Brazil soccer star Neymar

World-class soccer player Neymar leads the Brazil team at the Olympics.

Ronaldinho: Neymar must ignore the stories and concentrate on happiness

The world's most expensive footballer has endured a difficult start to his PSG career but his predecessor believes happiness is the key to good form

Ronaldinho: Neymar must ignore the stories and concentrate on happiness

The world's most expensive footballer has endured a difficult start to his PSG career but his predecessor believes happiness is the key to good form

Arsenal will face 'the best Christian Eriksen we've ever seen', warns Eric Dier

Eric Dier has warned Arsenal will face “the best Christian Eriksen we’ve ever seen” in Saturday’s North London derby following his stunning hat-trick that fired Denmark to the World Cup. While Dier was helping keep the likes of Neymar and Gabriel Jesus at bay during England’s friendly against Brazil on Tuesday night, Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Eriksen was running riot against the Republic of Ireland in his country’s 5-1 play-off triumph in Dublin. Next up for the duo is Saturday’s Premier League showdown between Spurs and Arsenal, with Dier saying of winger Eriksen - Europe’s joint third top scorer in World Cup qualifying behind Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo: “He’s obviously coming very high on confidence now. I think he’s had a fantastic campaign for Denmark, not just in these two play-offs, but in the whole of qualifying. “It’s well deserved he got the hat-trick today and helped them go through. It's great for Tottenham he's continuing to excel. “We're seeing the best Christian Eriksen we've ever seen at the moment. Hopefully, he can keep going.” Attention turns back to club football this weekend for Eriksen and Dier Credit: PA Tottenham are hoping to finish above Arsenal for the second straight season, having done so for the first time in 22 years last term. Mauricio Pochettino’s side went into the international break level on 23 points with second-placed Manchester United, four clear of their sixth-placed opponents. A draw at the Emirates Stadium would keep Arsenal at arm’s length but Dier said of an away fixture Spurs had only won once in their last 28 attempts: “The mentality going into it is to win. Simple really.” Dier also revealed manager Pochettino had messaged him after he was named England captain for their first two World Cup warm-up matches against Germany and Brazil. “I’ve had lots of nice messages,” he said. “The manager messaged me. For me, the most important thing is the people that are close to me: the manager, my family, my close friends, what they say, them messaging me. That's all I need, really. “I spoke to the manager and he had some good advice for me, just to enjoy it. I tried to do that.”

Arsenal will face 'the best Christian Eriksen we've ever seen', warns Eric Dier

Eric Dier has warned Arsenal will face “the best Christian Eriksen we’ve ever seen” in Saturday’s North London derby following his stunning hat-trick that fired Denmark to the World Cup. While Dier was helping keep the likes of Neymar and Gabriel Jesus at bay during England’s friendly against Brazil on Tuesday night, Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Eriksen was running riot against the Republic of Ireland in his country’s 5-1 play-off triumph in Dublin. Next up for the duo is Saturday’s Premier League showdown between Spurs and Arsenal, with Dier saying of winger Eriksen - Europe’s joint third top scorer in World Cup qualifying behind Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo: “He’s obviously coming very high on confidence now. I think he’s had a fantastic campaign for Denmark, not just in these two play-offs, but in the whole of qualifying. “It’s well deserved he got the hat-trick today and helped them go through. It's great for Tottenham he's continuing to excel. “We're seeing the best Christian Eriksen we've ever seen at the moment. Hopefully, he can keep going.” Attention turns back to club football this weekend for Eriksen and Dier Credit: PA Tottenham are hoping to finish above Arsenal for the second straight season, having done so for the first time in 22 years last term. Mauricio Pochettino’s side went into the international break level on 23 points with second-placed Manchester United, four clear of their sixth-placed opponents. A draw at the Emirates Stadium would keep Arsenal at arm’s length but Dier said of an away fixture Spurs had only won once in their last 28 attempts: “The mentality going into it is to win. Simple really.” Dier also revealed manager Pochettino had messaged him after he was named England captain for their first two World Cup warm-up matches against Germany and Brazil. “I’ve had lots of nice messages,” he said. “The manager messaged me. For me, the most important thing is the people that are close to me: the manager, my family, my close friends, what they say, them messaging me. That's all I need, really. “I spoke to the manager and he had some good advice for me, just to enjoy it. I tried to do that.”

