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Time to face harsh truths.

Byline: BRIAN READE

CAN we hand out white sticks to those who view football through rose-tinted glasses on the grounds that they're blinded from reality?

Tapping into a national theme, a well-known writer put England's exit from Brazil down to us producing a nation of pampered men who don't believe in hard graft, sacrifice and patriotism like his dad's Dunkirk generation.

That's the generation sent home in shame from Brazil in 1950 after losing to a shower of part-time American waiters.

Then there were claims, after Neymar's tournament-ending injury, that unlike the good old days, today's players are cynical thugs primed to take out the finest talents.

Neatly forgetting that Pele was systematically kicked out of the 1966 World Cup.

And then we had the death of Alfredo Di Stefano. And the comparison I heard on a radio phone-in of a gentleman who graced what used to be the "beautiful game" with a certain Uruguayan animal.

Well in 1964, when England played in a "Little World Cup" tournament in Brazil, during the game with Portugal, Jose Torres was sent off for "attempting to punch the referee". And when Argentina played the hosts, a Brazilian headbutted Jose Messiano, breaking his nose and forcing him off the pitch. The butter? Pele.

But no one made a fuss and neither player was banned. As Gordon Strachan so honestly said in the midst of the Suarez hysteria: "People talk about morals, but we don't have any morals in football."

As FIFA stand accused of every crime from bribery to turning a blind eye to mass deaths in Qatar, he is correct.

But has it ever had morals? Study the stench of corruption that hung over Di Stefano's controversial transfer to Real Madrid in 1952, which went all the way to General Franco's office, and the answer is probably not.

So bin the rose-tinted glasses eh?

CAPTION(S):

SHAMED England 1950 World Cup losers
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Title Annotation:Sport; Opinion Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:3BRAZ
Date:Jul 10, 2014
Words:319
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