Well, well, well… Head out thought heart as the Spaniards, my original tip for the World Cup, nicked a late goal in extra time to become the 8th World Cup winners.
How was the game?
Well, I thought it was a cracking spectacle. I’m not really sure where all these football purists have come from over the past month, but I for one do not expect 12 goals a game and I certainly don’t expect to see terrible defending in the final between two of the best teams on the planet.
The game was a mixture of sublime skill, no nonsense tackling and high energy. Yellow cards were flashing around the stadium like they normally do when Howard Webb is reffing an Arsenal match and tempers flared from both sides as he made some interesting decisions. There was a lot of criticism that went his way, regardless of where he is from, I have to defend him because it’s near impossible to officiate against two teams who are so liberal with cheating.
Seriously, it’s embarrassing to watch grown men dive about in such pathetic fashion. The world seems to have gone mad though. Apparently now, if you touch someone’s shoulder and fall down like a number 8 bus has clipped you, it’s ok because there was contact? Sorry, that just doesn’t rub with me. Your reaction should be equal to the force applied to you… Newton would be rolling in his grave if he knew how skewed his law of motion had become. I’m simply not buying you have to tumble at every chance these days and for me, it ruins the game.
If the English were doing it, we’d be talking about how celebrity culture has butchered the physicality of our game.
Anyway, player watch…
Robin Van Persie was so anonymous yesterday I was barely aware he was on the pitch. Bar brushing the ball occasionally with a deft flick, he didn’t really fulfill his role. I can’t remember him taking a shot or working the ball round a player all game. I know Arsenal fans have been raving about him this world cup, but watching him play for Arsenal and watching him play for Holland are two totally different things. The key difference being that Arsenal players actually seem to think it ok to pass to him occasionally.
Cesc Fabregas came on late in the game. For me it was like being in a bar after having a nasty row with your girlfriend. You’re sure she’s going out to a club, then bang, she’s in the doorway of your local. She’s looking good, but you don’t really want to acknowledge her… she should have known better than to say, ‘it’s just a game’ after Arsenal lost to United.
Anyway, needless to say, I wasn’t cheering his arrival onto the pitch. However, as we’re all aware of how amazing the boy is, it was no surprise that he spiced things up with some terrific runs and some great shots. It was only a matter of time before he nipped in, picked up a loose ball and slotted in the Ferrel looking Iniesta who took a touch and banged it past the Dutch keeper.
Heart break for the Dutch, jubilation to the Spaniards.
The commentators after the game were disgusted at the Dutch tactics. Yep, the same commentators who queried whether it was Rambo’s fault for being too pacey when his leg was snapped and the same pundits who have been cheer leading brutal English tactics all year… they said the Dutch didn’t deserve the World Cup because of their approach.
I thought the Dutch were tough, but I didn’t think they were unfair. Again though, it rammed home the point that thuggish behaviour really isn’t a preserve of the English game.
Just before I finish talking about the World Cup, I found it shocking that there were gaps around the stadium. Fair play to South Africa for hosting a nice World Cup, but for me, FIFA should give it to countries that have an interest in the games / can sell tickets to a public who can afford to buy them. Far too many empty seats for the World Premier sports competition.
In England, I can categorically guarantee that there wouldn’t be spares to any game because we’re so football mad, we’d go and see any game if we had the chance. Being politically correct about where it goes without considering things like national backing for the game seems a bit silly to me. South Africa is a Rugby / Cricket nation… then football. Surely the World Cup would be better served in a country that is purely football.
On the Arsenal transfer front, it appears that Arsene Wenger has refused to meet with Sandra Rossell from Barcelona on account of the Spaniard already knowing where Arsenal stand on the subject of Cesc moving. Well played Arsene, I hope you can stay strong and motivate Cesc for next season. Long term I don’t really care if Cesc leaves. The shame of it all is that in my mind, Jack Wilshere and Rambo are the future of the club and they are more than capable of filling the void… just not now. They need at least another two seasons before they can be trusted with the job of replacing the best creative midfielder in the world.
On the outbound front, there is a disgustingly wicked rumour that A.Madrid are sniffing around our Spanish Waiter. I know, it’s far too good to be true, but for today, let me believe it! How would you seriously enter negotiations for him?
‘Errr, Ivan, we’ll give you some Spanish tree bark and a couple of bottles of 2005 red for Almunia’
On the inbound front, Ozil has decided that he’d rather spend another year with Bremen and make loads of money by leaving on a free as one of the most sought after bosman’s in history. Hey, at least Man United could bid for him then!
The telegraph are sure that Arsenal are finalising moves for Schwarzer and Joe Cole this week. If that’s true and we can add a solid experienced defender into the mix, I’d say Arsenal are about ready to launch a proper challenge on a serious trophy next year.
That for me would be some good business and it would make Wenger feel warm inside because he will have signed quality for a pittance. We’re all winners this summer if that’s the case… and if Wenger can shift Almunia on for a fee, you’d have to say that he’d get a few genius points back for the biggest transfer shaft since we sold Hleb for £12million.
Before I go, I received some criticism for my thoughts on the UEFA licensing system yesterday. Though I’m sure it offers some benefits, I think it’s more of a money making swizz than anything. Just to highlight that point, see if you can find any manager in the top flight who has failed the exam. I couldn’t. You have to challenge the benefits of an exam you can’t fail. Sounds like this license is the equivalent of a GNVQ in flower arranging.
Anyway, plenty to talk about… see you in the comments!