Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

All quiet on the England front

Lack of distractions a victory for 3 Lions

  • Print

Listen carefully. If you don't make a sound you just might hear it. Or not.

That's the thing with silence. It's an absence, not a noise. The way white is not a colour. With their World Cup opener scheduled for today, the England football team is an absence of colour and sound.

How refreshing.

Typically, with a major, international campaign about to get underway, the commotion coming out of the England camp would be unbearable. This player or that would be making audacious predictions; the domestic press corps would be writing home about beckoning history, referencing 1966 as some sort of holy year, a pilgrimage of memory. There would be an almighty clamour.

Not this time.

Since landing in Brazil via Miami, the England players and coaches have been models of serenity, and the reporters dispatched to cover them have picked up on the unexpectedly tranquil vibe.

"Refreshingly different" was how Luke Edwards described the Three Lions in the Telegraph, adding "this appears to be the first national squad in years to have become genuinely popular in the eyes of the public."

An infusion of youth has had something to do with that, as have restrained expectations. It's all combined to create, as left-back Leighton Baines told the Football Association's official website on Friday, "as good a group as there's been" during his time as an international.

Even manager Roy Hodgson, who went for a walk on the beach during the week, has warned against over-confidence.

"I must advise caution," he remarked ahead of this afternoon's match against Italy. But, he continued, "I'm not trying to play down the fact that the future looks quite bright and there are interesting times ahead."

Those times are still some ways off in the distance--or at least likely to arrive after this World Cup rather than during it.

For now there is simply quiet, which for England is its own kind of victory.

Just listen.


Spot kicks

Italy is expected to be without AC Milan full-back Mattia De Sciglio against England. The 21-year-old has a thigh injury, which means Azzurri manager Cesare Prandelli could move Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini to the left. England boss Roy Hodgson will not have the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at his disposal, although Danny Welbeck (thigh) could be fit in time for kick-off.

The pitch in Manaus was so dry ahead of England-Italy that stadium officials opted to spray-paint the grass in order to hide the dry patches. The heat and humidity will likely see the match in the Amazon port city take on flat tempo, and substitutions could have an especially vital role as a result.

Daley Blind enjoyed a breakout, international performance on Friday. The versatile Ajax man, who can also play as a deep-lying midfielder, was used as a wing-back for the Netherlands against Spain and set up spectacular goals by Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben.

The offside rule has already become a subject of controversy at the World Cup, with several goals incorrectly disallowed by officials. Incidentally, this is the first World Cup to feature goal-line technology. The next one, or more likely the one after that, could see the introduction of a robust video replay system.

Demonstrations continue to take place throughout Brazil, although for the time being many protesters have found a unique balance between their calls for social progress and supporting the Selecao--as we saw during last summer's Confederations Cup. All that could change, however, if Brazil go out of the tournament before the final. It is, as they say, "ouito ou oitenta." Eight or eighty. It's one extreme or the other.

Twitter @JerradPeters

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 14, 2014 C4

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Key of Bart - Four Little Games

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A mother goose has chosen a rather busy spot to nest her eggs- in the parking lot of St Vital Centre on a boulevard. Countless cars buzz by and people have begun to bring it food.-Goose Challenge Day 06 - May 08, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060711 Chris Pedersen breeds Monarch butterflies in his back yard in East Selkirk watching as it transforms from the Larva or caterpillar through the Chrysalis stage to an adult Monarch. Here an adult Monarch within an hour of it emerging from the Chrysalis which can be seen underneath it.

View More Gallery Photos


Are you concerned about the number of homicides so far this year?

View Results

Ads by Google