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Adam Walker 9th Jun 2014 - 6:59

City of Hod - Glenn Hoddle's blog

 

The former England Manager and Spurs legend Glenn Hoddle writes an exclusive blog for williamhill.com while he is in Brazil as part of the star-studded ITV team for the World Cup.

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Its farewell Miami and Hello Rio!

 

The weather picked up in Miami after a horrible start, so it was good to see blue skies you would normally associate with Florida, and for the players to get even closer to the heat and humidity they will experience in Manaus on Saturday.

 

Then came the final warm up game on Saturday - I don't think I've seen anything like the electric storm that caused the 40-minute hold up in the Honduras game.

 

During the delay, Adrian Chiles and all of our crew plus the ITV pundits Lee Dixon, Ian Wright and myself, relocated from pitch side to a backstage area, where we were all wilting under the extreme heat and humidity.

 

I'm told former Southampton striker Kevin Davies tweeted: 'My old boss Mr Hoddle looking hot and bothered in Miami.'  Yep, dead right we were sweating profusely alright Kevin. I thought it was hilarious when Adrian, still live on TV, asked for the air conditioning to be tuned up because 'we are expiring in here'.

 

When the game resumed after a delay, he signed by saying he was off to find a dry cleaners.  We all were!

 

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Heading off to Rio, I'm looking forward to the World Cup finals at long last back in Brazil, the game's spiritual home.  The England players have a lovely beach-side location, but there have been some disturbing stories about their team hotel.

 

It amused me when I read about the problems with hygiene and food past its sell by date in the hotels of both England and Italy.  Rio's Royal Tulip Hotel is England's hotel HQ where 2.5kg of food - including butter, salmon and Parma ham - were seized by Procon, a Brazilian consumer protection agency.

 

The Italian hotel, 60 miles out of Rio, suffered a similar problem with 25kg of seafood and margarine past its sell by date plus another 24kg of meat, sauces, cheese and sugar had no date at all!

 

Of course, both teams have their own nutritionists, chefs and import their own food. The players' menus are carefully prepared - but the game has STILL been riddled with some bad food poisoning episodes.

 

The classic was the mystery stomach bug that afflicted Gordon Banks on the eve of the quarter-final tie with West Germany in 1970 when Peter Bonetti deputised and was criticised for a bad mistake.  Or the  Lasagne that destroyed Spurs' chances of the Champions League when they played West Ham in 2006.

 

I recall as a Spurs player going to Syria for an end of season tournament.  Our squad was so affected by food poisoning we only had nine fit players; Pat Jennings played right back, and our physio Mike Varney got a game.  Needless to say we finished last in...

 

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Roy Keane quit the ITV World Cup team to pursue his coaching career before I had even got the chance to work with him.  Real shame.  I heard he was a big Spurs fan as a boy, and I was one of his favourite players. Good luck to him.

 

I haven't deliberately taking over his mantel of disagreeing with all the other pundits, but Lee Dixon, Ian Wright and Andy Townsend thought Raheem Sterling was harshly treated with his red card for his tackle on Valencia, which meant he missed out on the final warm up game against Honduras where he would have pushed hard to cement a starting place against Italy.

 

My point was simple; any referee in the World Cup finals would have done exactly the same.  It was a rash challenge - it looked a little over the top.

 

I think Valencia thought Sterling was trying to 'do him'.

 

This has caused Roy Hodgson a major headache.  He would certainly have thought about starting him on Saturday with a view to playing him against Italy.  Now Roy is going to worry about how much he can now trust Sterling.

 

The thought of going down to 10-men against Italy doesn't bear thinking, about especially when the game in Manaus will be won or lost in the final 20 minutes when fatigue sets in the question for the England manager now is whether he can take the risk with Sterling against the wily Italians...

 

Goalkeepers won't win a World Cup tie, but they just might win a tournament.  Joe Hart is going to have to be one of the best goalkeepers in this World Cup if England are going to progress further than most people expect.

 

There are many better attacking teams than England - right from the opening tie against Italy with their No 9 Mario Balotelli. Joe Hart is going to be pretty busy and could well be the focal point of the England team.

 

He had little to do on Saturday, but he looked alert and sharp against Peru at Wembley despite having long spells totally out of the game.

 

That is a sign of a goalkeeper in top form. He's come through his wobble mid-season a much more focused individual. That will be absolutely vital if England stand any chance in Brazil.

 

English football used to be blessed with world class keepers; Gordon Banks, Peter Shilton, Ray Clemence, David Seaman...

 

Joe is head and shoulders - pardon the pun! - ahead of the rest and a player Roy cannot do without in Brazil.

 

You would think Fabio Capello was astute enough to know how important the goalkeeping position was to England, yet he didn't make up his mind until the very last minute out in South Africa and went with Rob Green with dire consequences.

 

But Roy Hodgson is wily and experienced enough to make his mind up pretty early that Joe was his No1 and he didn't waiver form that belief even when he was going through a ropey patch at Manchester City.

 

Hart is back motivated and fresh to prove a point - and that could prove very good for England over the next few weeks.

 

 

 
 
 

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