I'd love Neymar's 'difficult spell'- Brazil's Falcao

The Brazil great downplays suggestions Neymar is struggling for form

I'd love Neymar's 'difficult spell'- Brazil's Falcao

The Brazil great downplays suggestions Neymar is struggling for form

I'd love Neymar's 'difficult spell'- Brazil's Falcao

The Brazil great downplays suggestions Neymar is struggling for form

Joe Gomez proving a Liverpool bargain after adding Neymar to list of players he kept under wraps

As the world’s most expensive footballer found out at Wembley on Tuesday night, Joe Gomez enjoys a challenge. Aged just 20, Liverpool defender Gomez has already faced a number of potentially career-defining decisions and his long-term thinking could yet land him a place in England’s World Cup squad. He could have joined Chelsea as a 15-year-old with his best friend Kasey Palmer, but chose to stay at Charlton Athletic. There were sleepless nights wondering if he had made the right decision as Palmer became a Uefa Youth League winner at Stamford Bridge, but Gomez wanted first-team football. Charlton’s former academy manager Paul Hart promoted Gomez to the Under-18s when he was still aged 13 and helped to convince him to turn down a switch to Chelsea. “We didn’t want to hold him back, but we explained we thought it would be beneficial to stay longer, learn his trade and try to get in the first team, and then go,” said Hart. “We had his mum and dad, and his agent along and they listened to what we said, trusted us and bought into it.” A former defender himself, Hart brought through Jonathan Woodgate at Leeds United and Michael Dawson at Nottingham Forest, and also managed Des Walker at the City Ground. “You try not to have favourites, but I was always very impressed with Joe,” said Hart. “But he wasn’t the finished article and to play as a centre-back, aerially he had to get better. You can be as good as you like, but you have to win your headers. Charlton’s former academy manager Paul Hart also helped develop Jonathan Woodgate Credit: getty images “I remember telling Joe about Jonathan Woodgate, who missed a header from a corner in a game and I shouted ‘if you miss the next one, you’ll come and stand with me’. He smashed into the next header, got knocked out and had to go to hospital. I went with him and the first thing Jonathan asked when he came round was ‘did I head it?’ That physical and mental toughness is what I wanted to get into Joe and he took it on board.” Bob Peeters was the Charlton manager who rewarded Gomez with his first-team debut as a 17-year-old and he went on to make 24 appearances for the Addicks by the end of the 2014/15 season, a full year before Palmer was named as an unused substitute by Chelsea for the first time. The Blues were among the clubs, along with Arsenal, Red Bull Leipzig and Hoffenheim, who were battling to sign Gomez in the summer of 2015, but he opted for Liverpool because he was convinced he would receive first-team opportunities at Anfield. But a cruciate ligament injury, suffered while playing for England’s Under-21s, and a change of manager during his first four months at Liverpool meant that it was a full year before Jurgen Klopp could even watch Gomez train. Gomez has admitted there were dark days while he was out, particularly when he when he suffered a setback with his Achilles, but he finally played for Klopp 15 months after his initial injury against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup in January this year. Gomez chose Liverpool over Arsenal because he saw a clearer path to the first team Credit: Reuters Having played twice more in the FA Cup last season, in the replay with Plymouth and the defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Gomez was asked to be part of Aidy Boothroyd’s England squad for this summer’s Under-21 European Championships. But Gomez again put his long-term ambitions ahead of short-term gain and decided that he would be better served to spend an entire pre-season at Liverpool working with Klopp and trying to win a first-team place at his club. He started in the Premier League for the first time under Klopp in August in a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace and then helped Liverpool to a thumping 4-0 win against Arsenal – keeping Alexis Sanchez quiet. Just as Sanchez only lasted around an hour against Gomez before being taken off, Antony Martial was substituted after 65 fruitless minutes against the youngster in Liverpool’s goalless draw with Manchester United. Sanchez, Martial and Neymar is not a bad list of forwards to have frustrated just 22 appearances into his Reds career and the £3.5million fee Liverpool paid for Gomez, thanks to a release clause in his contract, already looks like one of the biggest bargains of recent times. Liverpool only had to fork out an extra £250,000 to Charlton as a result of Gomez’s first England start, which will not have bothered anyone watching him keep Brazil’s £200m star in his back pocket. Hart, who is now assistant manager at League Two Luton Town, watched Gomez’s Wembley performance from his home in Nottingham. Gomez kept Neymar quiet at Wembley on Tuesday Credit: PA “I’m just so impressed with the way he has coped with the injury and has come back even stronger,” said Hart. “He has always had a good head on his shoulders and has wanted to learn. “With his ability, together with the way his character and how he handles himself, I can’t imagine any problems for Joe. I just think he will get better and better.” Gomez stayed late into the night at Wembley to talk to those who had come to watch him, including family members, and thank those who have supported him. He was also quick to recognise the fact that England manager Gareth Southgate had taken a chance on the likes of him and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the friendlies against Germany and Brazil. “I had a relationship with Gareth from when he was the Under-21s coach and I know how good he is as a manager,” said Gomez. “He is great for young players like me, you can see how many opportunities he has given in just this squad alone so it has been great. “I’m learning from all the backroom staff. It is a great effort that is put together to try and produce performances and now we have just got to try and build on it and keep the momentum going into the World Cup.” Gomez certainly has momentum on his side.

