager told the Recorder that the letters would not stop him supporting his favourite side, but that it had cast a shadow over the store’s World Cup celebrations.

“It is shocking how backward minded people think that by supporting the country you live in you will be dishonouring our religion or insulting India,” he added.

“These are the wrong people, not the ones who enjoy being part of the English culture.”

David Landau, a senior caseworker at the local people relations charity Redbridge Equalities and Community Council, said abuse in any form should not be tolerated and needs to be reported.

“This is a rather unusual situation but abuse is abuse and if someone is abused for putting up England flags this is wrong,” he said.

“It shouldn’t be happening and racism needs to be condemned.”

Another South Asian-owned business on the same Ilford road, which runs through the far west of the town along the border with Newham, also reported receiving similar letters after they also flew English flags outside their premises.


Ilford Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc.

“Abusive letters won’t stop Ilford Sikh shopkeeper from displaying England flags during the Football World Cup” – Ellena Cruse, Ilford Recorder/Archant Community Media Ltd (24 June 2018)


“SO7192 : Old Castle pub in Bridgnorth” – Jaggery, geograph (2 July 2014)

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Jaggery and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


HUMOUR MOMENT: Catch a bite with Luis Suarez

Recently, Uruguayan star footballer and all-round werewolf Luis Suarez has found himself hanging by the skin of his teeth with FIFA after sinking his gnashers into an opponent in the recent World Cup match between Uruguay and Italy. It’s not the first time Suarez has taken a nibble of a rival sportsperson but this time round the act was witnessed by millions of people and is now the minions at the Facebook meme factory have had all their annual leave cancelled as the clearly underfed South American striker’s antics go global.

The Half-Eaten Mind presents a selection of brand-new photos and a video poking fun at the Hungry One. For Suarez, ‘going out for an Italian’ will never have the same meaning again. All these memes and adverts are currently doing the rounds on Facebook and you can find more by searching under the hastag #Suarez.

When he’s not cannibalising half the roster, Suarez can normally be found maintaining a relatively meat-free diet at Liverpool FC, an English side.

By the way, I am an England supporter, and I haven’t forgot who chewed up our World Cup chances in our second match against Uruguay, but this is not me biting back. I promise!!

(c) The SPORT Bible
(c) The SPORT Bible

Confirmed: Luis Suarez did bite Chiellini.

(c) Specsavers
(c) Specsavers

Should’ve gone to Specsavers #SHGTS #ITA vs #URU

(c) The SPORT Bible
(c) The SPORT Bible

Teeth hurting Luis?!

(c) BBC News
(c) BBC News

Betting firm pays out $74,872 (55,000 euros) after Uruguay’s Luis Suarez appeared to bite Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match. They had offered odds of 175 to 1. #BBCGoFigure

(c) Kutski
(c) Kutski

Ivory Coast goalkeeper Boubacar Barry celebrates by biting the grass. Better than biting a player I suppose!

(c) The SPORT Bible
(c) The SPORT Bible

Please help

(c) The SPORT Bible
(c) The SPORT Bible

Luis Suarez’ Panini sticker collection has been found…

(c) Coral
(c) Coral

Suarez Park

(c) Coral
(c) Coral

My sub, my way. Luis Suarez = Spicy Italian.

(c) KSIOlajideBT
(c) KSIOlajideBT

Oh Suarez xD

(c) Dimension Music
(c) Dimension Music

Obviously it is the joke of the day… Congratulations #Uruguay! #WorldCup2014 #Suarez

(c) Anthony Kavanagh - Le vrai
(c) Anthony Kavanagh – Le vrai

Une petite faim ? #suarez #cdm2014

(c) Mars Inc. via DJ Maaleek
(c) Mars Inc. via DJ Maaleek

Love the World Cup Jokes & Memes. hahahaha ‪#‎worldcup‬ ‪#‎suarez‬ ‪#‎hungry‬

(c) via Emirates247
(c) via Emirates247

#‎Suarez‬: Best Luis Suarez bite spoofs…

(c) Hindustan Times
(c) Hindustan Times

Got #Chiellini stuck in my teeth: Top #Suarez memes you MUST munch on

(c) Skyrock
(c) Skyrock

Belle journée ! C’est parti pour le Morning en direct, branchez vous sur Skyrock pour encourager Équipe de France de Football avec nous !

