World of Sport

World Paper Round: Heskey to start as England called to “Spank the Yanks”

World of Sport

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In the screaming pages of today's UK popular press, it is all about England, England and if there is room to cram another little morsel or two in there, let's have some more England.

In good old tabloid parlance, this is a day to "Spank the Yanks", as the erudite Daily Star so eloquently puts it on their front page.

Steven Gerrard is plastered across the pages of several organs about to be swallowed up by a flag of St George, Fabio Capello discusses his "dream" of winning the tournament and Joe Cole claims serial penalty misser Frank Lampard won't wilt if he is put on the spot. You get the general picture.

England begin their quest to win the trophy for the first time since 1966 against the USA tonight - Capello says he knows his starting side and most of the Red tops think they do as well.

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They all agree that Emile Heskey, who only played 13 minutes in the warm-up games against Japan and Mexico, will partner Wayne Rooney in attack.

The Sun claim that James Milner will play to provide extra defensive cover for the roving Gerrard and Lampard.

Only yesterday it was widely reported that the stomach bug that had ruled the Aston Villa man out of training would deny him a World Cup debut.

But the flag-waving Sun, never a newspaper to hide its light under a bushel on such feverish, nationalistic days, back it up by saying that Joe Cole will be given the nod if Milner is not fit. 

The Mirror adds that Michael Carrick is likely to be given an "unlikely call-up" in midfield if Milner is not fit. Nothing like sticking your neck out.

And no-one has a clue who will play in goal.

The ongoing Manchester United defender and part-time columnist Gary Neville looks a bit gaunt in The Times, but he is fairly forthright in his views about how England can rustle up a win in Rustenburg.

"When it comes to the team, Fabio Capello keep his cards close, but we should go 4-4-2. And whatever people say about Emile Heskey's lack of goals, I would pick him to lead the line," opines Neville. Heskey has seven goals from 58 tries in an England shirt which suggests that as a striker he may be as useful as carrying a blunt tin opener to a sword fight. Neville also poignantly wanders off downhill to reminisce about the time England beat Germany 5-1 some nine years ago.

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The Daily Mail's chief sportswriter Martin Samuel seems to get lost in the morass of hyperbole. He is perched in Africa, but could easily be meandering through England's green and pleasant lands this morning. Under a wardrobe-sized headline "There is no need to keep hiding away, England..this is YOUR moment", Samuel gets stuck into the theme of the day.

"Even if Capello remains manager until the 2012 European Championships, it will never be this way again, with this generation of players, this manager, this opportunity. This is it, this is our chance," he writes.

The Mail man can hardly be blamed for getting caught up in the fervour because even the broadsheets join in. No excuses are needed on such days. The Independent brings new meaning to their newspaper's title with a slightly worrying headline.

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"15 million Britons to see tonight's match on TV. National Grid braced for 1,100-megawatt power surge."

But it also adds: "Reaching final could boost UK economy by £2bn." In times of recession, such an outcome may prove soothing, even if the much-maligned Heskey does sneak into Capello's 4-4-2 thoughts.

The drawn matches between South Africa and Mexico or France and Uruguay already seem like a distant memory in Blighty but not of course for the countries involved.

South Africa's Star leads with the headline 'Ayoba, Mzansi!' - Sowetan slang for Hello South Africa!

"If a hard beginning makes a good ending, then South Africa have experienced the hardest, weirdest and perhaps the best of starts to a World Cup that means so much more to a nation and a continent than mere sport," says the editorial.

In France, L'Equipe is predictably downbeat after their goalless draw against Uruguay.

"Such a start doesn't deserve much noise. Les Bleus weren't bad, they were poor. They had the ball, they pushed hard at the end of the game but created no chances to score. They pressed but with no flair, and no lucidity," wrote columnist Vincent Duluc.

"Gallas and Abidal did the job in front of fast moving Forlan and Suarez. Domenech decided to play with three midfielders behind one forward, and that meant Malouda out. And Domenech was wrong about that. Others, Ribéry, Gourcuff and Anelka didn't show up."

 

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