A billion viewers can’t be wrong!
Off the top, fair play to Spain, they proved they are the best and took the high road against a Dutch team who played like louts and should have ended the game with nine players on the field. Luckily it didn’t go to penalties, there would have been riots if Holland won over Spain.
Match ref Howard Webb is getting hammered from all sides – so he must have done something right…with 14 yellow and one red card, it was a tough game to officiate but the consensus is that de Jong should have been shown the red. Guardian has a good write up on the ref’s dream job here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/jul/12/howard-webb-final-nightmare-yellow-cards
The 2010 World Cup will certainly be memorable, but not really for the football. It is great that Spain now has a seat at the table with those other teams bearing a star above their flag, but the incessant vuvuzelas drowning out the fans passion won’t be missed. This was certainly a politically and culturally successful tournament, but game was lacking, from bad referee calls, to just plain boring games. Commenters on 606 had it right when they quoted Inter’s Jose Mourinho as saying the UEFA Champions league is bigger and more important than the World Cup. The semis and quarters had some gripping games, Japan and Ghana putting in some great efforts, and the young German team has a very bright future.
England’s miserable performance won’t be missed, the question being will they learn and put forth a more creative performance in the coming tourneys. I like my analogy about the 2004 Team USA Olympic basketball team and England’s performance as a team – the difference being that at least the US dream team got a bronze. Still, even the Three Lions woes pail in comparison to the embarrassment that was the the French performance. We’ll see what Fabio brings to the next games – and what lessons have been learned when England take on Hungary in August.
Sepp is going to have to give in on goal line technology, whether it’s a ref in the stands, or watching the line from behind the goal, or a box on the sidelines, something has to change. The purists will disagree, and the implementation will be a big debate, i.e. will each manager have three calls per game, one call per half or some sort of other hybrid way to object to calls. As long as the pace of the game doesn’t suffer (think NFL) because of reviews, this may help balance the outcome of some of these games. FIFA claims they got 96% of the calls correct in the tournament, that four percent is the kick-in-the-teeth for the offended parties though.
I suppose when things are new, people will complain, but it seems like the Jabulani ball was a bit of failure. Hopefully a ball players can find more predictable will make for a better tourney in ’14.
There is someone who got it right the whole tourney…Paul the Octopus – if anyone deserves the golden boot, it is him, the marvelous mollusk, an English transplant in Germany, beat 300-1 odds to nail all of the final games. Fair play. If we can keep him alive another four years without him being eaten or whacked by the bookies, I think we may have another champion.
Here’s the premier league starting back up, with the Toons back in the top flight, and to the Euro competition.