(c) Z103.5
(c) Z103.5

Everybody strives to score goals but for Luis Suarez its a HAT TRICK for sinking his teeth into players including ‪#‎GiorgioChiellini‬ of ‪#‎Italy‬ his latest victim during Uruguay’s 1-0 controversial win today at The ‪#‎WorldCup‬.

(c) Football Republic
(c) Football Republic

Thought we may aswell get in on the #suarez biting banter

(c) The BACK Benchers
(c) The BACK Benchers

Whatever it is #Suarez brings in some entertainment to the game! Being a ManUtd fan, I like him

(c) @bluestaffy via Blue Prodigy
(c) @bluestaffy via Blue Prodigy

Feel free to share this. ‪#‎bluestaffy‬ ‪#‎suarez‬

Via Anil Raut
Via Anil Raut
Facebook, Facebook Inc
The SPORT Bible, Facebook, Facebook Inc
Specsavers, Facebook, Facebook Inc
BBC News, Facebook, Facebook Inc
Kutski, Facebook, Facebook Inc
Coral, Facebook, Facebook Inc
KSIOlajideBT, Facebook, Facebook Inc
Dimension Music, Facebook, Facebook Inc
Anthony Kavanagh – Le vrai, Facebook, Facebook Inc
DJ Maaleek, Facebook, Facebook Inc
Emirates247, Facebook, Facebook Inc
Hindustan Times, Facebook, Facebook Inc
Skyrock, Facebook, Facebook Inc
Z103.5, Facebook, Facebook Inc
Football Republic, Facebook, Facebook Inc
The BACK Benchers, Facebook, Facebook Inc
Blue Prodigy, Facebook, Facebook Inc

HEI FRANGUEIRO, COMO VAI?: Brazil’s World Cup soccer slang

If you are fortunate enough to be one of those exceptionally lucky visitors to Brazil during the World Cup now in full swing there, you will have noticed two inescapable things about the country. One is the Portuguese language. Portuguese is the national tongue and is spoken over the majority of the country. A legacy of the Portuguese empire that once ruled over Brazil until the 19th century, the local flavour of the language has its own expressions, spellings and idioms. Coupled with the distinct sing-song accent, Brazil’s Portuguese is very different from the Portuguese used in its former colonial ruler. It is rather like the differences between American and United Kingdom English.

The other thing that will not have escaped your attention is their love affair with football. From the battered favelas of Rio to the beaches of Porto Alegre, its football that helps keep the bars ticking over, keeps children busy in their spare time and has helped keep a nation behind one of the best football teams in the world.

Not surprisingly these two modes of expression, the spoken and the kicked, have come together in a way that is very unique to Brazil and may well be very convenient for football fans learning Portuguese who want to get the inside story on what the locals think of their chances of making it to the quarter-finals.

Português do Brasil: Brasília - Mesmo trsites ...
Português do Brasil: Brasília – Mesmo trsites com a derrota do Brasil, o casal Juliano Peixoto e Silviana de Moraes consegue fazer piada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The life and culture reporters at the Wall Street Journal have put together a glossary of Brazil’s football lingo to celebrate the World Cup.

Just as it is said that the Inuit (Eskimos) have dozens of words for different kinds and states of snow, the Brazilians have a cornucopia of nuanced football terms for every kind of player, set piece or ridiculous situation that could ever happen in a match. However, it is not just about figuring the literal meaning while quickly through a bilingual pocket dictionary, it is very much about the context too. The Half-Eaten Mind presents the WSJ guide to Brazilian footballing expressions.

