Rooney fears for England place: Wayne Rooney has conceded that he is facing a battle to keep his place the England team, report the Times. Rooney was asked at a press conference if he felt his position in the team was guaranteed. A little irked, the Manchester United man snapped: “Why would I feel my place in the team is guaranteed? I work hard to try and get into that team. I have never said my place is guaranteed. I don’t expect to play, but I work hard. I want to play. We have got a lot of good young players so we will all work hard. We all give the manager different options, different choices, and whoever he picks then I am sure we will all respect that.” These quotes have led numerous publications to suggest that Rooney feels his place is under threat. The Times report that " the emergence of Raheem Sterling has left him needing to work harder than ever to justify his inclusion."
Paper Round’s view: This is a bit of a non-story. Basically Rooney was asked a loaded question and provided a diplomatic answer. The obsession with Rooney could actually end up derailing England’s World Cup campaign. Against Italy he was not at his best but was not as bad as some have made out. He should certainly start for England and the rest is just conjecture.
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Suarez not yet the finished article: England boss Roy Hodgson believes that Luis Suarez still has work to do to be considered a great, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph. Hodgson believes that to be spoken of in the same breath as players such as Pele and Diego Maradona then the Uruguayan needs to have a stand out World Cup.
Paper Round’s view: In isolation, the comment could be seen as a slight on the Uruguayan but, with context, these comments are fair and balanced. In fact, the fact that Hodgson is referencing Pele and Maradona when speaking of Suarez is actually a huge compliment. However, these comments - if taken out of context - could serve as further motivation for the Liverpool player and the timing from the England manager is not great. Only time will tell!
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And this is how the nation's papers reacted to the fourth day of the 2014 World Cup – with Lionel Messi dominating.
Matt Hughes in the Times: For those of us fortunate enough to be at the Maracana last night, the prospect of returning to this most imposing of stadiums for a dream final between Brazil and Argentina next month became more tantilising. Yet, for long periods, it also seemed slightly more remote. A wonderful solo goal from Lionel Messi will have increased the hopes of his expectant nation — and the fears of Argentina’s opponents as the talisman finally threatens to make his mark on the biggest stage of all — but it ultimately added gloss to a display that had been distinctly patchy.
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Miguel Delaney in the Independent: Argentina took over the Maracana and Lionel Messi eventually took command of the stage last night as Argentina defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-1. The victory may well be the initial step on the way to Argentina winning the World Cup for what would be the first time in 28 years. It was Messi who completed the win with a brilliant strike, but Argentina still have work to do to fine-tune their team. The experiment with a new formation did not work, and they were made to work very hard. The somewhat laboured display for much of the match, however, was at odds with their lightning beginning.
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Oliver Holt in the Mirror: Lionel Messi hijacked Brazil's World Cup party last night as Argentina colonised the Maracana. After a tentative start, Messi scored a second half wonder goal to drag his team to an unconvincing 2-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina and send his countrymen wild at the home of their greatest rivals. Messi is up and running now. His quest to confirm his greatness by winning the World Cup for his country is under way.
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Amy Lawrence in the Guardian: The longer the game went on, the more Karim Benzema began to enjoy the experience, and when he scored again with a rasping drive from a sharp angle he gave notice of his intention to make a striking statement in Brazil. He was not selected for the 2010 World Cup – which in hindsight turned out to be no bad thing. His stock for country and club, where he is the valued Real Madrid attacking pivot around whom Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale roam free, has never been so high.
- Sports & Recreation
- Wayne Rooney
- Lionel Messi