Early Doors

Pressing the flesh

Early Doors

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Eyes right for a shameless ogle at the streakers who interrupted Italy's Euro 2008 training as part of a stunt for TV.

See, this is the kind of fun we're missing out on thanks to that idiot McClaren. Think about it when tonight's meaningless friendly trudges into its 74th soul-crushing minute.

Yes, Early Doors knows this supposed 'news' is two days old, but frankly it was either this or another picture of John Terry crying.

Marianne Puglia, the one in the foreground, is very much the Guardian reader's bit of crumpet, having represented Venezuela in the Miss Earth contest in 2006.

Miss Earth, as you know, is a beauty pageant with a difference, combining awareness of green issues with the traditional gawping at semi-naked ladies.

Having blown their budget on the lovely Marianne, the TV company hired a run-of-the-mill stripper in jeans to accompany her.

Imagine the commotion it would have caused among the England players, raised on a solid diet of so-called Kent stunnas.

Training would have stopped as the assorted Ashleys, Waynes and Jermains got on tippy-toes to ask the statuesque Miss Puglia out for a night of Bacardi Breezers, R 'n' B and a horribly brief fumble in the taxi home.

But the Italians remained completely nonplussed, presumably safe in the knowledge that they can find a host of similarly gifted females in any exclusive Milanese nightspot.

For more on this story in video form, CLICK THIS FORBIDDEN LINK OF DEPRAVITY!

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With that shameless exercise in dumbing down out of the way, Early Doors can focus on the important issues, such as Fabio Capello's views on crying.

Don Fabio controversially sided against SAS loudmouth Andy McNab by saying it was OK for men to shed a tear, just as long as they didn't do an Oliver McCall and break down on the job.

Capello even let his mask of inscrutability slip just a fraction of a millimetre by admitting: "Yes, I cried once in a private situation." Baby.

Early Doors could be moved to tears of boredom this evening, with a knackered England side set to play with even less enthusiasm than usual in the nothingest of nothing games.

Still, at least David Beckham should feel at home, playing on the same pitch as Landon Donovan in front of an uninterested and ill-informed crowd.

All Wembley needs to complete the effect is those infamous NFL markings back.

On an equally vital note, nearly everyone had something to say about the standard of Capello's English following yesterday's news conference. Here's a cut-out-and-keep guide to how the papers called it (ED thought it sounded like an Italian man speaking English):

Star: 'Makes sense'

Mirror: 'Faltering'

Sun: 'Fab'

Times: 'Bene'

Guardian: Too cosmopolitan to notice

Mail: 'Fluent yet worrying'

Express: 'Four months late'

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With real news at a premium, various people are pointing out that there are not many English players in the Premier League any more.

Apparently, the 170 Englishmen who laced up for action this season was the lowest number ever and this, of course, spells disaster for Capello and the England team.

Excuse Early Doors if it begs to differ. It stands to reason that these 170 English players are the best available, right?

So increasing the pool to, say, 500, wouldn't make any difference because the extra 330 would all be rubbish. As, it must be said, are many of the Englishmen who already get a game.

Capello only needs 23 blokes to make a squad, plus another few to compete for places, so in reality he has a wealth of options.

As long as Darren Moore is able to get regular football in the top flight, Early Doors doesn't think England have too much to worry about.

In any case, all this talk of decline begs the question: decline from what? England are not really any better or worse now than at any time in the last 40 years, a time marked by their consistent failure to live up to their own billing.

And you can hardly blame foreigners for the Three Lions' failure to qualify for the 1974 or 1978 World Cups (unless you count Jan Tomaszewski).

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Nobody has brought it up," UEFA mouthpiece William Gaillard shows off his punning skills with the announcement that John Terry will not face action either for spitting at or blowing snot on Carlos Tevez, because United's view was obscured by floods of pre-emptive tears.

FOREIGN VIEW: Marca has become so Cristiano Ronaldo-obsessed that it is even taking the mickey out of itself. For the first time in eons, Ronaldo does not appear on the front page (some Euro 2008 nonsense instead), apart from a short note saying: "Stuff about Cristiano is on the back page today."

TALKING POINT: As artistic genius goes, it might not match THIS, but zerosofinfinity's Dylan-esque verse tickled ED:

Oh Dear John Terry,
Misses His Penalty,
Got Some Sympathy,
From Gordan Browny,
But Don't Be Jolly,
Because He's A Wally.

Today - what will you be doing to make the England game more watchable?

COMING UP: There's live coverage of England v USA from 8.05pm, while in the meantime we will bring you plenty of build-up plus the usual batch of Spurs-infused half-truths that is Transfer Talk.

Oh, and ED is contractually obliged to say 'play our Fantasy Euro 2008 game'. Actually, you should. It'll be fun.

Plus ED can pretty much guarantee some non-news about the next Chelsea manager and something on Ronaldo (the good one, not the fat one).

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