With their chances of progressing in this World Cup hinging on the outcome of their final Group C match against a team of no-marks ranked eleventy-tumpty places beneath them in the Fifa rankings, it is obviously the only show in town. At least you'd think it would be, even if the lead sports illustration on the front of the Washington Post website features a photo of a fat baseball player helping to slug the Nationals to victory against the Kansas City Royals. Well below the fold, next-door to the "have your say" section and perched just above the More Nation/World Headlines, the Post reveals that at the World Cup, Team USA "is in a just-win situation".
Correspondent Steve Goff writes: "The US can make it easy on themselves at the 2010 World Cup with a simple and decisive route to the round of 16: defeat Algeria". The New York Times gives the story equal prominence, locating their preview a good eight inches below a feature about the random list of trends emerging from the Spring 2011 men's wear shows in Milan illustrated by a photo of three models sporting designer duds and sullen pouts that would be the envy of any England footballer worth his salt.
Here in Blighty, media tub-thumping ahead of England's win or bust match against Slovenia is ever so slightly less low-key.
"TIME TO BE HEROES" roars the Daily Star. Grrr!
"WE'RE READY" trumpets the Daily Mirror. Parp!
"SLO US WHAT YOU'RE MADE OF!" exhorts the Sun. Toot!
"BIRMINGHAM CITY COOL INTEREST IN OLD FIRM DUO AIDEN McGEADY AND KRIS BOYD" och aye the noos the Daily Record. Comedy bagpipe drone!
Back in the Sun, urbane, witty guest columnist Alan Shearer draws on his own incredibly successful career in management with Newcastle United (P8 W1 D2 L5) to give Fabio Capello (Big Cup x 1, Serie A x 5, Supercoppa Italiana x 4, La Liga x 2) the benefit of his sage advice. Renowned for his own willingness to field the brickbats of others, Shearer reveals that "some managers refuse to take on board any advice or criticism, however well intentioned it might be", adding that he hopes "Mr Capello doesn't fall into the trap of refusing to bow to outside pressure for the sake of it". The former Newcastle centre-forward goes on to suggest that England need to shift from a 4-4-2, before offering the stunning expert insight that Wayne Rooney "has not produced yet". He then follows this up with the revelatory observation that England's players "seem to be gripped by an anxiety and tension which is stifling their performance levels", but admits he doesn't know why.
Alan is "struggling to find an answer", which goes some way towards explaining why he gets paid the big bucks, even if he does stop short of suggesting that Fabio Capello stop short of following his managerial lead of employing Iain Dowie as an assistant. Something for the Italian to think about should England qualify from Group C, perhaps.
On the subject of self-harm, French press reaction to the seppuku committed by their team is as predictably withering as you'd expect, although probably quite mild in comparison to what awaits England tomorrow should the the unthinkable happen.
"AND AGAIN BRAVO!" sniffs Liberation sarcastically, adding with relief that the "tragi-comedy is finally over".
"IT'S OVER AND SO MUCH THE BETTER!" haw-hee-hawed La Provence, who describe their team as "calamitous on the pitch, like off it", before adding that "Les Bleus have to move on to rebuilding".
"THE END OF THE WORLD", declared sports daily L'Equipe with considerable understatement, from somewhere within a dense fog of stress-relieving Gitanes smoke.
"BYE DUMMIES" adds Le Progres.
"ANDY MURRAY SLATES FELLOW BRITS AFTER BEING LEFT LAST MAN STANDING AT SW19" confirms the Daily Record, whipping them in.
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