The answer is Sven

He's so tight-lipped that he makes the players nervous

In some ways, I wish it was all over. I'm knackered with the tension. Then I look on the bright side. Perhaps the secret of England's success in this World Cup will be playing rubbish all the way through to the final, plus the luck of the draw, plus better sides killing each other off. So we don't need England to get better, but stagger on, till they stagger over the finishing line. Four rubbish games down. Just another three rubbish games to go. Sorted.

At least the worst of the physical tension is over. I set myself the task of watching every live game, from two in the afternoon till ten at night, or 10.30 with extra time. So far, I have seen 48 games. Once the quarter-finals are over, with or without England, there will be a bit more space for, well, living.

Are you looking for sympathy? Did anyone ask you to do it? Do I have to ask you again: clear those empty bottles, crisp packets and dead fruit, bin those newspapers, pick up those cushions and, ugh, the smell in here - why can't you open a window? For 19 days, it's been like going on a long-haul flight every day. And as with long-haul flying, you tend to eat too much, drink too much, go into a slump, semi-dozing, semi-living, so you don't know where you are, which day, which country.

Good job I always fly club class. Here in Lakeland, I have my own cabin, a little TV room at the back of the house where I sprawl out on a couch and surround myself with goodies. The stewardess gets a bit ratty at times, but then they often do, bringing meals when you're not quite ready, wanting you to look at safety instructions when you're trying to work out what the referee Graham Poll is doing.

Poor lad. For two seasons he's had Premiership crowds chanting, "Oh, Graham Poll, you're a fucking arsehole", while managing to retain his superior smile. And yet, until that balls-up of a game between Oz and Croatia, when he gave out three yellows to the same player, and then that ref losing control in the Holland-Portugal game, I'd been thinking the World Cup refs had been doing pretty well. Most are so handsome, lean and fit, and I do love their ducky new outfits with the flash bit at the front. In fact, I'd just thought, with the proliferation of repro football shirts, why do you never see anyone wearing a ref's shirt? This World Cup could have started a new fashion, until Graham Poll came along.

So what is the point of the dinky little mouth mikes which look as if a white tapeworm has crawled out of their chops? Aren't they meant to allow a linesman or fourth official to tell the ref he's made a mistake? The other question is why England so often play badly in the second half, whereas, in the Premiership, our lads keep going to the end.

The answer is obvious - Sven. He's the difference. They come in at half-time, see him slumped or, at best, tight-lipped, offering nothing. On the bench he's silent, not like Scolari or most decent managers. Players might hate managers screaming and shouting at them, but it scares the shit out of them. When Sven does get round to changes, they are so often negative, making them more nervous.

One interesting thing about this World Cup has been the Germans no longer hating Jürgen Klinsmann for being an absentee manager. Living in California, he hardly saw any league games. Unlike Sven. He's trailed round hundreds - but he appears to have learned nothing. Watch him on the bench, dazed and stunned. It's as if he's been on a long-haul flight for the past five years.

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