That’s how many days there are till the next World Cup tournament in Brazil. It seems such a long way off. It is. And one can only hope that the next competition, in the land of the people who make the game ‘beautiful’, will see a significant improvement in the quality, flair and skill that was displayed in this tournament. Or rather, what wasn’t displayed in this tournament. For most of it anyway. One would also hope to see a significant improvement in the quality of refereeing, with the addition of technology.
All the big name teams of whom so much was expected, failed to hit top form. The Spanish won the trophy with a series of 5 wins by a scoreline of 1-0. They managed to record the lowest number of goals scored by a winning team ever – that’s perhaps worse that it sounds as well, because until recently the competition didn’t feature 32 teams. More games, less goals. Pff.
Brazil looked fabulous now and then, but only now and then. Argentina played some decent football, but then sank without trace. Holland came close to winning every single game, both in qualifying and the tournament itself…but once the World Cup proper began, they never did look entirely convincing. Workmanlike would be a better description. And as for England….
Despite the lack of consistent quality, I enjoyed the World Cup hugely. Perspective I guess. I had two teams to cheer on. I also followed the Latin American teams, many of whom have players in the Mexican League.The Fifa Fan Fest in the Zocalo was great fun, and I’ve nearly, so nearly, finished my Panini sticker album.
There were plenty of bright spots over the last month as well. The stadiums looked fantastic, the atmosphere at games was great (and I like the vuvzelas!), there was plenty of drama and excitement, and there were a few pretty good goals – Suarez’ curler for Uruguay stood out for me. Uruguay themselves stood out, for everyone I suspect. And I don’t blame Suarez for his classy piece of work at the other end of the pitch by the way! Serves Ghana right for cheating to get the free kick in the first place.
The predictions. A few people added their predictions to my post. Two went for a Netherlands win. Close, but not close enough. To a degree I bombed. I picked England. But then again I always pick England. The other finalist I went for was Spain. And I had the Netherlands down as the beaten semi finalists by England. So if you remove my optisimism from the chart, I got things perfectly right!
Sure, Mexico didn’t make the semi finals as I had forecast, but I did tip the smaller Latin American teams to do well. Paraguay got to the quarters, Chile and Mexico both made it out of the groups. And Uruguay of course made it to the semi final. Uruguay, sadly, were the one small LatAm team I didn’t expect to do well. I had Mexico coming out of that group, and thought it would be tough for the Uruguayans to grab second place in front of both the French and the hosts. But what do I know. I did say that a little team would make it to the semis though…
At least I managed to win the Fantasy League with my canny predictions. Technically, I got fewer predictions correct than those finishing in second and third, and fewer correct scores that the chap in third. But the points system weighs in favour of the KO rounds, and I put on a pretty good streak. In fact the only two I got wrong involved German wins. Damned Germans….
But anyway. It’s all over. For another four years. The normal domestic seasons begin in a few weeks, so my football withdrawal symptoms won’t last long. I still have my football blog if you want to follow that too, or just add my Twitter account – it’s the same thing really. Well done to South Africa for putting on such a great show, well done to Spain for their win, and well done to Uruguay, Ghana and Germany in particular for playing such great football and exceeding all expectations. England…you sucked! Here’s ten goals to finish it all with that didn’t suck…