Joe Gomez proving a Liverpool bargain after adding Neymar to list of players he kept under wraps

As the world’s most expensive footballer found out at Wembley on Tuesday night, Joe Gomez enjoys a challenge. Aged just 20, Liverpool defender Gomez has already faced a number of potentially career-defining decisions and his long-term thinking could yet land him a place in England’s World Cup squad. He could have joined Chelsea as a 15-year-old with his best friend Kasey Palmer, but chose to stay at Charlton Athletic. There were sleepless nights wondering if he had made the right decision as Palmer became a Uefa Youth League winner at Stamford Bridge, but Gomez wanted first-team football. Charlton’s former academy manager Paul Hart promoted Gomez to the Under-18s when he was still aged 13 and helped to convince him to turn down a switch to Chelsea. “We didn’t want to hold him back, but we explained we thought it would be beneficial to stay longer, learn his trade and try to get in the first team, and then go,” said Hart. “We had his mum and dad, and his agent along and they listened to what we said, trusted us and bought into it.” A former defender himself, Hart brought through Jonathan Woodgate at Leeds United and Michael Dawson at Nottingham Forest, and also managed Des Walker at the City Ground. “You try not to have favourites, but I was always very impressed with Joe,” said Hart. “But he wasn’t the finished article and to play as a centre-back, aerially he had to get better. You can be as good as you like, but you have to win your headers. Charlton’s former academy manager Paul Hart also helped develop Jonathan Woodgate Credit: getty images “I remember telling Joe about Jonathan Woodgate, who missed a header from a corner in a game and I shouted ‘if you miss the next one, you’ll come and stand with me’. He smashed into the next header, got knocked out and had to go to hospital. I went with him and the first thing Jonathan asked when he came round was ‘did I head it?’ That physical and mental toughness is what I wanted to get into Joe and he took it on board.” Bob Peeters was the Charlton manager who rewarded Gomez with his first-team debut as a 17-year-old and he went on to make 24 appearances for the Addicks by the end of the 2014/15 season, a full year before Palmer was named as an unused substitute by Chelsea for the first time. The Blues were among the clubs, along with Arsenal, Red Bull Leipzig and Hoffenheim, who were battling to sign Gomez in the summer of 2015, but he opted for Liverpool because he was convinced he would receive first-team opportunities at Anfield. But a cruciate ligament injury, suffered while playing for England’s Under-21s, and a change of manager during his first four months at Liverpool meant that it was a full year before Jurgen Klopp could even watch Gomez train. Gomez has admitted there were dark days while he was out, particularly when he when he suffered a setback with his Achilles, but he finally played for Klopp 15 months after his initial injury against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup in January this year. Gomez chose Liverpool over Arsenal because he saw a clearer path to the first team Credit: Reuters Having played twice more in the FA Cup last season, in the replay with Plymouth and the defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Gomez was asked to be part of Aidy Boothroyd’s England squad for this summer’s Under-21 European Championships. But Gomez again put his long-term ambitions ahead of short-term gain and decided that he would be better served to spend an entire pre-season at Liverpool working with Klopp and trying to win a first-team place at his club. He started in the Premier League for the first time under Klopp in August in a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace and then helped Liverpool to a thumping 4-0 win against Arsenal – keeping Alexis Sanchez quiet. Just as Sanchez only lasted around an hour against Gomez before being taken off, Antony Martial was substituted after 65 fruitless minutes against the youngster in Liverpool’s goalless draw with Manchester United. Sanchez, Martial and Neymar is not a bad list of forwards to have frustrated just 22 appearances into his Reds career and the £3.5million fee Liverpool paid for Gomez, thanks to a release clause in his contract, already looks like one of the biggest bargains of recent times. Liverpool only had to fork out an extra £250,000 to Charlton as a result of Gomez’s first England start, which will not have bothered anyone watching him keep Brazil’s £200m star in his back pocket. Hart, who is now assistant manager at League Two Luton Town, watched Gomez’s Wembley performance from his home in Nottingham. Gomez kept Neymar quiet at Wembley on Tuesday Credit: PA “I’m just so impressed with the way he has coped with the injury and has come back even stronger,” said Hart. “He has always had a good head on his shoulders and has wanted to learn. “With his ability, together with the way his character and how he handles himself, I can’t imagine any problems for Joe. I just think he will get better and better.” Gomez stayed late into the night at Wembley to talk to those who had come to watch him, including family members, and thank those who have supported him. He was also quick to recognise the fact that England manager Gareth Southgate had taken a chance on the likes of him and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the friendlies against Germany and Brazil. “I had a relationship with Gareth from when he was the Under-21s coach and I know how good he is as a manager,” said Gomez. “He is great for young players like me, you can see how many opportunities he has given in just this squad alone so it has been great. “I’m learning from all the backroom staff. It is a great effort that is put together to try and produce performances and now we have just got to try and build on it and keep the momentum going into the World Cup.” Gomez certainly has momentum on his side.

