(an impressive display from Lionel “Don’t Call Me Shep” Messi)

Not only did Argentina’s clinical demolition of Serbia & Monetenegro earlier today place the U.S. in the improved spot of third-from-bottom in the World Cup’s goal differential standings, but it should also have been useful viewing for Sven-Goran Erickson ahead of England’s June 20 clash with Sweden writes the Telegraph’s Henry Winter.

Not only must England finish top of Group B to avoid the possibility of facing Argentina in the quarter-finals of this compelling World Cup, Sven’s men must also embrace the Latins’ philosophy of treating the ball as a precious gift to be shared among friends. Argentina’s top-of-the-bill variety show in Gelsenkirchen, the most bewitching display of a tournament of gathering grandeur, has not so much put down a marker as thrown down a gauntlet. Match us if you can.

If England are to live with the flair offered by Argentina, they must get their technique and their tactics right. They cannot simply rely on David Beckham’s right foot, Peter Crouch’s head and Steven Gerrard’s heart and lungs. Or hope that Ashley Cole’s slight thigh problem eases so he can provide more zest down the left.

I’m not going to claim I didn’t laugh at Peter Crouch being set up by that would-be Ashton Kutcher, Rio Ferdinand, but it does seem like somebody in the football community could easily arrange some kind of revenge scenario involving a missed-drug-test-while-shopping. Not that Rio would ever be so careless.