World Cup Soapbox: can’t get any worse, can it?


So, seconds away, round two … anything – even boxing metaphors – to make the World Cup seem exciting. An event to remember? Certainly not so far, except for the plucky displays put up by unfancied sides against the more favoured. Pete Sixsmith looks back on a subdued (translation: dull as dishwater) first round …

Well, that’s it, the first round is over and I have seen every team – and so far I have not seen an exciting, end to end game with lots of goals and action and things like that.

I thought today’s games were a wee bit better than some of the dross that has passed by me in a haze. Chile looked useful and, even though Honduras were struggling, it was a game where both sides attacked.

Spain were shown to have feet of clay as they failed to break down a well organised Switzerland. Some good players on the Swiss side, performing their roles very, very well.

Tonight, Uruguay and Diego Forlan in particular were impressive. South Africa were another disappointment and I would be surprised if they now made it through the group.

But hasn’t the tournament been, well, rather dull, so far?

Faced with the prospect of watching Chile v Honduras or doing a maths programme, two of my Year 10s opted for maths.

Even the class bookie, who has us predicting the number of corners, bookings, goals in each half etc, was wilting this afternoon – although not enough to volunteer to do some work.

I think that one of the problems is that the sides are quite evenly matched. There is no Derby County or Darlington in the tournament, a team so bad that they are incapable of winning and perfectly capable of letting in a bagful of goals. The poorest side I have seen is Australia, a team loaded with Premier League players of a certain vintage.

Not only were Australia poor, they were nasty. Tim Cahill may have been a tad unfortunate to collect a red, but I think that the referee was sick and tired of the constant fouls and niggles, particularly from Lucas Neill, and just decided he had had enough “so I will send off the next Aussie who fouls. Bye, bye Tim”.

Crowds have held up well. If we get the bloody thing in 2018, will the Stadium Of Light be packed to the rafters for Slovakia v Algeria with a kick off time of 1.30pm? No. it won’t. Will there be a rush for tickets at £50 each for New Zealand v El Salvador. Don’t think so. Will Robbie Earle have to buy tickets like the rest of us? Think he might.

As for the burning topic of the day, ie what to do with the vuvuezela? It reminds me of a story told by a Liverpool fan in those distant days when Liverpool fans a) came from Liverpool and b) amused us with their native Scouse wit.

He said he had been watching the Cup Final and every so often there was a strange, high pitched whining sound in the background. It appeared every few minutes. He was just about to call Radio Rentals out (that dates the gag), when he realised it was just Alan Ball giving his views on the game.

Of “Our Lads” out there, I thought Da Silva had a very good game against Italy, tracking the opposition and missing very few tackles. Riveros seemed to be following his coach’s orders and played deep, although he put a shocking tackle in on an opponent in the first minute.

Big John Mensah was his usual immense self for Ghana. He stayed in the middle of the back four and hardly moved, like a huge rock on which Serbia’s attacks were dashed. No silly running around here, which is what we expect in our league. Sign him on, Brucey. He’s the best centre half we have had since Dave Watson.

I’m looking forward to Round 2 in the hope that it may get a little livelier and here are some predictions: England to draw 1-1 with Algeria; Paraguay to beat New Zealand 3-0 and France to scrape through.

For those in the commentary box: Mark Lawrenson to be beaten over the head with a vuvuezela (he really dislikes them – such a miserable sod), Chris Coleman to say something which can be heard over the drone of a fly, never mind 30,000 plastic trumpets and Andy Townsend to make an observation that is just a little less than obvious – although I won’t hold my breath for that.

Viva Paraguay!!!!

8 thoughts on “World Cup Soapbox: can’t get any worse, can it?”

  1. Domenech is the most ineffectual coach. How he could sit there and allow the tournament to simply drift away like that is incomprehensible. To leave the likes of Cisse and Henry on the bench in those circumstances beggars belief.

    I’ve said this before about Ribery, but he’s the most over rated footballer I’ve ever seen. Did he actually beat a Mexican player last night? I’m sure the bloke really looks world class just so long as there’s nobody trying to take the ball off him. Interesting scenario with final set of games coming up in that group. Second placed will likely face Argentina. Will Uruguay and Mexico just play out an uncompetitive 90 minutes to ensure they both qualify or go for the jugular in the knowledge that they could let France in through the back door should they stick a few goals past the South Africans. Surely, even France are capable of beating S. Africa comprehensively?