Joe Gomez proving a Liverpool bargain after adding Neymar to list of players he kept under wraps

As the world’s most expensive footballer found out at Wembley on Tuesday night, Joe Gomez enjoys a challenge. Aged just 20, Liverpool defender Gomez has already faced a number of potentially career-defining decisions and his long-term thinking could yet land him a place in England’s World Cup squad. He could have joined Chelsea as a 15-year-old with his best friend Kasey Palmer, but chose to stay at Charlton Athletic. There were sleepless nights wondering if he had made the right decision as Palmer became a Uefa Youth League winner at Stamford Bridge, but Gomez wanted first-team football. Charlton’s former academy manager Paul Hart promoted Gomez to the Under-18s when he was still aged 13 and helped to convince him to turn down a switch to Chelsea. “We didn’t want to hold him back, but we explained we thought it would be beneficial to stay longer, learn his trade and try to get in the first team, and then go,” said Hart. “We had his mum and dad, and his agent along and they listened to what we said, trusted us and bought into it.” A former defender himself, Hart brought through Jonathan Woodgate at Leeds United and Michael Dawson at Nottingham Forest, and also managed Des Walker at the City Ground. “You try not to have favourites, but I was always very impressed with Joe,” said Hart. “But he wasn’t the finished article and to play as a centre-back, aerially he had to get better. You can be as good as you like, but you have to win your headers. Charlton’s former academy manager Paul Hart also helped develop Jonathan Woodgate Credit: getty images “I remember telling Joe about Jonathan Woodgate, who missed a header from a corner in a game and I shouted ‘if you miss the next one, you’ll come and stand with me’. He smashed into the next header, got knocked out and had to go to hospital. I went with him and the first thing Jonathan asked when he came round was ‘did I head it?’ That physical and mental toughness is what I wanted to get into Joe and he took it on board.” Bob Peeters was the Charlton manager who rewarded Gomez with his first-team debut as a 17-year-old and he went on to make 24 appearances for the Addicks by the end of the 2014/15 season, a full year before Palmer was named as an unused substitute by Chelsea for the first time. The Blues were among the clubs, along with Arsenal, Red Bull Leipzig and Hoffenheim, who were battling to sign Gomez in the summer of 2015, but he opted for Liverpool because he was convinced he would receive first-team opportunities at Anfield. But a cruciate ligament injury, suffered while playing for England’s Under-21s, and a change of manager during his first four months at Liverpool meant that it was a full year before Jurgen Klopp could even watch Gomez train. Gomez has admitted there were dark days while he was out, particularly when he when he suffered a setback with his Achilles, but he finally played for Klopp 15 months after his initial injury against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup in January this year. Gomez chose Liverpool over Arsenal because he saw a clearer path to the first team Credit: Reuters Having played twice more in the FA Cup last season, in the replay with Plymouth and the defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Gomez was asked to be part of Aidy Boothroyd’s England squad for this summer’s Under-21 European Championships. But Gomez again put his long-term ambitions ahead of short-term gain and decided that he would be better served to spend an entire pre-season at Liverpool working with Klopp and trying to win a first-team place at his club. He started in the Premier League for the first time under Klopp in August in a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace and then helped Liverpool to a thumping 4-0 win against Arsenal – keeping Alexis Sanchez quiet. Just as Sanchez only lasted around an hour against Gomez before being taken off, Antony Martial was substituted after 65 fruitless minutes against the youngster in Liverpool’s goalless draw with Manchester United. Sanchez, Martial and Neymar is not a bad list of forwards to have frustrated just 22 appearances into his Reds career and the £3.5million fee Liverpool paid for Gomez, thanks to a release clause in his contract, already looks like one of the biggest bargains of recent times. Liverpool only had to fork out an extra £250,000 to Charlton as a result of Gomez’s first England start, which will not have bothered anyone watching him keep Brazil’s £200m star in his back pocket. Hart, who is now assistant manager at League Two Luton Town, watched Gomez’s Wembley performance from his home in Nottingham. Gomez kept Neymar quiet at Wembley on Tuesday Credit: PA “I’m just so impressed with the way he has coped with the injury and has come back even stronger,” said Hart. “He has always had a good head on his shoulders and has wanted to learn. “With his ability, together with the way his character and how he handles himself, I can’t imagine any problems for Joe. I just think he will get better and better.” Gomez stayed late into the night at Wembley to talk to those who had come to watch him, including family members, and thank those who have supported him. He was also quick to recognise the fact that England manager Gareth Southgate had taken a chance on the likes of him and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the friendlies against Germany and Brazil. “I had a relationship with Gareth from when he was the Under-21s coach and I know how good he is as a manager,” said Gomez. “He is great for young players like me, you can see how many opportunities he has given in just this squad alone so it has been great. “I’m learning from all the backroom staff. It is a great effort that is put together to try and produce performances and now we have just got to try and build on it and keep the momentum going into the World Cup.” Gomez certainly has momentum on his side.

