Whilst, England's performance this summer was bleak, there are plenty of reasons to be positive. And despite the work that needs to be done and the changes that ought to be made, Roy Hodgson has it in him to deliver in 2016...
The front four of Sterling, Welbeck, Sturridge and Rooney seemed to run riot up front, although the Manchester United man was outshone by his vibrant and youthful team-mates... The only Englishman who failed to excite the fans was Phil Neville and his lacklustre commentary performance.
Business can learn a lot from politics - and sport - in terms of managing public expectations. Companies are getting smarter at this game - down playing expectations in the business pages in advance of difficult results. But too often company leaders fail to control the narrative by overstating their ambition in the first place. Corporate Britain is littered with the bodies of business leaders who promised big and delivered small.
During a final of the 2010 World Cup, my television stopped working, and while staring at the blank screen and contemplating what pizza I was going order for home delivery, I realised I was enjoying myself more than watching the actual game.
With England's first game of the tournament just days away, it's time to take a quick look back over the warm-up games. There were a couple of big winners and a couple of unfortunate losers and the games may well have affected Roy Hodgson's selection for this Saturday.
The World Cup is nearly upon us, and although that will bring excitement for many, there will also be a large number of people dreading a month filled with conversation about the competition. On these occasions feigning interest is your only real option, and this bluffer's guide should help you to keep up and maybe even look like a bona fide football fan.
Fifa is not above the law; it only looks like that. The FBI is conducting its own investigation into whether corrupt payments were made during the World Cup bids using computer servers based in the USA. They are free to bring forward their own prosecutions, like any other law enforcement agency if they believe that there is clear evidence of wrong doing within their jurisdiction. However, the only real way to hurt Fifa and to make it change its ways is through its finances.
For any player, signing for your boyhood club would be a dream come true. For Rickie Lambert, that dream this week became a reality. The striker - and lifelong Liverpool fan - joined the Reds for an initial £4m on Monday, bringing an end to his five-year stay with Southampton.
So, Rooney might be a little off-colour at this tournament. No bother. He's still comfortably England's best player, right? Well, maybe not. England fans may well have to come to the conclusion sooner or later that Wayne Rooney is a choker. It sounds ridiculous to say, with his exceptional goalscoring record for his country, but it could just be true.
Albert Camus famously said that everything he knew about morality and obligation he learnt from football. Our politicians could use football to teach an important lesson about morality and obligation, by making sure 2014 is England's last ever World Cup.
With just days to go until the Brazil World Cup begins, we're all wondering whether England will make it past the group stages and bring the cup home this year. If travel habits provide an indication of the England team's chances, the outlook is hugely positive for Roy's boys. Searches for hotels in Rio have rocketed by 528% for the period of the final, suggesting that Brits are betting on a repeat of England's 1966 World Cup win...
We now stand less than two weeks away from the beginning of what is being billed as one of the greatest World Cups of all time. As the pre-tournament excitement builds with every passing day, all talk turns to which side has enough quality, focus - and not to mention a little bit of luck - to lift the famous trophy.
Pochettino favours the high tempo, pressing game and that's something we haven't seen at The Lane for a long time. If he could put out a team week in week out that looks like it's hungry for the ball then I'll be happy.
After QPR sealed their return to the top-flight by narrowly beating Derby in the Championship play-off final, the 20 teams of the Barclays Premier League were confirmed for next season. The three teams coming up are already relegation candidates, but it's highly unlikely that all three will go down...
With the Colombia international expected to return in time for pre-season, Berbatov will have the opportunity to work with his teammate and forge a partnership that could take Ligue 1 by storm. Of course that is not to say the former Bulgaria international won't also offer a goalscoring threat for Monaco.
Most onlookers would agree that Cole still has something to give both at club and international level, and it would make perfect sense if Mourinho had in fact had an issue with the left-back's attitude more than anything else. Cole was dropped just after he attended Arsenal's Christmas party and reportedly reacted badly to his manager's decision.