How I Lost 7-2

The joy of living in another country is that you get to follow two teams in the World Cup. Double the opportunity for some glory. It also doubles you opportunity for misery. I got a double dose of the latter. The first infusion of misery hurt most. England being knocked out by Germany.

Yes, Germany were the better team. Yes, England’s defence looked as solid as a paper house in a hurricane. Yes, John Terry probably does a better job of staying erect with team mates girlfriends than on a football pitch. But if you think you’re about to read a humble post from a gracious loser, you’ve so come to the wrong blog!

In the northern hemisphere at the moment, in a small town in south London, Wimbledon I think it’s called, there is a tennis tournament going on. And they have this fancy little device called Hawkeye. It will tell your ears quicker than your eyes can tell your brain that a small, fluffy green ball less than 3″ in diameter, travelling at up to three times the speed of a football, has gone 1mm wide of a chalk line.

In the southern hemisphere, at the World Cup, you have three officials running round a pitch like they’re playing a game of musical chairs at an RNIB Christmas party. And getting things hopelessly wrong. Repeatedly. And yet I don’t blame the referee. Who, when shown the video replay at half time, is reported to have exclaimed ‘Oh my god!‘ Read the rest of the article for a more objective account of the point I’m trying to make.

Why is there no goal line technology in football? If you don’t know, here’s the reason. Because Fifa, and Sepp Blatter in particular, don’t want it. Because, apparently, football should be the same game whether played in a World Cup final or on a Sunday afternoon in an amateur league in Blackburn Lancashire. What a load of nonsense!

How many amateur teams play on pitches with under soil heating, that are maintained by a professional crew? How many amateur teams pay their players millions of pounds a year? How many amateur teams have tens of millions of fans watching them on television? How many amateur teams call off games because there’s a bit of ice on the road outside the ground?

How many amateur teams screw around with each others girlfriends? Ok, the last point might be both irrelevant and just as true as the pros. But still. You get my point. The amateur game and the professional games already have massive differences between them. Adding some technology to the professional game isn’t going to kill the amateur sport.

Sometimes games are won or lost according to who takes their chances and who doesn’t. Today it was about who’s goals were allowed and who’s goals weren’t. I know, I know. Germany went on to score two more after that incident. But that goal would have brought England level at 2-2. And that changes the game. The whole style of the game. If England hadn’t had to chase the game. If, if, if.

Maybe Germany would have gone on to win 6-2. Maybe England would have sneaked a third and triumphed. Maybe undeservedly so. I don’t care. Who knows? We’ll never know. It’s not fair on the fans who paid thousands upon thousands of ever devaluing British pounds to travel half way round the world to see their team. They paid enough to deserve to know what would have happened.

But such is life. It wasn’t to be. It turned out that Adolf needn’t have been so concerned after all. My Mexican amigos have common ground to commiserate with me too, after the first goal that Argentina scored was so blatantly off side. It had been a tight game before that. the goal really knocked the wind out of their sails. They lost their composure, discipline and soon after a second goal – game over.

So that’s probably pretty much the last of my World Cup posts. Maybe I’ll find some enthusiasm to write something more come the latter stages of the competition. Otherwise, I’ll sign off now. What’s left to say. Oh, I know…..who won the bloody war anyway?! 🙂

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Tsk. The Beeb are getting clever. The video won’t work if you’re outside the UK. Click here to see a slightly crappy video of the disallowed goal, to see just how bloody far it was over the line!

[tweetmeme style=”compact” source=”themexile” service=”bit.ly”]


14 thoughts on “How I Lost 7-2

  1. steve says:

    Well, neither the English nor the Mexican team will be executed when they return home,
    unlike the North Korean team.

    So, there is an upside to everything!


  2. Opatije says:


    I agree with 100 percent. This is has nothing to do with world class event anymore. Close calls were always part of the “beautiful game” nothing compared to what just happened today. I used to play (years ago) in second division in one of the European countries. I swear I have never seen anything so bad.

    England has a lot of work before 2014. In my opinion the league is the main reason (and it has been for years now). Too many foreign “stars” and not enough local talent. The wealthy owners have gone absolutely insane and are in some sort of race to acquire global talent.

    Unfortunately for el Tri the tournament has ended on a sour note. Another dumb call (or lack of it in this case) and there goes the match. A lot of positive though for Mexico National Team. There’s an abundance of talent within the reach and with some luck the World Cup in Brasil may be the “one”. Vamos a ver…!

    I need to take a breather from this drama and will not be following the WC as I did up until today. I just don’t like the way FIFA is responding to the lack of professionalism from the refs.

    Viva Mexico por siempre!


    • The ‘too many foreign players in the Premier League’ is an argument that is made a lot. I disagree. The argument goes that because of the foreigners, there’s no room for up and coming English players in the Premier League, and therefore the England manager won’t have any players to choose from.

      The Premier League does have more non English players than English – that’s perfectly true. But there are nearly 200 English players to choose from. And Capello can only take 23 to a tournament. There’s almost 10 World Cup squads worth of English talent (if you can use the words ‘talent’ and ‘English’ in the same sentence this morning!) in the Premier League.

      In the old days, before the foreigners came, the argument was that we lacked the European technique. Well now we’ve imported so much of this European technique into our league, and enough of it has rubbed off, that’s not an argument made any more.

      For me the reality is that the EPL is the strongest league in the world, with the biggest share of the worlds top players, and the players in the England team get to test themselves against it week in, week out.

