Brazil 2014: England vs Italy – let battle commence

Jake flies the flag
Jake flies the flag

In common with Pete Sixsmith, writing here the the other day, I genuinely like Roy Hodgson and that makes it easier to care more about England than has often been the case. International football never rivals club football – my club that is – in terms of emotional commitment.

But England play late tonight, the opener against Italy, and they carry my fervent best wishes for a great start.

Forget that the USA have been voted our honorary second team – the poll remains open throughout the World Cup but more than 100 of votes cast have so far gone to Jozy and his colleagues, with Uruguay and Belgium a long way behind.

Until they depart from the competition, which we hope will come only when the last ball is kicked in the final and Steven Gerrard is holding the Jules Rimet trophy aloft, Salut! Sunderland supports England.

I am not sure whether I will be able to post quickly after tonight’s match. If I do not, and nothing appears from co-editors with direct access (Malcolm Dawson, John MCormick or Nice Wiseman, or indeed the Wise Men Say podcasters Steve Goldsmith and Gareth Barker), regard this as the place to come to leave comments of your own.

It’s fair to say I have not been knocked off my feet by the stampede of contributors pledging to write about the tournament as it progresses. If you feel you can help fill the gaps, drop me a line at

On Monday we’ll keep an eye out for the USA’s first game, against Ghana. When it comes to Jozy versus Asamoah, there’s only one choice to be made.

Jake scratches his head at our readers' choice
Jake scratches his head at our readers’ choice
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