You might well see yellow and green clad supporters shouting out loud for the popcorn guy “o pipoqueiro!!”, but no it is not because they are trying to get his attention for that urgent refill of Butterkist. It is a reference to any show-off or overhyped players who just seem unable to deliver the sweet goods on the pitch and end up popping up around the game aimlessly. Much like your popcorn bag splitting open and bouncing about in the microwave. Either way, it is not a good outcome.

If you hear fans muttering under their breath about lettuce and chickens, it is not because they got lost on the way to a farmers’ convention and they are not complaining about what has wound up in their McDonald’s chicken sandwiches. Oh no, it is just their way of expressing contempt for players with slippery feet and fingers. A goalie who just about touches the ball with the tips of his gloves before it slams into the back of his net is dubbed “lettuce hands”  – “mão de alface” , as his goalkeeping skills soon seem to be as soggy and limp as an old leaf of the green stuff (an unfortunate goalkeeper in an English Premier League match may well be called ‘butter fingers’ among the printable nicknames heading his way along with the ball). Goalies who just cannot seem to stop a ball and let in goal after goal are said to be like clumsy farmers “chasing chickens”. Anyone for a half-time Caesar salad?

There are other terms that are hard to translate suitably into English and reflect the unique culture and psychology that Brazilians bring to the beautiful game. If a player does loads of fancy moves which do not seem to mean any goals being scored, he could be described as engaging in a bit of pointless “firula“, which roughly translates as ‘showing off’ or ‘razzle dazzle’.

If fans start calling out for a “sheriff” it’s not because they are looking for security guards to escort rubbish players off the pitch. This is a term of respect for a defender who seems to be running matters and is playing more strongly than his teammates.

Likewise, a “thief” is no allusion to someone in the stadium connected to the high crime rate in many of Brazil’s big cities. It is a player who seems to appear out of nowhere to tackle the ball from an opponent.

Some more “termos do futebol brasileiro” – Brazilian football terms :-

* “Futebol arte” – the art of football, what England supporters and pundits devoutly refer to as the ‘beautiful game’. In Portuguese, this would be “o jogo bonito“!

* “Chocolate” – the same word in English and Portuguese, but pronounced differently. This is not people handing out Quality Street to struggling players in need of a glucose boost, but an expression for when a team utterly slaughters the other side. The winners have handed the losers a ‘chocolate’. A rather bitter one.

* “Salto alto” also known as the ‘high-heel shoe’. It is rather problematic to play footie with kitten heels, but this Brazilian term is in fact a playful, but painfully accurate, moniker for a side that goes into a match thinking they will own the place, only to see their high expectations crushed under the heel of a well-aimed stiletto.  Rather like anyone unfortunate enough to get on the wrong side of a party of ladettes on a Friday night in Romford.

* “Fazer cera“, this means ‘to wax’. A term for players who just dribble the ball around the pitch to pass the time and use up the extra minutes. Not an allusion to the alleged vanity of certain big names in top flight clubs.

* “Frangueiro” – the infamous ‘chicken guy’. A goalkeeper who has a hard time keeping balls out of nets. Just like a farmer trying to round up her chickens, the errant goalie is said to “tomou um frango“…take a ‘chicken’.

(c) Big Frango via ITESNE

* “Tapete” – literally ‘carpet’. This does not refer to the red carpet treatment that Brazil’s megastar footballers never tire of receiving, but refers to pitch turf which is in mint condition.

* “Drible da vaca” – a cow’s dribble. When a player runs toward an opponent and kicks the ball to one side of his opponent while running around the opponent’s other side, regaining possession of the ball again behind the opponent’s back. A very artful move and one the Brazilian national team is fond of employing. It leaves the opposing side fuming like a bull in front of a red rag…or red card.

* “Peixinho” – a small fish, like a guppy or a minnow. Not because of a player’s size, but because of his slipperiness in diving, sliding and heading the ball effortlessly into the back of the net,  while the sharks in the little pond of the pitch are caught unawares.