      So what is the problem? I’d point to a multitude of causes. Injuries – Ferdinand was missed hugely. Beckham could have made a contribution too. Form – Wayne Rooney just didn’t turn up to the World Cup. He hasn’t rediscovered his touch since coming back from injury. John Terry is always a liability, but his form hasn’t recovered since the Veronica Peroncel scandal.

      I think it’s also fair to put a share of the blame on Capello. He shouldn’t have left Walcott or Adam Johnson at home. He shouldn’t have played Gerrard out of position just to keep Lampard in the team. He shouldn’t have played with Rob Green in goal – we’d have played Ghana is he hadn’t let that dumb goal in against the US.

      The players deserve some as well. Only Steven Gerrard played consistently during the World Cup. The pressure seemed to get to them. It shouldn’t.

      Lastly, there was one clear issue that has been happening to England for years. They played as 11 individuals again, not as a team.

      By the way, the English press are labelling the England performance as dismal. I think that’s unfair. It’s the defence who deserve that tag. Going forward we were, if not spectacular, effective.

      Roll on Brazil 2014!!!


  3. Ian says:

    I agree with everything you say about technology, and hopefully after a World Cup loaded with mistakes (the USA had 2 legitimate goals disallowed as well), maybe Fifa will wake up and do something about it. But I won’t hold my breath. It’s Fifa, after all.

    On England, we are just not one of the best teams in the world. Our lack of world-class technique and composure on the ball is frightening. It’s glossed over in the Premier League, but there’s a reason why the top clubs use so few English players. England play a game based on pace and power, but there is so little subtlety, creativity or flair. We can handle weaker teams like Slovenia and the dross we met in qualifying, but as soon as we come up against a team with genuine class, we struggle. We lack ideas.

    On Mexico, they are a technically better side than England, but don’t have enough quality in enough positions to punch with the big boys. If they try to play the likes of Argentina at their own game, they will always come up short.

    Argentina and Spain have played the best football in this tournament and I look forward to a semi-final between them. The winner will probably face Brazil in the final.


    • I just mentioned the ‘foreigners’ thing on my previous comment. But to pick up on your point that top EPL clubs don’t use many English players. They do use a lot of foreigners, especially Liverpoool and Arsenal, but here’s some stats:

      I yesterday’s game, there were 14 English players who took part:

      7 players play for the traditional Big Four
      12 players play for teams who qualified for Europe last season
      6 players have played in a Champions League final
      13 players have played in European competition

      So it is fair to say that the England team are used to playing at the highest level!

      I’m looking forward to an Argentina Spain semi too. I think Spain are likely to win this tournament, but I’d prefer to see Argentina win it.


  4. I think of far more concern than the similarity of experience for players should be the similarity of experience for the millions of sports viewers around the world. If we have technological help in cricket, tennis and rugby, then why the heck do we not have it in football. It is just stupid. If they want to make their millions via sponsorships and viewing rights then they (as in FIFA) have to allow the rules to be played as witnessed by the viewers. I’m not saying we get a say but if a couple of million people see a ball go in, then it needs to stand.


  5. Brian says:

    I heard FIFAs new idea to solve some of the problems is too now stop showing the replays on the monitors at/during games so the crowd does not get carried away when mistakes are made. Great.

    If/Do you only use technology for line calls? What about when USA goal was called off on phantom call from ref? Do you stop the game then to look at replays? Every time a player takes a dive? That would really affect the game. How about just placing a ref that stands behind each goal at this level.?.

    On reason I love soccer is because it is not an exact science.

    What was up at half time in the Mexico-Argentina game when both teams were exiting the field? There seemed to be some pushing and shoving and a lot of yelling going on for some time before being broken up and teams went to locker rooms?


    • Good question. I think when it comes to using technology during gameplay, we should differentiate between mistakes and cheating. In the case of Lampard’s and Tevez’s goals, and in all cases of offsides and balls over lines (or not) this is an exact science. It either crossed the line or it didn’t. A player is either offside or it isn’t. a decision can be made by a referee watching a monitor in seconds.

      The delay argument is no argument in my opinion. I’ve seen linesmen flagging for 10, 20, even 30 seconds before a referee sees his flag, stops the game and calls it back. A video decision can be made quicker.

      Cheating and deciding if a tackle is good or bad is harder to judge and even a little subjective. This can’t and shouldn’t be decided by a ref watching a monitor during game play. By these standards of course, Maradona’s goal in ’86 and Henry’s handball against Ireland would stand.

      I have no perfect solution to that, except to say that all handballs, accidental or not, should result in an indirect free kick unless a referee judges it to be deliberate. This makes matters more clear cut when being dealt with later. Combined with tougher punishments for cheats.

      There has to be an onus on players to play honestly. Cheats should be punished harshly. I’d have no problem with a result being allowed to stand when the game is won due to a handball. But any offending player who does not inform the referee that a handball occurred should be banned from all competitive international games for 30 monthss, effectively missing the remainder of the tournament and the next major tournament, and all domestic games for 6 months, and fined his wages for those entire periods.

      Neither Maradona nor Henry would then be able to complain. They’d know the rules, they’d have the opportunity to own up at the time and avoid the punishment, and if they failed to do so, they take the consequences.

      Same applies to players deliberately feigning injury when video shows there was no contact whatsoever. I’m thinking of the Ivory Coast player and Kaka in the current World Cup.

      We might well lose some fabulous talent. So what? At least the game is being played as it should.


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