So after four weeks the final whistle has blown on the World Cup and now my life can hopefully return to as normal as possible meaning no more split sleeping shifts, sleep deprivation or catching 40 winks in between lessons.
On reflection, England were woeful and the worlds biggest under-achievers failed to deliver anything beyond the minimum. The displays of the overpaid prima-donnas that make up the England team has to be questioned. Definitely a case of reverse symmetry in that the whole was not greater than the sum of its parts.
That was the intro to the Tokyo Fox World Cup overview four years ago and it’s scary how little has changed for us English since then. In fact, I would clearly say that, despite an almost perfect qualifying campaign, this tournament was the worst in my living memory and the team just never got going. Not one player has come out of the World Cup with his head held high. The same could be said for many of the so-called star players who didn’t perform to the level most of us had hoped. While England were woeful there was some small consolation in that things were even more shambolic for the French and the defending champions Italy didn’t fare much better.
The only team to not actually lose a single game were New Zealand who did their nation proud with three battling draws. Japan did likewise with a couple of unexpected wins and a penalty shoot out defeat which saw them go out with their dignity in tact. I still feel that they could have gone for it more in their second round game with Paraguay as the match was there for the taking.
As for the African nations, they were largely disappointing with only Ghana going beyond the group stage and they were cheated out of a semi-final spot by Uruguay who had a great tournament and in Diego Forlan they had the player of the championships. After his Europa Cup exploits a few months ago its not been a bad year for the Manchester United reject!
Hosts South Africa seemingly did a great job hosting the event but were always unlikely to have much impact football-wise but at least they went out in a blaze of glory beating the French in that final group game. The much talked about vuvuzela’s were annoying me before a ball had even been kicked but I never believed that they should have been banned as was being talked about at one time. I guess there wasn’t much else to talk about after a very dull opening round of group games.
Overall, I have to say (as I did four years ago) that the Germans were the most entertaining team to watch. I know most people say that the Spanish were the kings of entertainment but I find their constant passing build-up play tedious at times. Having said that, I was glad to see them beat the Germans who in turn had thrashed the Argies before that. For me the Argentina coach Maradona was nothing more than a glorified cheerleader!
Before the final I wanted to see the Dutch win but in the end justice was done with Spain winning 1-0 for the fourth consecutive game. This showpiece game was a huge disappointment with some of the most negative tactics ever from Holland who just wanted to stop Spain playing. With foul after foul, the game never really got going as was shown by the ridiculous high number of yellow cards shown (all justified if you ask me) by the English referee Howard Webb. I was thankful that it didn’t go down to the lottery of penalty kick’s to decide the winner of the 2010 World Cup Final. Spain were worthy winners and having been perrennial under-achievers for so long they have overcome that voodoo with victory in both the European Championship and World Cup Final’s. England badly need to immitate the Spanish but I won’t hold my breath on that one!
* There were 64 games played since June 11th and I tweeted my daily predictions through twitter and facebook. It’s fair to say that I didn’t do as well as that blo*dy octopus as I only got a measly one score correct. What a loser!