What can you say about a World Cup where New Zealand V Slovakia is the most entertaining game on a day when Portugal played Ivory Coast and Brazil squared off with North Korea?! During this World Cup, many people have been annoyed by the Vuvuzelas but I’ve been more pained by the football or the lack thereof!
I don’t know if the teams are being over cautious as they don’t want to lose the opening games or the general standard of international football is on the wane. What I do know is that the World Cup is turning into a borefest.
In the past I’ve been extremely critical of the Sith Lord of Anti-Football who managed Inter and achieved exceptional success with the club this year. My main argument always has been that if managers at top clubs resort to extremely negative tactics and achieve success it will tempt all the smaller teams to follow suit. That is exactly what we are seeing at this World Cup as teams focus on defence and negative tactics in an attempt to avoid defeat and hope of sneaking a win.
To be fair, I would never blame North Korea or other smaller and inexperienced nations/teams if they parked the bus in each and every game. But when you have a team like Portugal, ranked 3rd by FIFA, setting its stall out and hoping for a win through a Ronaldo rocket or a dive, it becomes impossible to appreciate or respect. Under Dunga, even Brazil have adopted a negative approach in a quest for success. This is evident from the way they play and the fact that they had five 0-0 draws in qualification!
I hope the trend will change as we get into the second and third round of group games but it’s difficult to imagine. As long as success is valued more than anything else and a win at all costs mentality persists ordinary fans will have to endure the travails of watching anti-football.
Some teams do try to do it the right way. Spain are obviously the best in that regard and while I hate the media manipulation by the management and players of Barcelona, their football deserves a great deal of credit. Hopefully, we will see an exhibition of pure football from the Spaniards against a Swiss team that is likely to shut up shop.
I’m not sure Cesc will start this one. He has been injured for a long time and a lack of match fitness might affect the manager’s decision. Watching El Capitan and Xavi together on the pitch is a mouth watering, and at the same time, nerve-wracking prospect! Even then, I truly wish Fabregas gets to play a lot as that will surely give him the chance of winning the Golden Ball.
In the other game in group H Chile take on Honduras. The South Americans have come into the World Cup with a reputation of being a very positive side. They won more games than Brazil in the qualifying stage and ended second behind the top ranked team by only a point. Their goals for tally was just one less than Brazil and significantly higher than Paraguay and Argentina.
I’m also looking forward to watching Alexis Sanchez in action. Media reports and youtube clips have served as a nice appetizer. His skills remind me of the Brazilian World Cup winner Denilson. Let’s hope the youngster’s career doesn’t follow the same path.
Some experts consider Chile to be the dark horses for the tournament. I haven’t seen enough of their play to form a firsthand opinion and that’s another reason I’m quite excited about tomorrow’s fixtures.
Curiously enough, both Chile and Spain teams share the nickname La Roja and we can certainly do with some Red in a World Cup that’s been full of Black tactics!