Monday, 21 June 2010

World Cup Observations - Part 2: June 17-21

1. We all love Brazil. Ask any football fan throughout the world to talk about the best teams, players, goals or matches they've ever seen, you can bet your left kidney that that Brazil will feature in some context. The South Americans pretty much represent what 'good football' should be and are recognised the world over for their approach to the game. Basically, you can't be a real football fan if you don't hold Brazil or Brazilians in such high regard.

The problem with this sycophancy however means that one may be inclined to turn a blind eye when they do wrong. Forget the World Cup, Luis Fabiano showed such brilliant hand control for his second goal against the Ivory Coast that he would walk into the LA Lakers team that won the NBA title last week!

I'm still waiting for the 'experts' to come out and condemn Fabiano as a cheat who should be banned, claim that he has tarnished his reputation forever, suggest the game be replayed or that Brazil should be thrown out of the tournament. No? It seems they get a pass.

Those pretty gold shirts have clearly blinded us all into hypocrisy.


2. Of course, that goal wasn't the only bad decision by referee Stephane Lannoy. Kaka's second yellow card and subsequent sending off had half the world spitting blood to rightly condemn the disgraceful play-acting by Abdel-Kader Keïta that resulted in the red.

However, what seems to be ignored is how often the Brazilians themselves would roll around clutching their ankles, knees and whatever else after almost every Ivorian challenge before leaping up and sprinting away once they got the decision.

If Karma existed (which it doesn't!) then some people would claim that Kaka taking an early bath was a perfect example of it.

Others would suggest it has been eight years coming following this against Turkey...

Coincidentally, Keïta himself plays for Galatasaray meaning he's probably going to go back to his club a hero for extracting some measure of revenge on the behalf of his adopted country.


3. So the Kiwis have gone and picked up a SECOND point in the tournament. This time, remarkably, against the current World Champions. Football in New Zealand may have no kind of future but certainly a less patronising congratulations is in order.

Especially as it turns out that they are now just as good as England.


4. Speaking of the Three Lions...

I don't think this warrants any comment from me otherwise I'll end up writing my rantings until the NEXT World Cup! For the record, I'm obviously disappointed but 100% confident England will get the result they need on Wednesday – despite the best efforts of 'Jay-Tee' – and go through. More learned people than myself can break down exactly why.


5. The fall-out from the England game has seen a fan looking like he's facing conviction for trying to get into the team changing room.

I sympathise with him as it would be easy to confuse the England dressing room for the toilet given how 'piss-poor' we played.


6. There have been rumours of player unrest in the England camp. Not to be outdone, the French took our rumours chewed them up, spat them out and defecated on them before kicking them into touch with a full on civil war! With their strikes, statements and public fallings out, France are doing things in style. Although Nic Anelka going home just means he has a two day head start on his mates who will surely be on the plane come Wednesday morning. I think the French Football Federation ought to add another couple of F's for F****** Farcical.

As much as it looks like France are amusingly about to crash out, I just hope there's no Austria-Germany style Jiggery-pokery and skulduggery in the Uruguay/Mexico match (where a 'convenient' draw will take both of sides through).


7. Last week I mentioned a Dutch-German switcheroo and it continued in the second round of group games as the Germans, after previously adopting their great football style, decided to adopt the Dutch trait of self-destruction with a pointless sending off, a missed penalty (No, I still can't believe it either) and ultimately a defeat.

Meanwhile, the traditionally entertaining Dutch earned a 'functional' 1-0 win over Japan. Wesley Sneijder scored an ugly goal to win a match in which the football was about as attractive as Kerry Katona pleasuring herself with a toilet brush.


8. I'm really happy with the BBC's commitment to making sure their TV coverage of the tournament is as much about South Africa as a country as it is about football. That country has been through a hell of a lot to get where they are today and it's bloody important that people know it.

And what's the alternative on the other side? Oh yes, James Fecking Cordon.


9. Who thought that Slovenia v USA would be the Game of the tournament so far? Also will be interesting to see how the Yanks react to being 'robbed' if that disallowed goal ultimately costs them qualification from the group stage. It's no secret that 'Soccerball' is not the most popular sport across the pond so maybe a bit of injustice and righteous indignation will be what it takes to spark more of an interest over there.


10. Those bloody Iberians, eh? While some people dared to muse about the number of upsets so far and shifts in power, they just had to go and ruin the whole 'surprise' nature of the tournament by going out and being so frighteningly dominant in their respective games.

Although a wasteful Spain must be wondering how they didn't eclipse the sphincter-splitting pounding their neighbours inflicted on Korea DPR just a few hours earlier.


11. Speaking of whom, it's a shame there won't be any football highlights in Pyongyang tonight....

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