Does anyone seriously believe the Germans have a hope in tonight's semi-final against the hosts. I say it again, the victors were decided the moment "Brazil" was pulled out of the envelope. Nothing has happened since the shockingly-refereed opener against Croatia to suggest that FIFA and the officials are anything other than complicit in ensuring a Brazilian World Cup triumph — for political reasons as much as sporting. Watch that linesman's flag shoot up every time Germany mount an attack!
So... FIFA have privately relaxed their ban on Luis Suarez. How's that for taking a moral stand, eh? I'm fed up with critics frothing over how this is the best World Cup ever. I disagree. It is the one in which diving, formerly an occasional nefarious tactic by the likes of Suarez and Robben, has been anointed as an accepted facet of the game in every area of the pitch to be employed at every opportunity. Indeed, it is quite rare now for any kind of tackle to be made without the other party going down writhing. No wonder we all thought Neymar was crying wolf. Football is fast on the way to becoming a non-contact sport (something Platini always wanted) — except, curiously, at corners, where you can pull shirts and manhandle people to the floor like first-footers in the Boxing Day sales. It is turning part pantomime, part WWF, especially given what many now suspect about match-rigging (they quashed that Cameroon scandal pretty quickly, didn't they?).
And still the curse of the penalty kick. Two semis and a final to go. How many will be decided on pens? Two if not three. Quite possibly the third/fourth place play-off, too. Why do they still bother with that game?