More importantly, yesterday's England performance...?! Wow, that was abject. I've lived through some dreadful England performances but that was properly excruciating.
The xenophobic hacks in the tabloids will, no doubt, try to hang this one round the Italian coach's neck and it is true that as leader he must shoulder his fair share of the blame. Others will trot out the, "paid too much to care" argument which is equally fatuous. We are all complicit in their salaries by watching the game and paying our Sky Sports subscriptions; in the same way that by buying Heat or other seminal weekly publications, we have made millionaires out of Peter Andre and his ilk.
Talking to my FD (a former semi-professional footballer) the other week about football in general, I learned that in Germany you are not allowed to sign a professional contract until you are 18 and there is strong encouragement to complete your education, which is largely absent in the UK. I wondered if there is a learning element to our recent failure.
I have nothing to substantiate the following assertion but from the level of punditry from former German and French international players I get the impression that the average level of education is significantly higher in continental European players. Jurgen Klinsmann, Marcel Desailly appear to have a more profound understanding of the tactics, systems and psychology of the game than their English counterparts. This is quite probable given the comparative levels of general education revealed by the latest OECD figures
I wondered if you make it manditory for every premier league team (and possibly championship depending on the finance) to get all of its players to a level three qualification at a minimum before they can sign a contract, would it make an impact over the long term?
You can't blame the footballers choosing sport over school. Football is a route out of poverty and many of them will have had awful experiences of formal schooling and can't wait to get out. But there is more than enough money at the top of the sport to pay for specialist tutors and more than enough subject areas to interest even the most jaded learning palate.
Getting more of these people to a level three qualification might engender more former footballers able to pass the FA coaching certificates and perhaps more home grown managers. But it might also develop a team of England players whose conceptual understanding of the game is a little more developed than, blood and thunder, thud and blunder.
Or maybe I should just take to following England at darts...