The 41-year-old England virgin: my first visit to Wembley to watch the national side

I grew up three miles from Wembley Stadium, in Metro-Land, Zone 5. Forget London’s beating heart; this is London’s itchy epidermis. One of my first jobs was selling hotdogs at (the old) Wembley. My advice to you: do not eat a hotdog at Wembley, unless things have improved significantly in the hygiene stakes in the last 20-odd years. Despite this proximity to the stadium, or perhaps because of the proximity to the hotdogs, I had never been to watch the England team play there. I’ve been to hundreds of football matches. I have watched almost every England match on the television because… well, because it’s on the television, I suppose. You can’t just not. Can you? Anyway, here is what I noticed, going to Wembley to watch England for the first time. England football is a moneymaking machine. The tickets are expensive, the snacks are expensive, the souvenirs and gear are expensive. There are more women, and children, than at club football: it feels more like a family day out. I have great sympathy for the parents of eight-year-olds, having to fork out left and right for branded and/or pricey things. On the other hand, I sympathise with the children being introduced to the England football team. Little do they know. Because this is an excursion rather than a sporting experience, the England fan is not a discerning customer with regard to the football on display: demand for the product is inelastic of the quality. There were 84,595 at Wembley on Tuesday night. It was a friendly. England did okay. It’s hard to conceive of a world in which people stop turning out to watch, although England’s performances in recent times have certainly explored the outer limits of the punter’s patience. Alone, together: Jamie Vardy warms up as Brazil huddle Credit: Action Plus Every England match I have ever watched on TV has featured, at some point, a football expert saying that England need to keep the ball better. Ah, if wishing made it so. From one to 11, Brazil’s players have a better touch than the hosts: I think television muddies that. It’s clearer in the flesh. You cannot keep the ball as well as the opponent if you cannot control it as well as the opponent. Whatever other progress, or lack of, the most recent root-and-branch review has put in place, it all comes down to that one thing. England, gleaming in white, and Brazil in their supersaturated yellow and blue, make a beautiful spectacle on the green pitch. Perhaps out of deference to the only national side that has a real romantic allure (not you, Gareth)  the Brazil anthem is un-booed. It’s a low-drama, low-stakes game, people wave their little plastic flags. When Neymar, everyone’s heard of Neymar, gets the ball, squeals of excitement swirl on the wind. There are paper airplanes; one especially well-made example floats all the way down from high in the stands to land at the feet of Ryan Bertrand. He treads on it, oblivious to one of the most accurate deliveries a white shirt receives in the evening. England drift. Flash: Neymar goes past Eric Dier Credit: CameraSport via Getty Images But, with England, it is never frictionless. Some people are angry. The players haven’t scored, or shown enough passion. One or two around about are angry with other fans for not showing enough passion. One old man gets very angry with a young man behind him, who is showing his passion by swearing a lot. The old man tells him off. He shouts at him: “Stop ****ing swearing.” He is not making a joke. On the way out, we get kettled on Wembley Way for 10 minutes, then allowed to advance to the foot of the stairs leading up to the Tube station. A line of unsmiling coppers hold the docile crowd, many of them families and lots of Brazil supporters, there for a further 15 minutes. Should it not be… should it not be better than this? A nil-nil, merchandise, a friendly, a paper airplane. Gareth's new shape. Sport as milky tea, passions below the surface that people don’t quite know how to express. England 0 Brazil 0 at the home of our national game. Aspirational suburbia, a raspberry meringue from Marks and Spencers, muttered fury at an Urdu notice in the public library, a gammon steak in a Harvester, better luck next time. That, this, is England.