    I wonder what the odds are on Domenech being relieved of duties during the course of the World Cup. God knows it should have happened years ago. They got to the final last time in spite of him, and his departure must be long overdue in the eyes of the French public. The guy doesn’t even look remotely like a football manager. Domenech almost makes me grateful for Capello.

  2. I woukd have loved to have heard the convesation that Lord Frodsham (aka Djibril Cisse) was having with his fellow subs as they “warmed up” behind the goal. I don’t think it would have been very flattering to Dommenech.

  3. Tshabalala scored the South African “goal of the tournament” against Mexico. Got to a long ball through and just smashed it into the roof of the net, no doubt it was a great goal. Arguably the best of the tournament thus far, but the only bright spark it seems so far for the hosts.

    So far we’ve seen two demolishions in the second group matches so lets hope the good football continues to flow. Although Nigeria v Greece doesn’t have world beater written all over it in the slightest, another chance for us to see if Enyeama is as good as he was last week (and has been for years if you’re a Football Manager aficiando like myself!!)

  4. Pete (on Riveros) “he put a shocking tackle in on an opponent in the first minute.”

    I don’t think Cahill had anything to complain about. It was a nasty lunge.

    Yes, it reminded me of Ritchie Pitt on Sniffer Clark.

    I agree with most of the comments, and particularly Luke’s about switching from “not losing” to “winning.” I hope so. S Africa are the lowest ranked nation to host a World Cup, and it shows. I can’t understand for the life of me why their gaffer left out Benni McCarthy. I assumed that it was because they had an embarrassment of riches up front. It’s not much more than an embarrassment up front.

    Steve Banyard the commentator here (who is both horrible as well as clueless, by the way) was pointing to the S African lad (can’t remember his name), who scored against the Mexicans as if he’d just discovered the new Gerd Muller, remarking that the goal against Mexico “was being talked about as the goal of the tournament, by some.” The some may be a couple of schoolboys chatting at a bus stop somewhere in the Mendips, but was so ordinary that I couldn’t remember any details other than A Africa largely scoring against the run of play in that game.

    Chile might be the surprise package of the tournament. They move the ball around really well and work hard. Add Suazo to the line up for the next game and we might see something special from them.

    I seem to be in agreement with everyone for once and especially Keith with his comments about Blatter. Rather than oust him, can one of the fans just not simpy the integrity of a vuvuzuela as a rectal probe in his not inconsiderable posterior? I suspect it may produce one of the most tonallly satisfying sounds ever produced by this thing which is less a musical instrument than one of torture.

  5. the world cup coaches have a golden rule, don’t lose the first game, hopefully that will now be replaced with the have to win the 2nd game if you didn’t win the first rule. There has been much critism of this World Cup and its organisation, which is largely unfair. Grounds are usually full or he western stand are not quite full. These are the R1500 & R2000seats. A man working as a bricklayer gets paid R2000 a fortnight so he won’t take that option, these tickests were aimed at the travelling fans market. It is costing R30 for a bud at the grounds. Now these thinnly brewed weak ales are not on general sale in SA, a Castle will cost you R9 why do we have to pay more than 3 times that. FIFA have not considered the cost of living in SA and have oversold everything to the locals who are attending in their droves, Blatter needs to be ousted he belives he is a diety and untouchable. The Bafana have blown it, as we all knew they would, Parriera has been paid $200000 a month and has not unearthed any new talent or got them playing any better another WC money grabber.

  6. I tried to up my interest by being persuaded to enter a fantasy team in the Sky Sports league. The Spine of my team – Tommy in goal, the two obvious Paraguayans and (so I thought) big John at centre back. After the first round I thought I was OK. Shame Denmark conceded two especially as Tommy’s tip onto the post only needed another couple of inches to go out of play.
    Mensah I noticed had accumulated 5 points and that’s when I realised that in my haste I had picked Jonathan Mensah noy our erstwhile loanee. Sick as a parrot after a night on the Castle lager!

  7. It’s quite disgraceful really, all this football that’s going on at a perfectly good vuvuzela concert.

    As for the matches, the second set are going to be livelier. We already saw it with South Africa and Uruguay, two teams that needed to win to realistically stand a chance of going through and we got goals.

    The emphasis will shift from “not losing” to “winning”. From a neutrals point of view that should have been the order from day one, but quite frankly, I’ll put managing a team to World Cup glory over “letting the fans see reckless abandon football with loads of goals” anyday of the week.

Comments are closed.

Next Post