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Weekend reading: England’s dreaming

Weekend reading

My Saturday musings, followed by the week’s links.

Anyone who doubts the power of mental belief only needed to witness England’s dire performance against Algeria in the World Cup last night to have their preconceptions tested.

In Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard, and Cole, England boasts players the equal of any in the world. The rest of the squad is rich in talent, too, even after all the injuries.

Yet England still doesn’t have a team.

Last night they played like ingenues, or worse – like terrified players from some totalitarian state who feared missing a shot or a tackle would result in a penalty shoot-out back home.

As Gareth Southgate put it: “They look haunted wearing an England shirt.”

I don’t watch football routinely but I always watch the World Cup. It’s a cliche, but in these tournaments sport transcends its technicalities to become mythic.

The story of England’s World Cup 2010 expedition may continue with a victory against Slovenia on Wednesday. But only a decisive victory will rewrite the myth sufficiently to take England towards the finals.

Best of the blogs

The mainstream press

  • Emerging Africa – The Economist
  • Taxing carbon: Worth a go – The Economist
  • Stephanomics: Public sector pensions – BBC
  • Are you delusional about your investments? – MoneyWatch
  • Risk weakens case for corporate bonds – FT
  • Income alternatives to BP shares – FT
  • Merryn Somerset-Webb’s budget hopes – FT
  • How to beat the annuity trap – The Telegraph
  • Homeowners not over-paying on their mortgages – The Telegraph
  • A 10-year, 4.99% fixed mortgage [I’d be tempted]The Independent
  • 2nd class treatment of old [typical OAP PR job]The Independent
  • More women investors [Another flawed article]The Guardian
  • David Shaw: Quant pioneer extraordinaire – The Motley Fool
  • 11 [US] brands that will disappear in 2011 – Huffington Post

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • 1 Financial Samurai June 19, 2010, 2:29 pm

    Can you do me a favor? Can you total up the rough annual income of the England team? I’d LOVE to know this to see how much it costs to go 1-1 vs. the US and 0-0 vs. Algeria.

    Also, is it just POSSIBLE that the English players are actually overrated? That just b/c they are English, they get a premium bias? Just like when people say you are an American soccer player, there is a discount??

    Seriously, any OBJECTIVE observer who knows little about soccer and just watches England will think they are VERY mediocre. Rooney for example is short and slow and ineffective. Lampard looks excellent.
    .-= Financial Samurai on: The Reply Button Is There For A Reason =-.

  • 2 The Investor June 19, 2010, 2:41 pm

    Hmm, interesting idea Sam – I’ll see if I can get the data!

    Rooney is fabulous, probably one of the top three strikers in the world (certainly Messi is the best). He was named footballer of the year last month, up against lots of international competition.

    Rooney’s current troubles are three-fold. First he’s carrying an injury. Secondly, Manchester United is built around supplying and supporting him, whereas our manager is playing him in an slightly weird role, for him. Finally, he has mental issues. He has never done very well playing for England, and he’s a bit of an emotional cauldron.

    Have a look at England’s qualifying run to see the team playing properly. E.g. Their final match-ups saw them beat Croatia – a good side – 4-0 and 5-1.

    They have some sort of mental breakdown going on. It’s fascinating for the likes of you and I, who believe in the power of the mind, I think?

  • 3 Arohan June 19, 2010, 2:58 pm

    Sam, the English players do well for their clubs, don’t they? Presumably that is where over 90% of their annual income comes from. What would be interesting is to see how comparatively “underpaid” they are playing for England (as compared to their clubs) and whether that has any effect on their performance.
    .-= Arohan on: Will it Really Cost You $222,360 to Raise Your Child? =-.

  • 4 Financial Samurai June 19, 2010, 3:55 pm

    All I know is that if you’re playing for your country, you STEP UP! And if you make millions a year, and are considered the best in the world, you STEP UP and show your country you are a fighter and deserve the money you make.

    It’s like Team USA in basketball…. nothing less than gold this past olypics was acceptable, and that’s what the USA did.

    Try and be objective guys! RESULTS speak louder than words.
    .-= Financial Samurai on: Oops! The World Is Coming To An End! =-.

  • 5 ElFozzie June 19, 2010, 6:36 pm

    I think it’s fair to say that most England player’s stock has been considerably over-rated in the last few years. Their value on the foreign markets is particularly telling, whilst Ronaldo, Kaka, Messi and co. manage to succeed across national boundaries, an audit of of Englishmen in the leading foreign leagues wouldn’t prove exactly taxing.
    Obviously the ludicrous salaries in the premier league can explain this in part, but when the equally flush Madrileno’s and Milano’s come calling, it’s not Lampard and Ferdinand on their shopping list.

    Collectively England’s performance was below expectations certainly, but individually they’ve been over-rated for years – time to downgrade to a sell?
    .-= ElFozzie on: Developers World Championship: Match Report – Argentina v South Korea (Group B) =-.

  • 6 OldPro June 20, 2010, 12:20 pm

    Out come Ye English Bashers…. no wonder the team play like frightened rabbits… no native unconditional love… even Italy stood by the Azzuri (sp?) after those showboats drew. Being a millionaire doesn’t make it any easier to play on the big stage. Yes they ought to rise to the occasion but as investor wrote the wonder is why?

  • 7 The Investor June 20, 2010, 7:51 pm

    @OldPro – ElFozzie’s points are fair enough, I don’t think England deserve universal acclaim. If they play badly, they played badly. The issue is *why* the played badly, as you say. It is a bit short-sighted to my mind to just say these great players are all suddenly rubbish because of a terrible team performance.

    So many big European teams are turning in mixed performances in this World Cup (France, England, Italy, Spain, even Germany) I wonder if it’s an issue with the ball or similar leveling the playing field?!

  • 8 Financial Samurai June 22, 2010, 5:57 am

    Oh sure, blame the ball!
    .-= Financial Samurai on: Staying Calm Under Pressure =-.

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