I’m not a fan of the World Cup. I suppose it’s necessary, given that football (not soccer, Mr. Beckham, get it right) needs to sell itself around the world. I can also appreciate that any footballer worth his salt will want to test himself against the best.
I just can’t work up enthusiasm for the competition. You could argue that it’s because we never do as well as we think we should and I’m no different from any other fan but you’d be wrong. I’d like England to win and I do watch England games. I also watch other matches when they are on and there’s no better choice but the interest, the adrenaline just isn’t there.
I actively dislike the accompanying fanfare, from the draw to the post-game analysis. I’d say about 98% was unnecessary. It bores me rigid and I never, never, watch any of the pre-match buildup. Does anyone?
What else? Ah yes, the cheating. The deliberate fouls, the attempts to con the ref. They’re prevalent enough in the English Premier League but there is the possibility that justice will be done retrospectively and over 38 games there’s a chance things will even out. In Brazil, in the showplace of soccer (there we go again) there’s little chance of repair and the cynical attempts to gain an edge risk destroying the competition. They began with Brazil, on the opening day, and moved to a new level with Ecuador, who seem to have decided to kick their way out of the competition, but there have been others.
And now we have Germany joining in through a disgraceful reaction from Muller to the slightest of raised hands from Pepe. Pepe no doubt was going to be sanctioned (and I’m in no way condoning his subsequent behaviour) but Muller, writhing in agony one moment, jumping up like a jack-in-the box the next, did enough to ensure the card was red, much to the delight of the German bench. At two-nil up it was enough to ensure the victory, and it stinks.
This could have been one of the best games of the tournament. Now it’s tainted, and tainted with it is a team that looked like one of the contenders. I can’t see me watching the final if Germany get there, unless perhaps they’re playing England. Whatever they do now they have diminished themselves and they won’t be worthy winners.