The 41-year-old England virgin: my first visit to Wembley to watch the national side

I grew up three miles from Wembley Stadium, in Metro-Land, Zone 5. Forget London’s beating heart; this is London’s itchy epidermis. One of my first jobs was selling hotdogs at (the old) Wembley. My advice to you: do not eat a hotdog at Wembley, unless things have improved significantly in the hygiene stakes in the last 20-odd years. Despite this proximity to the stadium, or perhaps because of the proximity to the hotdogs, I had never been to watch the England team play there. I’ve been to hundreds of football matches. I have watched almost every England match on the television because… well, because it’s on the television, I suppose. You can’t just not. Can you? Anyway, here is what I noticed, going to Wembley to watch England for the first time. England football is a moneymaking machine. The tickets are expensive, the snacks are expensive, the souvenirs and gear are expensive. There are more women, and children, than at club football: it feels more like a family day out. I have great sympathy for the parents of eight-year-olds, having to fork out left and right for branded and/or pricey things. On the other hand, I sympathise with the children being introduced to the England football team. Little do they know. Because this is an excursion rather than a sporting experience, the England fan is not a discerning customer with regard to the football on display: demand for the product is inelastic of the quality. There were 84,595 at Wembley on Tuesday night. It was a friendly. England did okay. It’s hard to conceive of a world in which people stop turning out to watch, although England’s performances in recent times have certainly explored the outer limits of the punter’s patience. Alone, together: Jamie Vardy warms up as Brazil huddle Credit: Action Plus Every England match I have ever watched on TV has featured, at some point, a football expert saying that England need to keep the ball better. Ah, if wishing made it so. From one to 11, Brazil’s players have a better touch than the hosts: I think television muddies that. It’s clearer in the flesh. You cannot keep the ball as well as the opponent if you cannot control it as well as the opponent. Whatever other progress, or lack of, the most recent root-and-branch review has put in place, it all comes down to that one thing. England, gleaming in white, and Brazil in their supersaturated yellow and blue, make a beautiful spectacle on the green pitch. Perhaps out of deference to the only national side that has a real romantic allure (not you, Gareth)  the Brazil anthem is un-booed. It’s a low-drama, low-stakes game, people wave their little plastic flags. When Neymar, everyone’s heard of Neymar, gets the ball, squeals of excitement swirl on the wind. There are paper airplanes; one especially well-made example floats all the way down from high in the stands to land at the feet of Ryan Bertrand. He treads on it, oblivious to one of the most accurate deliveries a white shirt receives in the evening. England drift. Flash: Neymar goes past Eric Dier Credit: CameraSport via Getty Images But, with England, it is never frictionless. Some people are angry. The players haven’t scored, or shown enough passion. One or two around about are angry with other fans for not showing enough passion. One old man gets very angry with a young man behind him, who is showing his passion by swearing a lot. The old man tells him off. He shouts at him: “Stop ****ing swearing.” He is not making a joke. On the way out, we get kettled on Wembley Way for 10 minutes, then allowed to advance to the foot of the stairs leading up to the Tube station. A line of unsmiling coppers hold the docile crowd, many of them families and lots of Brazil supporters, there for a further 15 minutes. Should it not be… should it not be better than this? A nil-nil, merchandise, a friendly, a paper airplane. Gareth's new shape. Sport as milky tea, passions below the surface that people don’t quite know how to express. England 0 Brazil 0 at the home of our national game. Aspirational suburbia, a raspberry meringue from Marks and Spencers, muttered fury at an Urdu notice in the public library, a gammon steak in a Harvester, better luck next time. That, this, is England.

