July 13, 2010

XI worldly disappointments

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

For as much good as there was at this year’s World Cup, there were, of course, more than a few disappointments. From the officiating, to the vuvuzelas to the play – sometimes – there was plenty to gripe about. So, how about a list of the XI most disappointing things from South Africa 2010?

The referees: There was Frank Lampard’s no-goal that was two feet over the line, Carlos Tevez’s strike that was clearly offside and a record amount of yellow cards in the final. The refs received a lot of heat and it was rightly deserved for their performance.

Team France: Infighting, players sent home, the team going on strike. This team brought shame upon a whole country with their antics in South Africa. I still have no idea why Raymond Domenech was allowed to handle this team without a contract and a replacement already named.

Team England: From Fabio Capello’s refusal to ditch an antiquated 4-4-2 that made no sense to begin with, to Wayne Rooney being off form to Robert Green’s huge flub, the English disappointed all over the field. John Terry might have been the worst of them all though and shouldn’t be consider even a good defender any more.

Team Italy: It might not be a legit disappointment since pundits were calling for bad things from the time the team was named. But with an easy Group, the Italians should have advanced. It’s just too bad the oldies didn’t show up.

African teams not named Ghana: South Africa became the first host to be knocked out in the group stages. Cameroon was the first nation officially eliminated. Nigeria, Algeria and Ivory Coast didn’t play more than three games. It was disappointment all around for the Dark Continent.

How Ghana lost: The African darlings were robbed of a spot in the semifinals by the worst handball ever perpetrated. When Luis Suarez put up his hands to grab the ball off the goal line in added-time, it outraged every non-Uruguayan in the world. It was the worst possible way for the underdog Ghanaians to be bounced.

Cristiano Ronaldo: Sure, he did at least manage to hit the back of the net, but it was a flukey goal against North Korea in a huge rout. Ronaldo was up to his usual whining all tourney long and couldn’t hit the net with nearly every kick he took. His best shot came in their first game, when he rattled the woodwork. He’s making a bad habit of not showing up at the big events.

Fernando Torres: Clearly off form and clearly injured, Torres had an awful tournament. It was perhaps typified best by pulling up lame in the final while chasing a lob. It was a fitting end for his 2010 World Cup. His thigh wasn’t the only he hurt, too. His transfer value has sunk so that now Chelsea is very much doubting a bid for the Liverpool striker.

Golden Boot tiebreaker: Why can’t there be a tie for the top goal scorer in the tournament? Thomas Mueller should have tied with David Villa, Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlan. A player’s amount of assists is no way to break a tie for goal-scoring leader.

Defensive, boring teams: This was most blatantly displayed by the Algerians in their final group stage game when instead of playing for a win by two goals, which they needed to advance, they played for a draw. It made no sense and robbed fans of a more exciting game, even if Landon Donovan won it on an added time break.

The vuvuzelas: I have no quarrels with the South African plastic instruments; I have a quarrel with people who complain about them non-stop. This is a part of the host’s culture and should not be quieted because some foreigners complained about them ruining the broadcasts. Calling for a ban of them would have been an ignorant one and I’m glad they weren’t silenced. Even if they sounded like a swarm of bees.

1 Comment

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