* “Amarelou” – to turn ‘yellow’. While Brazil’s team kit is heavy on this hue, this is nothing to do with switching sides. This term is used to describe a team that lives in such awe and respected fear of their opponent that they just cannot help but lose.

* “Na gaveta” – in the drawer. Alternatively you can say “onde a coruja dorme” (where the owl sleeps). These very peculiar quips both describe a well-aimed shot on goal that the keeper has no chance in Hell of stopping. Among British fans, it is a bit more literal “[slotting it in] the back of the net”.

* “Na banheira” – in the bathtub. This is not Neymar getting locked in the shower room after a match, but is Brazilian slang for an offside position, which no-one ever really likes. Unlike Neymar. Who is very likeable.

* “Cavar uma falta” to dig a hole – this one is for those players who just love dramatics, faking fouls, rolling over in mock pain; to deceive the referee.

* “Do meio da rua” – in the middle of the road. A shot on goal from halfway down the pitch, which seems, and often turns out to be, a futile exercise.

* “Caneta” – pen. A move where a player on the ball slides said ball between the legs of an opponent and retrieves the ball to continue onwards. In UK terms, a ‘nutmeg’. At its best when a player uses the ‘pen’ to scribble in a good aim on goal.

* “Gol relâmpago” – flash score. One of those amazing quick-fire goals that happens in the first few minutes of play and takes everyone by surprise. Brazil’s weapon of choice.

A useful glossary of terms prepared by the Wall Street Journal to help you negotiate the seemingly impenetrable Brazilian football culture and avoid dropping words like chickens while your newfound Brazilian friends think you have a tongue made of lettuce.

HEM News Agency, Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter
“‘Hey, Lettuce Hands!’ and Other Brazilian Lingo” – Hannah Karp, WSJ Europe/Wall Street Journal – Life & Culture/Dow Jones & Company, Inc. (16 June 2014)
Google Translate, Google Inc.
“File:Reactions in Brasilia to Brazil’s loss to Holland in World Cup quarterfinals 2010-07-02 2.JPG” – Elza Fiúza, Agência Brasil via Wikimedia Commons (2 July 2010)’s_loss_to_Holland_in_World_Cup_quarterfinals_2010-07-02_2.JPG
Centro de Educacao Profissional ITECNE, Itecne

FIFA WORLD CUP 2014: HEM’s unofficial guide

with Sunny Atwal (idea contributor)

(c) Wikimedia Commons

This month, the football-crazy south American nation of Brazil will play host to one of the biggest sports showdowns of modern history, the FIFA World Cup. National teams from across the globe will converge on cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre and Manaus to clash in an epic battle to decide who will lift the World Cup and be crowned the greatest footballing nation of the next four years. With the dozens of teams taking part, hundreds of thousands of loyal supporters and intrigued television viewers will converge around big screens and big stadia to take in this mega spectacle that will not only celebrate the majesty of the beautiful game but also unite cultures, creeds and colours in a festival of footballing fun that cuts across seas, oceans and international boundaries.

The FIFA 2014 World Cup begins on the 12th June (next Thursday) in Brazil, the largest nation on the South American continent. It will be the 20th tournament of the World Cup series and the initial group matches will kick-off on the 12th June. The final between the remaining two teams will take place on the 13th July. It is the second time Brazil has played host to the Cup and the country was selected by the FIFA governing body virtually unchallenged in 2007, after organisers felt South America should play host this time round. Brazil last experienced national World Cup of this magnitude over half a century ago, in 1950.

National teams of thirty-one countries will arrive in Brazil to play a total of 64 matches across twelve of its biggest cities, which will use special goal-line technology for the first time ever in a World Cup tournament. The winner of the previous tournament held in South Africa, was Spain. However the reds-and-yellows may well be unseated by either the host nation or another great South American team such as Argentina. All of the previous tournaments that were held in the continent were won by teams from it.