The 41-year-old England virgin: my first visit to Wembley to watch the national side

I grew up three miles from Wembley Stadium, in Metro-Land, Zone 5. Forget London’s beating heart; this is London’s itchy epidermis. One of my first jobs was selling hotdogs at (the old) Wembley. My advice to you: do not eat a hotdog at Wembley, unless things have improved significantly in the hygiene stakes in the last 20-odd years. Despite this proximity to the stadium, or perhaps because of the proximity to the hotdogs, I had never been to watch the England team play there. I’ve been to hundreds of football matches. I have watched almost every England match on the television because… well, because it’s on the television, I suppose. You can’t just not. Can you? Anyway, here is what I noticed, going to Wembley to watch England for the first time. England football is a moneymaking machine. The tickets are expensive, the snacks are expensive, the souvenirs and gear are expensive. There are more women, and children, than at club football: it feels more like a family day out. I have great sympathy for the parents of eight-year-olds, having to fork out left and right for branded and/or pricey things. On the other hand, I sympathise with the children being introduced to the England football team. Little do they know. Because this is an excursion rather than a sporting experience, the England fan is not a discerning customer with regard to the football on display: demand for the product is inelastic of the quality. There were 84,595 at Wembley on Tuesday night. It was a friendly. England did okay. It’s hard to conceive of a world in which people stop turning out to watch, although England’s performances in recent times have certainly explored the outer limits of the punter’s patience. Alone, together: Jamie Vardy warms up as Brazil huddle Credit: Action Plus Every England match I have ever watched on TV has featured, at some point, a football expert saying that England need to keep the ball better. Ah, if wishing made it so. From one to 11, Brazil’s players have a better touch than the hosts: I think television muddies that. It’s clearer in the flesh. You cannot keep the ball as well as the opponent if you cannot control it as well as the opponent. Whatever other progress, or lack of, the most recent root-and-branch review has put in place, it all comes down to that one thing. England, gleaming in white, and Brazil in their supersaturated yellow and blue, make a beautiful spectacle on the green pitch. Perhaps out of deference to the only national side that has a real romantic allure (not you, Gareth)  the Brazil anthem is un-booed. It’s a low-drama, low-stakes game, people wave their little plastic flags. When Neymar, everyone’s heard of Neymar, gets the ball, squeals of excitement swirl on the wind. There are paper airplanes; one especially well-made example floats all the way down from high in the stands to land at the feet of Ryan Bertrand. He treads on it, oblivious to one of the most accurate deliveries a white shirt receives in the evening. England drift. Flash: Neymar goes past Eric Dier Credit: CameraSport via Getty Images But, with England, it is never frictionless. Some people are angry. The players haven’t scored, or shown enough passion. One or two around about are angry with other fans for not showing enough passion. One old man gets very angry with a young man behind him, who is showing his passion by swearing a lot. The old man tells him off. He shouts at him: “Stop ****ing swearing.” He is not making a joke. On the way out, we get kettled on Wembley Way for 10 minutes, then allowed to advance to the foot of the stairs leading up to the Tube station. A line of unsmiling coppers hold the docile crowd, many of them families and lots of Brazil supporters, there for a further 15 minutes. Should it not be… should it not be better than this? A nil-nil, merchandise, a friendly, a paper airplane. Gareth's new shape. Sport as milky tea, passions below the surface that people don’t quite know how to express. England 0 Brazil 0 at the home of our national game. Aspirational suburbia, a raspberry meringue from Marks and Spencers, muttered fury at an Urdu notice in the public library, a gammon steak in a Harvester, better luck next time. That, this, is England.

England full-back Rose in awe of Neymar: It was a pleasure to watch him!

