England's loss to Uruguay on Thursday night has put them on the brink of going out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Many fans woke up this morning bemoaning the fact that Uruguay captain Diego Godin should have been sent off for a second yellow during the first half whilst the score was at 0-0.
The fact is, he should have been. But why wasn't he?
Godin had earlier been booked for a deliberate handball when Daniel Sturridge attempted a through ball to Wayne Rooney. He then caught Sturridge in the neck as he looked to get onto the end of a Rooney pass but managed to avoid being dismissed. If Uruguay went down to 10 men at that stage of the match it would be hard to see England not go on to win the match.
What was astonishing though was the naivety of the England players to not raise the issue with referee Carlos Velasco Carballo. You see it all the time in modern football with players surrounding the referee asking for an opponent to get booked or the victim of the foul rolling around on the floor. It's not nice to see. But neither is watching your country crash out of a World Cup.
If it was any other country a lot more fuss would have been made by the players to get Godin sent off. It's not cheating because the fact is that he should have been sent off. It's just letting the referee know that is the case. Putting a bit of pressure on him to make the right decision instead of allowing him to give Godin a final warning.
Even if he doesn't produce the second yellow after the players surrounding him, it will plant a seed in his head so that he'll be thinking 'Should I have sent him off there?' But England let the referee make the decision without questioning him at all. Even Sturridge, who should have made a lot more of it, got up straight away and shook hands with the Atletico Madrid defender.
Germany's Thomas Muller got criticised when he made the most of Pepe's failing arm which eventually resulted in the Portuguese defender being sent off. Many English pundits and fans argued that Muller had made a meal of it. He did. But he wasn't cheating.
He just made sure the ref knew that there had been contact. I wonder what the German fans think of Muller. A cheat? No chance. They're praising him for getting Pepe sent off which saw them go on and coast to a 4-0 victory.
It's part of the game these days. Like it or not. Long gone are the days of playing in a gentlemanly nature. The prize of victory is so great that players will do anything to win. So why don't England? Why are we the only nation that pride ourselves on not playing dirty? It's not cheating, it's being street smart. Until we learn to win the ugly way, we won't be winning at all.
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