Hodgson's misplaced optimism

Six months after being backed to win the World Cup by their manager, England have been eliminated from the tournament before they have finished their malaria tablets.

The man with the reddest face in the England camp is Roy Hodgson.

On Dec 5 he held court at a poolside bar where Fifa was about to stage the World Cup draw. He was asked if he would put his hypothetical tenner on Brazil to win their sixth World Cup title. "No," he replied. "I'd put it on England."

There must have been a reason behind Hodgson's optimism. He knew the vast army of administrative staff he had at his disposal would make sure his team were given the best chance of succeeding in Brazil - and they did.

Nutritionists, psychiatrists, video analysts, sports scientists, cooks and fitness trainers were employed, heat chambers installed, diets were tailored. But England are going home after their worst performance in World Cup history. - PA Sport.