In the run-up to the World Cup, FIFA announced that they will be holding a series of special parties, also known as the ‘Fan Fests’ in each of the twelve cities holding the various matches. As Brazilians do enjoy a good party and are wholehearted dedicated to their football, these events are expected to be highly popular with both local and visiting fans.

The 2014 World Cup is expected to be the most expensive in history. There have been numerous charged protests by people in Brazil who felt that the country had taken too much with hosting both the Cup and the Rio Olympics, especially in the cost of building new stadia, hotels and facilities. However many others think that the money is well spent in safeguarding Brazil’s enviable place in the football world stage and that the country will financially reap the rewards from the millions of dollars in sales, sponsorships and tourism that will come in the wake of the World Cup. The Brazilian government expect costs of  $14 billion, while FIFA will spend $2 billion on staging the finals. The bill for building and renovating stadia is likely to be around $3.6 billion, including five new venues built especially for the matches. FIFA are aiming to sell 3,334,524 match tickets, of which 1.1 million will go on sale to the general public and the rest going to corporate sponsors, VIPs and FIFA personnel and team staff.

(c) Agencia Brasil/Wikimedia Commons

The distinctive trophy logo in the Brazilian flag colours of green and yellow is nicknamed ‘Inspiration’ and was created by designers with the marketing agency Africa, based in the host country. The design was based on a photograph of three victorious hands lifting the World Cup trophy to show Brazil’s warmhearted welcome to the world. FIFA’s official slogan for the tournament, which will appear along with the Inspiration logo on branded products like signage, souvenirs and tickets, will be “All in One Rhythm” (Portuguese: “Juntos num só ritmo“). The official mascot is an armadillo by the name of Fuleco. He belongs to a uniquely Brazilian subspecies of the creatures known as the ‘tatu-bola‘. When armadillos are threatened by predators they roll up into a protective ball, completely shielded by their armour of bony plates, which makes the armadillo a fitting mascot for this world-class football tournament. Fuleco’s name comes from the Portuguese words “futebol” (football) and “ecologia” (ecology), a way of combining the popularity of the sport in Brazil with the vital need to protect the nation’s unique wildlife and ecosystems. Two of the cities where matches are scheduled in located right in the middle of the Amazon rainforest – ‘the world’s lungs’.

The official World Cup 2014 stadia

(c) Wikimedia Commons
(c) Wikimedia Commons


(c) FIFA
(c) FIFA

The World Cup 2014 sites

The Official Website of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™

The Official Match Schedule for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.


The Half-Eaten Mind is officially supporting the England team for the FIFA World Cup 2014, with Brazil as the second supported team should England fail to make it to the finals. While England’s World Cup fortunes have not been as stellar as Brazil or Italy, they are a team that are at least ready to slog it out when facing the big boys. Despite last winning the World Cup in 1966, at the old Wembley Stadium, which was near London, England, we are a regular feature at tournaments. England has produced some continental-class, if not world-class players, and football is very much a religion here. We play hard, we play proud and we play with passion. Names like Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and Bobby Moore are revered by football fans not only in England, but across the world, as well as top flight English teams such as Manchester United and Arsenal.

The 2014 team blends experience with youth. Already in a previous friendly earlier this month against Peru, new player Daniel Sturridge has shown promising form, and it is hoped that Hodgson’s go-to squad of established playing talent will be strengthened and complimented by the injection of fresh blood, which will hopefully mean a faster, more possessive and ultimately more delivering England. Let’s wear those three lions with pride!!

(c) pixabay
(c) pixabay

This is the team line-up for Brazil.


