Worst World Cup Ever? (World Cup Braindump #2)
Well, of course it isn’t the worst World Cup ever. Not yet, anyway. It’s only been going a few days. However, I’m not one to let accusations of hyperbole to get in the way of my headlines. As World Cup Fever brings the nation and its newspapers to the brink of insanity, here is the latest installment of my brain-thoughts on Holland, Italy and more.
- I have a sneaky feeling that Holland’s 2-0 win over Denmark flattered the Dutch a little. While Holland looked robust in midfield, they didn’t seem quite as creative up front as they might have. A lucky own goal, and a late second as Denmark chased the game, are not signs of a dominant Dutch performance. While Denmark were uninspired up front, I’d expect them to improve. I had reasonably high hopes for the game, which like many others, it failed to live up to.
- Japan and Cameroon wasn’t the most inspiring effort, either. Cameroon look pretty disorganised and I think are likely candidates to go hope without a point. Again, not an amazing game, but to be fair, did anyone expect it to be?
- Italy/Paraguay was fun, if only to see another seeded team struggle like England. England are not alone in having a poor start! Paraguay were very unlucky not to win, and would have done if it wasn’t for some horrible goalkeeping. England are not alone in having a clumsy ‘keeper! Italy seemed determined to live up to the cliché of being slow starters in tournaments. They must be grateful to be in a reasonably straightforward group.
- Today we see those rank outsiders New Zealand and North Korea for the first time. Maybe goals? Or more likely, frustrating defensive displays as they park their proverbial buses in front of goal (and will Brazil be as pragmatic as many fear, even against North Korea?). I may even risk a tiny flutter on New Zealand getting the draw.
- Portugal/Ivory Coast looks enticing, but I think we’re all learning not to get our hopes up too much. It’s a real shame that most of us will miss this 3pm game. The radio awaits!
Oh dear. Have just listened to POrtugal and Ivory Coast on the radio and am glad I wasn’t in front of a television. Dreadful match, clearly the worst so far. There do seem to be issues with the standard of games this year. Is it the ball? I doubt it. Is it over-cautious coaching? Possibly but even Argentina struggled to break Nigeria’s defence down and you’d hardly accuse Maradona of being a negative coach. Is it the result of ten arduous months of domestic football in the European leagues for many of the players now representing their countries? Possibly but you could have said the same about the last world cup in Germany and there were plenty of memorable games in the group stages back then. So the only option left is to blame the vuvuzelas. After all, who wants to play football in front of what sounds like a crowd of a billion irritated wasps?
Portugal/Ivory Coast sounded dreadful, didn’t it? And 90 minutes of Robbie Savage cracking jokes didn’t help either. I’m sure the vuvuzelas are at fault. I think they are to blame for most things. They are the new “I blame Nick Clegg”. They’ll be forming a coalition with the Tories before you know it.
I was praying Robbie Savage would get a ball in the face like he did when he was co-commentating at a Premier League game recently. It would have livened events up. Having now seen Ronaldo’s free kick and Drogba’s cameo I think there were slightly better moments in the game than Alan Green made it appear. But Maicon’s goal for Brazil later eclipsed everything that’s happened so far. The debate about whether he meant it as a cross or a shot will probably rage for seasons to come but for me he was shooting on goal and it was a slice of the beautiful game (excellent pass to set him up too).
It certainly was a great pass, and a lovely goal. However, I’m conditioned to believe that whenever a goal is scored at the ‘keeper’s near post, the goalkeeper is at fault. There was certainly a big swerve, but I bet he was disappointed to let that one in.
It was definitely a bad bit of positioning by the keeper by I think he expected the ball to go out before Maicon could get there. That’s how it looked to me in ‘real time’ on the TV but the replays showed just how good the pass was as it was inch perfect for the shot. I doubt very much if any Korean players consider they can score from the position Maicon was in, which might have given the keeper false confidence too.