Sooooo… VAR. Let’s talk about that. Looking kind of good, no? I’m watching Sweden vs Korea at the moment. There was a massive penalty shout, the ref missed it, he realised it might have been an error, he runs over to the giant screen and calls it within 30 seconds. Minimally invasive, accurate, and it might have given Sweden a vital 2 points they may not have picked up.
Like I’ve always preached on here, don’t fight technology, just work out how to use it better. How anyone can deny that augmenting human decision making with replays is anything outside a good thing is beyond me. If you can change the fuel and the tyres of an F1 car in 8 seconds, you can certainly work out how to get a decent replay into a ref so he can make an accurate decision.
Sure, there are going to be mistakes, but if you can reduce that number by 75%, the game is better for it. It’s simply not an argument to say football is better with more errors. I’m glad to see that FIFA are getting it right. Hopefully, the Bundesliga and the Premier League can work out how to take it to the next level.
World Cup has been pretty interesting. Mexico dropped a dazzling display yesterday, beating the champs 1-0. Mesut was rumoured to be out of contention before the game, his meeting with wannabe dictator, Recep Erdogan, was not met with enthusiasm from German fans nor Joachim Low. When it came down to it, Joachim Low couldn’t let the bromance die. It’s like a better version of Wenger and Alex Song. Still, it didn’t help. The Germans looked pedestrian and were cut to shreds by an inventive Mexico. Leaving Sane at home looks quite the error at this second.
We were all Swiss for an evening, watching Xhaka and Lichtsteiner work hard to equalize against a star-studded Brazilian side. Coutinho scored an outrageous goal after the Swiss let him roam free on the edge of the box. Arsene Wenger apparently quipped that Lichtsteiner wasn’t quick enough to get forward, a bit of a barb at the new regime. I thought the 34-year-old had a pretty decent game looking after Neymar and Marcelo down his side. Xhaka had a ponderous first half, his mobility really is an issue. he was playing in a pairing with Behrami who looked to be more of the enforcer. He grew into the second half as the Swiss took to beasting Neymar.
Can you imagine the headlines around Neymar this morning if he’d been English?
- Neymar’s new hairstyle inspires a flock of shite performance
- Neymar spent $565 on his haircut, shame of Brazil
- Neymar refused to listen to teamtalk as he preened wild haircut
I gotta say, I loved that both Neymar and Messi had later freekicks they botched. Ronaldo really led the way for pressure football. That said, he did well picking on De Gea at his absolute weakest.
Back to Ozil and Xhaka. It’s not a unique view to think these two are the most under-appreciated players in football. It’s comfort intellect people belch out to make themselves feel like they’re part of a special club. Opening an Opta stats pack and picking two numbers you like doesn’t paint a full picture. If you’re genuine in your view that both of those two showered themselves in glory last season, you need to get out the spreadsheets. Ozil was average last night, Xhaka was ok… we should expect more from both next season if we want to push on. There’s no second reality in football, you’re either doing it, or you’re not. Both of those guys didn’t do it last season, stop trying to alter our 6th placed reality.
ENNNNNGGGGUUUUURRRRRLLLLAAAAAANNNNNNNDDDDDDDD play today.
I don’t have any real expectations for anything special. That said, I do like the cut of Southgate’s jib. I think he has interesting opinions on football, I don’t think he’s stupid and he’s clearly fine doing things his way. Hopefully the boys drop an exciting performance against a strong Tunisia side.