…what is really worse? Biting somebody in the heat of the moment when the adrenaline is pumping or deliberately putting your studs into somebody’s leg in a manner that could break a bone/finish a career? I find this whole Luis Saurez thing weird. Biting is primal type of behaviour. It’s almost an involuntary act that can happen in the heat of the moment. I don’t believe what Saurez did was calculated in any way. I am obviously not condoning it but at the same time I truly believe there are far, far worse things that happen on a football pitch, and in other sports, that deserve far worse punishments. Roy Keane admitted that he tried to end Haaland’s career for example. That was a far worse thing than Saurez biting Chielini. The over-reaction from the media has been hilarious. Alan Shearer for example calling for major punishment – well he kicked Neil Lennon square in the head when playing for Newcaslte against Leicester. Totally deliberate, exceptionally dangerous…nobody called for his career to be ended. And what about Stuart Hogg during Scotland v Wales rugby this year. One of the worst, life threatening challenges you could see – he just played on Scotland’s tour of the USA. I say we get a little perspective. Saurez has biten somebody on the football field. Fucking stupid but like the Daily Mash said – he’s not a Sumatran Tiger…Chielini will be ok and play on. I know it’s the third time he’s done it BUT how many times did Roy Keane, Patrick Viera and many more deliberately hurt other players? And what about Pepe’s headbutt on Mueller…how is that less of an offence!? I am so confused.
Man it’s been good hasn’t it? I don’t know what I expected from this World Cup but it’s just been packed with good games, great goals and a few surprises so far. Out of everyone so far I have most enjoyed watching France. They have played some sensational football but then with no disrespect to the teams in their group, they really should be beating them. Still, the way they dismantled Switzerland was pretty impressive and I look forward to seeing more of them. Will be interesting to see when they have to face a proper good side how their defence holds up. But so far, they have played lovely football and players like Matuidi, Pogba, Griesmann and Benzema have been excellent. The Dutch have also looked good in the sense that they have great flexibility. Australia gave them a right good game/scare but the way they adapt formations and personnel for different teams bodes well for them. Otherwise, there have been no real stand outs so far. Brazil have not hit top gear. Argentina have been poor and lucky to have the group they have and Messi. Germany were not tested by Portugal and looked vulnerable against Ghana. Spain are gone. Italy too. So it’s wide open as far as I can see. And that is what has been most enjoyable to be honest, the simple fact that there are no clear favourites to win this tournament. Costa Rica have impressed. Chile have really impressed. Colombia have impressed. Everyone is capable of beating everyone and that makes the whole tournament all the more interesting and exciting.
As for England. Well, I am honestly disappointed that they are out. But I don’t think it’s as much doom and gloom as the pundits have been making out. I think the future looks bright with a whole batch of young, talented players coming through. However, there are a few things that have stood out for me in this tournament. Firstly, whilst I truly admire Roy Hodgson for taking so many young players, the truth of the matter is that had John Terry and Ashley Cole been in that starting line up England would not be going home. They lack a dominant centre half and, whilst I despise Ashley Cole, he is a far better defender than Leighton Baines and the defence was the problem for England, without a shadow of a doubt. The other thing they lack is a Pirlo type player. If they had somebody who could control the play and dictate a match they would also be through. Gerrard is quality but not that type of player and Henderson – under rated and super hard working – is not a ball player. Finally, they need a Saurez, not a Rooney. Sturridge looks like he could fill that role, eventually, and Sterling looks like an incredible player but Welbeck played ahead of Barkley and Lallana…ridiculous. So whilst I thought England played ok – especially going forward there are still questions to be answered. And, whilst players coming through like Barkley, Sterling, Sturridge, Lallana, Shaw look excellent prospects, where are the young, dominant centre halves that are needed? Terry/Ferdinand – there is nobody coming through, from what I can see, in the same mould/quality. I do truly hope Hodgson has some success as manager because I think he’s a good manager and has been brave in his decision making but they do need to sort themselves out as a defensive unit if they want to win anything in the near future.
So yeah, great tournament so far and I cannot wait to see what develops in the next round. Still think Germany or Argentina will win it but so far the stand out team has been France. And they have the best strip too. Fact.