Sunday, 20 June 2010

World Cup Brief

This World Cup has seen me twitting with much gust, but I thought a short post here is still due; the privilege of unlimited space to state my claim with is beckoning.
When it comes to earning my support, my heart usually goes out to the teams that play the most attractive football. Traditionally these had been Holland and Brazil, lately to be joined by Spain; however, thus far in the tournament my love lies elsewhere. Holland has been quite boring, Brazil plays way too tactically and its players tend to fall down way too easily (Joga Bonito? Who are they kidding?), and Spain's only game thus far has been quite a spectacular failure (why did they play with just one striker?).
Thus I find myself rooting for other teams this time around. The USA has captured my heart with their fighting spirit; the fact they have been disallowed a proper victory against Slovenia for no particular reason other than bad refereeing has only added to my affection towards this team that seems to always play from behind, as if unable to function otherwise.
However, my biggest love this tournament goes to the team I loved to hate since its invocation of the hand of god; the team I've enjoyed seeing slaughtered by an inspirational goal from Dennis Bergkamp back in 1998. Yes, I'm talking about Argentina, by far the most attractive team of the tournament: I'd love to see them take this one if they continue playing the way they had done so far. My only fear is their obvious susceptibility to weakness when playing a tactical team. On the other hand, the European teams that stand as their biggest challengers tend to fail when playing outside their home continent, so we'll have to see how we go: play for 90 minutes and take it one game at a time. Remember, the ball is round.


One last comment about Australia and Harry Kewell's red card playing Ghana:
Since several people have asked for my opinion as the representative bloody foreigner who knows this game of football better than true blood Aussies, I will state that to my understanding Kewell's red card is well in accordance with football regulations.
However, in my opinion the regulation is stupid and has a record of ruining many a good football game (including Arsenal's only Champions League final a few years ago): Once a penalty has been given there is no need for the red card; a yellow card will do. The red card just ruins the rest of the game as the red carded team cannot match a full squad; what we end up having is no longer a viable sporting competition, which leaves the whole audience penalized and not just the offending team. Straight red cards, in my opinion, should be limited to treating violence.
That said, one cannot expect the referee to apply anything but the written law. Were he to act on common sense he would have never been allowed to referee another match. No, the problem is with FIFA to fix; then again, FIFA is so corrupt we should not hold our breath. FIFA, for example, is the one responsible for introducing a beach ball into World Cup proceedings (aptly named Jabulani, or "balloon" in common English), just so it and Adidas can make a killing. Not only that, they've allowed Germany to have an unfair advantage and play with said beach ball for six months while other countries did not have access to it.
For now, instead of trying to fix the world we should take comfort in the fact Australia's has not been the last football game to be ruined by silly decisions. Statistically speaking, these decisions tend to go in favor of the better teams, which does say something.

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