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One Thousand Four Hundred Thirty Two

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….

Fifa Fan Fest

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…

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5 thoughts on “One Thousand Four Hundred Thirty Two

  1. Kim G says:

    Thanks for making it interesting. Last time I only peripherally noticed the world cup, and to the extent I did notice, it was because I was in Mexico, and everyone was jazzed up about it. Here in the states? The attitude is more like, “World what?”

    So I’ll have to pay closer attention and be fully ready for 2014. Perhaps then I’ll be happily watching ALL the games from Mexico.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where lacrosse is our favorite oddball sport.

    Like

    • Glad to have obliged! My mum disagrees though, and is glad my boring WC posts are now a thing of the past. Women….tsk….

      Just out of interest, I know you have Mexico in mind for a more permanent destination. Does it have to be Mexico City, or are there alternatives you’re pondering. We have Merida very much in mind for a return one day. Property prices are a big attraction for one. Safety is another. It’s still a decent sized city too.

      Like

  2. Obet says:

    This WC leave me a bittersweet sensations:

    – Glad for a new World champion
    – Sad for Holland, I am a Dutch supporter since 1988 Euro (but I never fell in love with the game of this Dutch team this time).
    – Glad and proud for Chile and Paraguay and their achievements in this WC.
    – Disappointed with England, Brazil and Portugal for the poor display of futbol that they showed (Dunga, a football’s traitor).
    – Happily surprised by Germany, Ghana, Slovakia, Argelia and Japan (In that order).
    – Angry with Aguirre for his terrible decisions, Mexico could have done more.
    – Happy, happy, happy! with the ARG 0 – GER 4 (my personal highlight of the WC).
    – Satisfied with the early elimination of France and Italy (I don’t like them).
    – Feeling bad because in the African WC teams like Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and the host leave the tourtnament without any glory at all.
    – Grateful for have lived through the experience of the FIFA Fan Fest on the Zócalo (is more exciting watch any game in that way).
    – Mad for the worst performance of the referees in the WC history (I can’t remember any worst, seriously was even worst than 2002 WC).
    – Hopeful because Mexico has a very young team, and I can’t wait for Brazil 2014!

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    • I can taste all those bitter sweet flavours amigo.

      It would have been a travesty if the Dutch had won the final. Howard Webb is getting stick for his performance, but I think he was stuck between a rock and a hard place. He should have sent De Jong off for his karate kick into Alonso’s chest. That was a bad decision. He obviously saw it, because he did give the foul and a yellow card. But when did a karate kick stop meriting an instant red?!?!

      Some say he was trying not to ruin the game by sending him off. Nonsense. If the game had been ruined by a red card, De Jong was to blame, not Webb.

      Ditto for Chile, Paraguay et al, but you didn’t mention Uruguay! They were simply fantastic!

      I just knew France were going to be a group stage catastrophe. I thought Italy would scrape through, because they were in such an easy group! But they really sucked.

      It would have been nice for more African teams to do better, but IC, Cameroon and Nigeria really didn’t play well enough to deserve getting out of the groups. South Africa did though, and it was a shame they didn’t go further. If they had, it would have been at Mexico’s expense, it has to be said!

      I dunno….the refereeing in 2002 was pretty shocking! Italy alone had double the number of good goals disallowed than it the whole of this tournament!

      Two facts: only New Zealand went unbeaten in the whole of World Cup 2010. This is also the first time a European team has won the World Cup outside of Europe.

      If Chicharito turns into the player we hope he could be, Mexico could be a serious threat in 2014. I bet Aguierre is kicking himself now. He put out a less than competitive team against Uruguay (he started with Blano ffs!) and didn’t seem interested in winning it. It was a vital game. Had Mexico won, they could have gone so, so much further.

      Bring on Brazil in 2014!!! And then, hopefully, England 2018!

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    • Ps. I don’t blame Dunga for two reasons. Firstly, the players he had available were strong in defence and not so strong in attack. That dictated the style a lot. Secondly, Dunga is Dunga. Brazil knew what sort of football he does, as a player and manager, when they hired him. No good complaining later when he does what he was always going to do.

      The next Brazil manager has the biggest job in football – coaching the most successful team in history in a World Cup they host.

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