WE THINK that we beat ourselves up pretty badly when it comes to football – but I’m not sure we really match the passion of the Latins.

Certainly there was plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth after yet another insipid England performance in a major finals in South Africa last summer, but we are not the only ones to take defeat as a major national disaster.

And this week saw the Copa America leave the two giants of South American football going into the kind of soul-searching and recriminations that will either kill or cure.

Argentina and Brazil both made their exits from the competition at the quarter-final stage by losing penalty shoot-outs to Uruguay and Paraguay, respectively.

It is hard to know who was hurting most – Argentina because as hosts they expected to win the whole shooting match or Brazil, who were hoping to start taking the first steps to building the team that will win the World Cup in 2014 (which will be played on their soil).

The sports press in both countriespredictably hit the panic button with Argentina’s Ole branding their star-studded team’s tournament as ‘a failure from start to end’, while Brazil’s O Globo stated that ‘this new generation has started its career with failure’.

So while we may think we are the masters of making a mess of it, apparently we are in very good company – and one of these teams even has Lionel Messi!