Belo Horizonte, Brazil: In many ways, it's a head-scratcher: the country that invented football and which has the richest, most watched and, many would agree, best league in global football is also one of the worst performers at this World Cup. How can that be?
We are, of course, talking here about England -- that self-important nation which is no longer very good at football but is quite brilliant at marketing it.
And that, right there, is part of its problem.
In short, the pool of top English talent is becoming too shallow. But there's also another reason that the English don't talk about: their players are too English, too insular, and they're failing to use the globalization of football to better themselves, as other nations are doing with such spectacular results at this World Cup.