Saturday, June 10, 2006

Quadrennial hell

So the whole world is getting ready for the World Cup, the quadrennial fest of footballing excellence.

Hoo. Ray.

Am I the only one who finds all the hype over the top? Think of the negatives:

1) Too many crap teams. This year’s cup boasts a uniquely embarrassing set of really bad teams. Angola, Togo, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Trinidad in particular will not only be going home without points, but quite likely without much dignity left, either. Japan, South Korea, and Costa Rica, are also likely to underwhelm. Collectively, they will be providing us with about 45 hours of really tedious football over the next three weeks.

2) Even good teams struggle to play good football. It’s summer, it’s hot – definitely not football weather. Plus few teams play together sufficiently often to develop the kind of squad cohesiveness that permits play to truly flow the way it does at a good club. With the exception of Brazil, it’s hard to think any national team could compete with Barcelona or Chelsea.

3) Too few good goalkeepers. Apart from Buffon and Casillas, there really aren’t many around. Defensive heroics are part of a good game of football – don’t expect much on this score over the next few weeks.

4) Brazil. The selecao’s dominance of world football is getting irritating. There was a nice spell there between 1970 and 1994 where Brazil would put together spectacular teams but still lose. This year, it seems unlikely that anything will get between them and a fourth-straight appearance in the finals. A re-emergence of multipolarity in international football would be a good thing; sadly, the Porto Allegre crowd won’t be taking up this idea any time soon.

5) FIFA itself. These guys make the IOC look like Franciscans with a Sarbanes-Oxley fetish. Parasitism at its worst.

Still, roll on. At least it’s a common narrative for a few weeks.


Blogger Stéphane said...

"These guys make the IOC look like Franciscans with a Sarbanes-Oxley fetish."

That's awesome. Only you and McGowan could ever write a line like that one.

5:42 PM  

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