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Misplaced prioities

Henry Winter finds that the English FA's investments are not optimally allocated:

Sir Trevor Brooking has noted this alarming trend. The Football Association's far-sighted director of football development seeks to persuade the government to invest in a 60 million pound, Clairefontaine-style National Football Centre at Burton [ed.: to train England's most promising youth]. Whitehall and Downing Street point discreetly to the huge sums floating around football.

The FA are committed to the 757 million pound Wembley, shamefully putting the building of an admittedly magnificent stadium ahead of the building of a team. Mark Palios, the FA's chief executive, and his predecessor, Adam Crozier, have driven through the construction of a home fit for heroes while not investing sufficiently in the moulding of heroes.

Without a Burton ameliorating teenagers' technique, the English will carry on conceding possession, carry on failing to direct a stationary ball 12 yards into a net. Even Portugal's goalkeeper took a better penalty than England's captain.

On the penalty kick issue, showed slow motion footage broadcast by the BBC yesterday clearly showed the ball rolling forward as Beckham's plant foot hit the ground. But Beckham's comments show that he knew - the entire team knew - that the ground around the spot was quicksand. The fault lies in failing to adapt to the conditions of the spot, as the Potugese clearly did.