ENGLAND HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR EXCEPT FEAR ITSELF. AND UKRAINE
With Moldova folding quicker than John McCain in a game of iPhone poker in the face of England's unanswerable majesty on Friday night, you might think there would be a swell of optimism surrounding the squad before tonight's pivotal match against Ukraine in Kiev. But do you know what you can do? You can think again, that's what you can do. There is, the Fiver is sad to report, no optimism surrounding England before they take on Ukraine in a match that will help to decide whether or not they embarrass themselves at the World Cup in Brazil next year. There is also no Andy Carroll, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge or Danny Welbeck. Instead there is merely a whiff of trepidation, James Milner and Mr Roy's light-hearted but rather unwise prediction that Joe Hart might let the ball through his legs in the first minute.
Luckily England's fearless leader, Mr Roy, is keeping things in perspective. It's not so much that he's not bothered that he's got to rely on an attack of Milner, Sir Richard of Lambert and Theo Walcott in the Olympic Stadium. "What would you like me to say? 'I don't feel any pressure; I couldn't care less; I can't sleep at night; I can't sleep a wink; I'm frightened to death that we are going to lose?'" said Mr Roy, rolling his eyes and delivering a neat line in sarcasm. "Fear plays a part in our lives," he continued, sounding strangely like Liam Neeson in Batman Begins – maybe they showed it on the plane to Kiev. "It plays a part in peoples' lives outside of football." Then he chucked down a smoke bomb in the middle of his press conference, departing to tell Phil Jagielka to become more than a man; to become an ideal.
You have to hand it to Mr Roy, it's a cute tactic: take the pressure off before a big match by pointing out that it's only football, we'll all die anyway, so it's not actually a big match if you think about it and it definitely doesn't matter if England lose; there are much more frightening things in this world, like spiders, twerking and Kyle Walker's Drugs Hell. Then, once everyone has smoked some of Mr Roy's nitrous oxide, we can get back to the pressing matter at hand, namely that Frank Lampard will mark years of underachievement for England career by winning his 100th cap against Ukraine. The Fiver was unable to contact Paul Scholes for his thoughts on such a momentous occasion so it had to settle for a message in Lampard's native Latin tongue instead: Gratulatum C perveniens caps Francus, ut eatis ad Mundus Calicem in anno altero, et target hit C offa off score non metas. Iterum.
QUOTE OF THE DAY I
"I think it is high time that Europe starts to understand that we do not rule the world anymore, and that some former European imperial powers can no longer impress their will on to others in faraway places" - Fifa president Sepp Blatter, whose organisation famously imposes its own very specific, stringent and Fifa friendly laws, terms and conditions on to others in faraway places once every four years, says we should do as he says, not as he does.
"I think I have spotted the flaw in your plan. You started yesterday's Fiver with the words 'If there's one comedy seam the Fiver likes mining less' which indicates that normally you think you do actually mine comedy seams. Presumably these are the same seams as Rio Ferdinand mined for his Twitter revelation about his eating and bathroom escapades and provide an explanation as to why Kyle Walker felt the need to resort to artificial stimulants" - John Stainton.
"Having been a Fiver subscriber since the days of the TV and Radio section (Fivers uber-passim), I have never laughed so much at a joke as I did upon reading that 'Nani had signed a new five-year contract'. It was only later i learnt that this was not a joke but a statement of fact, whereupon i laughed some more. Pure joy. Thanks" - Gareth Hume.
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BITS AND BOBS
Wales and Cardiff City striker Craig Bellamy has said he might retire at the end of the season. "Life isn't just about football," he said, in a statement that will have no end of deranged, mouth-foaming obsessives who think otherwise scratching their heads with bewilderment.
Why did Mesut Ozil leave mighty Real Madrid to play for little old Arsenal? Santi Cazorla hasn't the foggiest.
Following Andy Carroll's fresh foot-knack setback, West Ham have signed former Fulham striker Mladen Petric on a free transfer, with the Croatian striker penning a one-year deal.
Norn Iron One-Nil manager Michael O'Neill has criticised non-scoring striker Kyle Lafferty's contribution to his country's World Cup qualifying campaign. "After quite a good start to the campaign he has contributed very little and he knows he won't have contributed very much in the second half of the campaign," he moaned.
And Manchester United are sweating over the fitness of Phil Jones, while David Silva is a doubt for Manchester City's trip to Stoke after picking up a thigh-knack with Spain.
STILL WANT MORE?
Not long off the plane in Kiev, Daniel Taylor conducted a webchat and answered your questions ahead of England's defeat at the hands of Ukraine tonight. Find out what the largest animal he thinks he could kill with his bare hands by clicking on this link.
Mezut Ozil stars as Igor from Frankenstein, Igor from Frankenstein again, Igor from Frenakenstein again, a cartoon fish, another cartoon fish and a cartoon chameleon in this week's Gallery.
He doesn't drink booze, he likes to quote Shakespeare and he collects religious icons. To find out which footballer Marcus Christenson's writing about click on these three words.
He has no interest in cars, he suffers from depression and is the son of a discus thrower and a weightlifter. To find out which footballer Marcus Christenson's writing about, click on these three words.
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