The PSG forward featured for Brazil in the 0-0 draw at Wembley with the Tottenham left-back insisting he can see why there's so much hype over him

WATCH: Samba, bagpipes, shirtless Englishman and Neymar at Wembley - England 0-0 Brazil

There may not have been any goals as the two sides played out a stalemate at the historic venue - but Brasil Global Tour brought the party to London

'We tried everything!' - Neymar happy with Brazil performance against 'defensive' England

A young Three Lions team held Tite's side at Wembley on Tuesday evening despite the Selecao doing everything they could to break them down

'We tried everything!' - Neymar happy with Brazil performance against 'defensive' England

A young Three Lions team held Tite's side at Wembley on Tuesday evening despite the Selecao doing everything they could to break them down

Neymar: Brazil tried everything to break down defensive England

Brazil were held to a goalless draw by England but Neymar was satisfied with the performance.

Neymar always welcome at Real Madrid – Casemiro

The Brazil midfielder wants his compatriot to know that he'll always have a place open at his former club's biggest rival

Neymar always welcome at Real Madrid – Casemiro

The Brazil midfielder wants his compatriot to know that he'll always have a place open at his former club's biggest rival

Neymar always welcome at Real Madrid – Casemiro

Neymar may be happy at Paris Saint-Germain, but he is welcome at Real Madrid according to Casemiro.

Neymar looks to learn from Brazil's difficulties vs England

England's John Stones, left, heads the ball besides team mate Tammy Abraham during the international friendly soccer match between England and Brazil at Wembley stadium in London, Britain, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Neymar looks to learn from Brazil's difficulties vs England

Brazil's Casemiro's tackle sends England's Ryan Bertrand flying during the international friendly soccer match between England and Brazil at Wembley stadium in London, Britain, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Neymar looks to learn from Brazil's difficulties vs England

Brazil's goalkeeper Alisson saves before England's Dominic Solanke can score during the international friendly soccer match between England and Brazil at Wembley stadium in London, Britain, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Neymar looks to learn from Brazil's difficulties vs England

England's Joe Gomez, left, and Brazil's Neymar challenge for the ball during the international friendly soccer match between England and Brazil at Wembley stadium in London, Britain, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Neymar looks to learn from Brazil's difficulties vs England

Brazil's Neymar takes the ball forward watched by England's Joe Gomez, left, and England's Eric Dier during the international friendly soccer match between England and Brazil at Wembley stadium in London, Britain, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Neymar looks to learn from Brazil's difficulties vs England

Brazil's Neymar kneels on the ground during the international friendly soccer match between England and Brazil at Wembley stadium in London, Britain, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

'We tried everything' - Neymar pleased despite Brazil - England stalemate

Neymar is satisfied with the Selecao's successful 2017, despite drawing a blank against England at Wembley on Tuesday.

'We tried everything' - Neymar pleased despite Brazil - England stalemate

Neymar is satisfied with the Selecao's successful 2017, despite drawing a blank against England at Wembley on Tuesday.

'We tried everything' - Neymar pleased despite Brazil - England stalemate

Neymar is satisfied with the Selecao's successful 2017, despite drawing a blank against England at Wembley on Tuesday.

Paulinho reveals Messi convinced him to join Barca - during an Argentina-Brazil game!

Both the Albiceleste captain and Neymar did their bit in bringing the midfielder to Camp Nou, despite doubts over whether he would make the grade

Paulinho reveals Messi convinced him to join Barca - during an Argentina-Brazil game!

Both the Albiceleste captain and Neymar did their bit in bringing the midfielder to Camp Nou, despite doubts over whether he would make the grade

Paulinho reveals Messi convinced him to join Barca - during an Argentina-Brazil game!

Both the Albiceleste captain and Neymar did their bit in bringing the midfielder to Camp Nou, despite doubts over whether he would make the grade

Paulinho reveals Messi convinced him to join Barca - during an Argentina-Brazil game!

Both the Albiceleste captain and Neymar did their bit in bringing the midfielder to Camp Nou, despite doubts over whether he would make the grade

Paulinho reveals Messi convinced him to join Barca - during an Argentina-Brazil game!

Both the Albiceleste captain and Neymar did their bit in bringing the midfielder to Camp Nou, despite doubts over whether he would make the grade

Facing Brazil a 'great experience', admits grounded Gomez

England goalkeeper Joe Hart praised his inexperienced defence, including the Liverpool youngster, after they kept Neymar and Co. quiet at Wembley

Facing Brazil a 'great experience', admits grounded Gomez

England goalkeeper Joe Hart praised his inexperienced defence, including the Liverpool youngster, after they kept Neymar and Co. quiet at Wembley