World cup blog

Luddite world cup


Thank heavens for the last 16 matches between England and Germany as well as Mexico v Argentina: they’ve given the tournament what we’ve really lacked, some good, old fashioned talking points. Forget the first world cup in Africa stuff, here was the game at its most Neanderthal.


The ball goes over the line, it’s a goal ja? Nein. The officials didn’t see it go in, and so the score stayed at 2-1 to Germany. Carlos Tevez is way offside and the officials don’t see that either, Argentina go up 1-0.

You’ve got to wonder about a game around which billions are spent on new stadiums in the middle of nowhere in African countries, but then can’t get it right about things like a ball crossing the line which, after all, is the essence of the game.

World Cup 2010 dossier

The alleged brains trust at world football’s governing body, FIFA, are adamant that video technology would ruin the game, as human error is part and parcel of the mythology.

International rugby and cricket have embraced video replays to general approbation, but football? No that’s different.

FIFA bigwigs say videos would hold up the flow of the game. But in the case of the Argentine goal, the match was delayed as the Mexicans pleaded with the officials to reconsider, not necessarily because the big screens at Soccer City in Johannesburg were showing the goal with Tevez clearly offside.

But you can’t go back. Or in this case, you can’t go forward.

The technology is around, everyone knows that. It’s not foolproof, but it would prevent a lot of people looking like idiots in the moment.

Similar rubbish happened at the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola. Egypt were awarded a goal against Cameroon when the ball hadn’t crossed the line. Cameroon were 2-1 down at the time.

There was no way back after the ghost goal that made it 3-1.

Ho hum. There’s an irony that Frank Lampard’s shot hit the underside of the cross bar and bounced down over the line. In the world cup final 44 years ago, Geoff Hurst’s strike hit the underside of the cross bar and bounced down. The Germans then said it wasn’t over, but the Russian linesman said: ‘Da,’ the goal was given and the rest, as they say, is England’s only world cup win.

Since that heartache the Germans have gone on to claim the world cup twice and they’ve been runners-up three more times since. As the maxim goes, you’ve got to lose to gain.

England have only a 1990 world cup semi-final to their name. The likes of Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole and John Terry should have won a major trophy but haven’t. They were exposed by inept officiating and the second-youngest team in the competition who now have a head start over the next crop of England players.

Talk about Italy’s ageing team. Very few of England’s starting line-up will be there in Brazil (should they qualify), whereas there’s a host of German youngsters who look at ease and now have big tournament experience. That will be vital. The honed young collective is acquiring nous and could flower earlier than the predicted surge to the 2012 European championship.

Germany shredded England and if die Mannschaft had been wearing yellow shirts rather than white, we’d all have been saying, these Brazilians don’t half play well.

Thomas Muller spoke to journalists just after Germany’s group D match against Ghana. He said he was looking forward to playing in the last 16 of the world cup. The English journalists asked him about the significance of the game coming up against England (special relish kind of thing), and he said that it wasn’t about history, it was about the future.

Someone has clearly switched on the light bulbs in his brain. I wish that person could do the same for the benighted zealots at FIFA.

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