Roy Hodgson


Theo Walcott

Danny Welbeck

Daniel Sturridge

Wayne Rooney

Andy Carroll

Rickie Lambert

Jermain Defoe


Leighton Baines

Ryan Bertrand

Gary Cahill

Ryan Shawcross

Kyle Walker

Ashley Cole

Chris Smalling

Phil Jones

Kieran Gibbs

Steven Taylor

Steven Caulker

Glen Johnson

Joleon Lescott

Phil Jagielka

John Terry


Frank Lampard

Steven Gerrard

James Milner

Michael Carrick

Jake Livermore

Jack Wilshere

Leon Osman

Andros Townsend

Ross Barkley

Jonjo Shelvey

Scott Parker

Ashley Young

Adam Johnson

Aaron Lennon

Raheem Sterling

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Tom Cleverley

Adam Lallana


Ben Foster

Fraser Forster

Jack Butland

Joe Hart

John Ruddy

(c) Wikimedia Commons

To round up the Half-Eaten Mind unofficial World Cup Guide, here are three football anthems, two produced especially for this year’s Cup alongside the ultimate England football song and melodious stirrer of national pride, the mighty Three Lions song.

“We Are One – [Ole Ola]” – the official World Cup song for international release. This song was performed by rapper Pitbull alongside songstress Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte. The song was released through RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. A really energetic song, infused with Brazilian passion, international flair and brimming with World Cup fever.


“The World is Ours” – the Cola-Cola WC campaign anthem. This song was sung mainly by David Correy alongside backing vocals by Rio percussion group Monobloco who also provide the samba rhythms, and was produced and written last year by Mario Caldato Jr & Rock Mafia


In homage to my country of birth and the determination, style and inspiration of those who proudly put on the shirt with the three lions badge, here is the anthem that has been sung along to by hundreds of thousands of fans since the late Nineties and which has passed into English football folklore. It is as inseparable to the English way of celebrating our team’s triumphs as big screen TVs, barbecues, cold beers and pub get-togethers.

“Three Lions ’98” – with comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner and the band The Lightning Seeds. The chart-topper was originally released by Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited in 1998.


“2014 FIFA World Cup” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“2014 FIFA World Cup marketing” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“FIFA World Cup – England” –, UEFA
“2014 FIFA World Cup” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil TM” –, FIFA
“WC-2014-Brasil” – FIFA/OAlexander, Wikimedia Commons (8 January 2011)
“Fuleco.2013” – Tânia Rêgo & RobSabino, Agência Brasil/Wikimedia Commons (17 June 2013)
“Football World Championship England World Cup” – DasWortgewand, Pixabay (5 June 2014)
“Fil:England Away Shirt 2010-2012 (crest).jpg” – The Laird of Oldham, Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons (25 March 2010)
“We Are One (Ole Ola) [The Official 2014 FIFA World Cup Song] (Olodum Mix)” – PitbullVEVO, YouTube GB (16 May 2014)
“David Correy — The World is Ours (Lyric Video): Coca-Cola’s 2014 FIFA World Cup™ Campaign Anthem” – Coca-Cola, YouTube GB (11 September 2013)
“Baddiel, Skinner & Lightning Seeds – Three Lions ’98” – LightningSeedsVEVO, YouTube GB (17 November 2012)


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FIFA WORLD CUP 2014: England qualifies for Rio

Vijay Shah (research, writing & editing)

Sunny Atwal (story contributor)

FIFA World Cup 2014 logo.
FIFA World Cup 2014 logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The England football team have made it to the FIFA World Cup next year after defeating Poland at Wembley Stadium this past Tuesday. Roy Hodgson‘s eleven are now qualified for the group draw which will be held on Friday 6th December 2013.

The decider against Poland for a place at the World Cup in Brazil saw thousands of fans, including an estimated 18,000 ticketholders who travelled in from Europe converge on one of England’s greatest shrines to the golden game.

Roy Hodgson’s side needed three points from their last qualifier to secure top spot in the Cup’s first Group H seedings after Ukraine’s 8-0 win in San Marino.

