Monday, June 29, 2009

Some conclusions on this Confederations Cup

The Confederations Cup has ended with a great match between Brazil and the surprising US, and I guess it is time for some conclusions:
  • I have to admit that the tournament was not such a bore as I had initially predicted it would be. There were some very dramatic matches, surprises and good goals, promising well for the World Cup. However, I would insist that quality is generally low.
  • Refereeing was good, but still, FIFA refuses to introduce use of visual aids for the matches, something that could surely improve refereeing. In the final, Kaká scored a goal that only TV saw in. A minimum could be the introduction of goal-referees?
  • Spain is not as good as we (or they) thought. Although they are now the most unbeat team in history, they displayed some of their traditional tournament weaknesses in this tournament: not playing to level when it counted against teams they should be far superior to.
  • USA is better than everyone thought, confirming the upward trend of US football over the years. I don't understand why anyone would still underestimate them after a World Cup quarterfinal in 2002!? No matter my personal view on it, the US is a football power, and many new young players will be supplemented by some of the more experienced players that didn't play in this tournament. On Danish TV last night, Ove Christensen said that the US should be considered outsiders for the title next year, and I totally agree.
  • Italy's World Champions had a poor show, and the team needs renewal and spirit. They no longer seem to be up to defend their title next year, and the performances against Egypt and Brazil were simply pathetic.
  • Brazil was outstanding, and it seems that Dunga has managed to incite the ever-talented Brazilians to play as a solid team, confident of their individual abilities and true to their status as the mightiest football nation in the universe.
  • Egypt had charm and good players, but showed poor discipline and no winner mentality like the USA. It is no loss at all that they will not be at the World Cup next year.
  • New Zealand doesn't belong at this level, while Iraq seems on its way up, but won't be at the World Cup anyway.

More specifically in regard to the World Cup:

  • This was a test for South Africa, and they largely passed it, making it to the semifinals, where they played a fine game against Brazil, and an entertaining third-place match against Spain, although this latter match is pretty useless for both. I still believe that South Africa will be the weakest host in the history of World Cup football - they are a rugby nation!
  • The rugby nation status was seen with the state of the pitches, that were generally in a much poorer state than is expected from a World Cup...
  • There was some amusing discussion on the vuvuzela, horns used by South African fans during the matches, that sound like a long mosquito buzz. It certainly sounds horrible, but banning them would be ridiculous, and is outright hipocritical considering the many instruments used in other parts of the world! Of course football fans have the right to make all the noise they want!
  • At least if the vuvuzela can make South Africans more interested in the World Cup... Stadiums were not full, and FIFA had to give away tickets to boost attendance. Well, South Africa is a cricket-nation, so it should not surprise.

So all in all, the tournament turned out better than I had thought. Still, I believe that South Africa was the wrong choice to host the World Cup.


Niclas said...

USA got screwed by the refs in every game except the final. Several questionable offsides, three very harsh straight red cards and a crazy non call for handball by Egypt on the goal line that would have made the ending of that game less dramatic.

El Erik said...

Good point. Refereeing was good considering the appalling ref-calls of other tournaments. In this one, I don't think that it influenced the overall outcome of the tournament (I mean, US won against both Spain and Egypt in spite of questionable ref-calls!).
What I would like to see is FIFA promoting consistency and using modern technology, then we could perhaps avoid some of the worse calls!

football said...

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