World Cup heaven and hell: The Germans have it spot on — England must follow

World Cup heaven and hell
World Cup heaven and hell
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Five days before the Germans dismantled the Brazilians.

Five days before Müller fired the Germans in front.

Five days before Klose broke Ronaldo’s record.

Five days before the greatest humiliation in World Cup history.

Five days before, Bury Town youth coach — and former director of football — Trevor Collins emailed me with a rant.

It was a rant about all that was wrong with the English game, what we did wrong after a disastrous Euro 2000 and what we continue to do wrong to this day.

But, five days before Brazil 1 Germany 7, it could have read as everything the Germans did right, rather than just what England did wrong, since their own despair at those Euros.

It stretched to 1,721 words — a standard Free Press page holds roughly 1,300 — but as we witnessed Müller, Klose, Kroos et al tear the greatest footballing nation in the history of the game apart, every single one of those words from five days before rang true.

Five days before, he described England as the ‘pantomime horse’ of the World Cup and says it is the German model we most follow if we ever hope to return to former glories (well, 1966).

Five days before, he goes on to say: “They invested in youth development, they implemented guidelines to the German teams that there must be more work put into developing youth, that Germany must produce better quality players.”

Collins is one man at one club in this nation, he — nor any single coach or parent — can do it on his own.

The FA must act, act now and act at the bottom of the game, not the top.

Read Collins’ full rant online at


Even if you have no interest in the World Cup, you cannot avoid seeing some of it.

I suppose I’ve seen about three minutes of play and the thing that impressed me most about it was the colours of their boots.

I was expecting boot-coloured boots. When my school forced me to own football boots, they were always black and white, but now they are vivid fluorescent yellow, orange, pink and green.

I’m told some players even wear a different-coloured boot on each foot.

Presumably, this helps them tell left from right, as in: “I’m playing pink-back today.”

Seriously, a riding instructor once told me of a pupil who could not tell left from right so she wore Disney gloves and the instructor would shout ‘turn Goofy’.

But you have to ask why footballers need high-vis boots.

Unless it suddenly turns very foggy or the floodlights fail, seeing players on the pitch is not usually a problem.

They are not at risk of being run over by some 85-year-old with failing eyesight who should have stopped driving 10 years ago.

Now, this begs the question, if sportswear manufacturers can persuade footballers that high-vis footwear is a fashion item, why can’t they do the same with clothing and equipment for activities where there is a risk from not being seen?

Convince fans that if they want to cycle like Laura Trott or run like Mo Farah, they need to wear the same Dayglo shoes, hats and vests as them.

In fact, push it as high fashion and only do the kit in high-vis colours, then we will all see the dawn and dusk joggers, riders and cyclists and if we don’t, air ambulance crews will more quickly find them out in the countryside.