Rooney playing for England in 2006
Rooney playing for England in 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two goals were sent crashing past the Polish goalkeeper, firstly by Wayne Rooney (at the 41st minute), followed by a late clincher from captain Steven Gerrard (88′) , who safely secured England’s place in what the Sydney Morning Herald described as “a raucous, draining and utterly magnificent night”. Rooney’s spectacular back-of-the-net against the goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny – who plays for London side Arsenal – earned him the man of the match title, and a massive injection of hope for a side who had often struggled at previous World Cups since the Great Win of 1966, which ironically was also played out at Wembley. It was a beautiful performance from England, a departure from the less glowing, more cautious style of play seen in earlier qualifier matches, and a fresh hope to fire up England fans.

A standing tall performance from Joe Hart as well as good work on the flanks from Leighton Baines and Andros Townsend – two recent entrants in the national side – also deserve special mention for cementing England’s golden opportunity at one of the biggest international football tournaments going. 

Poland were no walkover. At times their counterattack was strong and caused great uncertainty for Hodgson’s boys, especially when Borussia Dortmund’s star attacker Robert Lewandowski made assaults on the English net in the first half, ruffling the feathers of England’s sometimes derided defence. Amid a sea of Polish red and white, with chants of “Polska, Polska” (Poland, Poland) overwhelmingly ringing around the stadium, England were up against some odds. Hodgson however made good on his decision to blend the talent of England’s more established stalwarts, such as Rooney, with a healthy serving of young blood, which will give much lift to England’s chances of lifting the silverware for the first time in over forty years. It certainly has been a good night for Hodgson, who had once wanted to quit football management and start a travel agency. He will now be certain to enjoy packing his bags to visit the footballing carnivals of Brazil in 2014 – and bring back a souvenir far more memorable than a pair of maracas.

Szalik pl
Szalik pl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

England’s qualifier is their thirteenth since the World Cup began last century. It will be eight months of training and preparation, before England will fly out to brand-new stadia in football-mad Rio de Janeiro. The English Football Association will give Hodgson’s boys a taste of Rio 2014 by sending Rooney and company up against Germany and minnows Australia as a distraction from the long international break as well as an opportunity for the manager to finalise his 23-man squad. 

On the group seedings to be announced on the 17th October, there will be four pots, each consisting of eight teams. The first pot will feature Brazil, who as the tournament’s hosts will feature at the World Cup automatically. The boys in green and yellow will be joined by the top seven qualifiers from FIFA’s world rankings. England however will not feature in this pot, which will possibly ease off the pressure of facing some very invincible sides and giving England a greater chance to at least reach the quarter-finals. 

Pots 2-4 will be sorted by geographic region. The main draw will take place in December in the city of Bahia and there are plans to screen it across the BBC in the United Kingdom.

World Cup organisers expect a total of 3.3 million tickets to be sold to fans and sponsor’s staff during the tournament, which opens in São Paulo on the 12th June. Already 96,780 requests for tickets have been made from England, while 70% of the total ticket sales are being carried by the home supporters in Brazil.

England itinerary

15 or 16 November Friendly v Chile, Colombia or Ecuador (Wembley)

19 November Friendly v Germany (Wembley)

5 March 2014 Friendly v Denmark (Wembley)

27 or 28 May ‘Send-off’ friendly (Wembley)

June Friendly v USA (East coast city) and Friendly v tbc (Miami). Fly to Rio de Janeiro. Based at Royal Tulip hotel. Training at Urca military base

12 June World Cup finals start

RELATED NEWS from Zemanta

“Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard book England’s passage to Rio 2014” – Henry Winter, The Telegraph, London,/The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media (16 October 2013) LINK
“World Cup 2014: All you need to know about Brazil finals” , BBC Sport World Cup (16 October 2013) LINK
“England 2 0 Poland” – Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Football (15 October 2013) LINK
“2014 World Cup: First-class Roy Hodgson, who could have been a travel agent, deserves his trip to Brazil” – Sam Wallace, The Independent (17 October 2013) LINK