But you may have missed the story that surely encapsulates the agony of a football-loving people and which lays open the catastrophe that will forever define a lost generation. Courtesy of The Guardian's Jonathan Watts writing from Rio de Janiero, we learn of the sickening consequences in the favela of Rocinha:
One of their neighbours, Vinicius Patricinio, 14, was so frustrated he ripped up his Panini World Cup sticker album and refused to go to school.My knees knocked, my tongue clave to the roof of my mouth and the room seemed to grow dim and swim about me as I read that fateful sentence. Fortunately, I managed to conceal this from Mrs. Commuter who was across me at the breakfast table for she is a sensitive lady and might have suffered a fit of the vapours had I revealed but one tenth of the ghastliness unmasked by the intrepid reporter. A boy ripped his sticker book. Surely, oh Great God, surely such things cannot be. The minds of mortal men are not sufficient to encompass such horrors. And missed school as well. Even though it was double Physics with Sr. de Gama, his favourite subject, and there would be pink blancmange for lunch. Even though Augusto Plebius had faithfully sworn to pay back the 2 reals he had borrowed last week to buy iced buns at the tuck shop. This plucky boy, wise beyond his years, had dared to do what no grown man would do. Hold your heads in shame, Oscar and Fred, Hulk and Julio Cesar. [er, these are real names, aren't they? You're not making them up?: Ed] For it has come to this. Too late to say "If only we had known". The voice of youth has spoken and it has condemned.
Will England learn the lessons of Rocinha (or is that the lessons missed in Rocinha?). For there can be no going back. It is time to take a stand. The next time England lose a game, I vow, following the inspirational example of our leader Vinny (Well, I don't know how to pronounce 'Vinicius' ) to refuse to eat my greens, to stamp my feet when asked to tidy up my room and to be extremely cross. Rooney & Co, you have been warned.