So Far…So Average (World Cup Braindump #9)

by Steve

So, the group stage is nearly over. And we’re over half way through the tournament, at least in terms of games. This has not been a classic so far. In fact, the most memorable moments have generally involved New Zealand. And who would have thought that? Well, I did predict they might get a draw, but still, I didn’t think they would be the story of the group stage. Although now we have some big guns out – in the 2006 finalists France and Italy, and the knockout stage rapidly taking shape.

  • One of Ghana/USA/Uruguay/South Korea will make the semi-finals. This just shows how important group position can be, for the rest of the tournament. The so-called ‘smaller’ nations will continue to have their days in the sun.
  • Italy and France really were rubbish, weren’t they? But then again, on another day the likes of England and Germany might have failed to qualify, and Spain’s qualification is still in the balance.
  • Is that because the smaller teams have improved and worked out how to get a result?
  • Or is it because the big sides have woefully underperformed?
  • More of the latter, I reckon.
  • And what’s with all this bulletpoint for each sentence, anyway?
  • There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of evidence for games becoming more entertaining and open. As we reach the knockout stage, will teams get even more cautious? I hope not, but at least we should get some genuine tension and drama…if not a hat-full of goals.
  • It may not be a popular point to make, but the refereeing has been pretty solid so far. When refereeing decisions are out of the headlines, you know they are doing a good job. Can that continue for an entire tournament?
  • Now the lunchtime games are over and done with, I want the weekday afternoon games to finish too. It’s bad enough watching bad games on television, but a poor game on the radio is far, far worse, as the commentators struggle to find something to say. Maybe I should just turn off Ivory Coast/North Korea now. And maybe I shouldn’t have had a flutter on Ivory Coast getting a load of goals. It started so promisingly!
  • It is such a shame that some knockout games are during working hours. I’m sure there are many sensible reasons for it, but would it really have hurt to have had 5pm and 7.3opm kick-offs?
  • The England jingoist machine is spluttering into life. I shudder to think what Sunday’s newspaper headlines will be. Or Monday’s for that matter.
  • Just think, there’s a very good chance that England’s World Cup will be over by Monday.
  • Or if it is not, we may well have a week of England/Argentina hype. While the game would be a mouth-watering prospect, a week of Hand of God/Falklands nonsense certainly wouldn’t be. I guess I should cheer on Mexico then. I mean, I love Mexican food, and I have them in the office sweepstake. It makes sense.
  • This World Cup is still waiting to come alive. I really hope the group stages are the build-up, the slow burn, to something better, not a portent for a pedestrian, defensive tournament as a whole.
  • It is wrong that I’m still excited? Even a bad World Cup is better than no World Cup, eh?