could only draw with sweden ranked 9 or 10 places below them!
Oh come on. Surely you don't take FIFA rankings seriously. USA are ranked 5th, Mexico 4th FFS. Denmark and Nigeria who are not even in the World Cup are ranked higher than Italy, Sweden and Germany. You say that as if Sweden are some team of nobodies who don't belong at the World Cup.
And besides, 9 places is hardly a mammoth gap is it? A quick search tells me England are 10, Germany 19. It wouldn't exactly cause shockwaves throughout the world for 19th to beat 10 would it? The rankings are a joke.
(Sweden are 16th for the record, is drawing with the team 6 places below you really that huge of an embarrassment as you make out? Probably wouldn't be that big a deal in tennis for10th seed to lose to 16th would it?)
By that logic, I guess we should consider Tursunov useless as he just lost to Murray who is ranked 14 places below him?
We didn't play like world beaters, but we topped the group unbeaten. Don't get me wrong, I don't think we will go anywhere close to winning it, won't go further than the quarter finals if we even manage to get past Ecuador (which I don't think we will), but some of the criticism is also a little unfair IMO. Brazil have hardly looked invincible either. Stumbled to a 1-0 win over Croatia, who might have even beaten them had they had some sort of class up front (much like our match against Paraguay) and it took them 2 2nd half goals to beat Australia and they never looked that comfortable (much like our match against Trinidad). Mexico (ranked 4th in the world, as we are quoting rankings) "could only draw with" Angola, ranked 57 - a whole 53 places below. Surley a worse result than us drawing with Sweden. The Czechs lost to Ghana (ranked 2nd and 48th respectively). That's the beauty of the world cup. You get results like this. There's not many sports where you would get something like a Senegal beating France or a Korea beating both Italy and Spain. Football is one such sport where it happens.
Conclusion - Rankings mean f*** all
*Rankings quoted from www.fifa.com
(I'm not disagreeing with you as a whole Neil, I agree we are not one of the main contenders, if even a contender at all. Just disagree with your notion that a draw with Sweden was a terrible result as they are ranked so far below us)