Friday, July 18, 2014

Top ten worst things of the World Cup

I am back to my dull and boring life. Without anything useful to do besides changing a flat tire on my car, I have reflected on the top ten worst things of this world cup. There was a lot of shit to consider, from the social problems in Brazil that perhaps became more prominent during the World Cup. But more directly related to the tournament these are the ten worst (and believe me, it was not easy to limit it to ten):

10. Unfair play: Yes, there were a lot of dirty plays in the world cup. Diving; elbows; kicks. One thing is that the referees allowed it. Another is that FIFA did not discipline any player besides Luis Suarez. This World Cup was one step back from fair play, which had otherwise been improving since the horrible 1990 World Cup.

9. The Golden Boot to Lionel Messi: I do not know if Messi wanted it, but he received it. I do know that FIFA were completely disconnected with the rest of the world in giving it to a player that may have had a fine tournament, but played without heart or passion in most games. Messi is a great player, but he is what Samuel Eto'o once described him as: "a Playstation player". He is a machine. And many more players deserved that prize than him. In my opinion Arjen Robben, Javier Mascherano and Toni Kroos all deserved it more.

8. Spain: Perhaps not so much Spain as their coach, Vicente del Bosque, who chose an old side, bet on the wrong players, did not study his opponents, had no tactical responses, and did not resign his post. Luis Felipe Scolari is perhaps the only other coach who compares in poor management at the World Cup.

7. Luis Suarez: enough said. He bit an opponent! The FIFA punishment was fair enough considering what he did, albeit unfair in its inconsistency.

6. Referees: Referees were bad. Not in the sense that they were decisive for any matches (although Brazil had some help in some matches, but it was not decisive I believe), but they were consistently bad, with little authority, allowing players too much very often, and punishing at the wrong times. Spray or goalline technology (did we really have to wait to 2014!?) hardly helped. The first card for diving was given to Oscar in the penultimate match of the tournament in a situation when there was no diving! The referee between Colombia and Brazil allowed the match to degenerate. I know referees have it hard: but they choose to be there, and they should be the first in making recommendations for making the game better!

5. Brazilian defense: Of course Luis Felipe Scolari is the first responsible for what happened to Brazil. But at the same time one has to wonder what happened to defenders who play in Chelsea, Paris St. Germain, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid... Against both Germany and Netherlands the Brazilians defended as if they had never put their foot on a football pitch.
David Luiz' was one of the worst performances I have ever seen, while I frankly think I could have played better than Marcelo. The defensive midfielders were also pathetic, most of all Fernandinho. While the Brazilian fans took it out on Fred, they should perhaps have thought of taking it out on any defender.

4. Tickets: It was a labyrinth to get ticket to games at this world cup. And FIFA insisted tickets had to be bought through them; that no other sellers were authorized. And then it turns out that FIFAs own ticket agency is part of a ticket scam!?!? That a guy staying in the same hotel as FIFA executives is arrested for ticket scamming!?!? Empty seats in first round matches that were apparently sold out, and many opportunities for re-selling despite FIFAs denial. What about creating an honest and transparent system?

3. Sexism: this should belong further down in the list if one takes into consideration the abuses of sex workers in Brazil. But here I just want to focus on the fact that while racism may be unacceptable, sexism is not. This world cup saw commentators, sponsors, fans, players objectifying and degrading women.
Discriminating against women, of any race, religion or nationality, is apparently ok. At least in this, FIFA is consistent

2. Nationalism: I will repeat myself. Too many people who don't know a thing about football watch it because of their petty nationalism and desires to express it and be prejudiced against other people. These are also the bad losers, who invent conspiracy theories about referees, FIFA and so on (the referees and FIFA are just other idiots!), to justify their defeats. They delight in being xenophobic and discriminatory; in players from opposing teams getting hurt (I was particularly disgusted by some Colombians making fun of Neymar's injury. I would have thought that the country that saw Andres Escobar die because of football, would know better as to delight in others' pain).
Sadly, my impression is that Nationalism, of the bad kind, is becoming worse and worse in a world that is more globalised. While players across countries are friends because they play in same teams, fans are busy building ever bigger barriers between themselves.
In the next World Cup we will see people die because of Nationalism...

1. FIFA: Granted that FIFA does get a lot of bad press, and that the press is not always fair. However, FIFA doesn't want to change; doesn't want to be accountable! They can ask Brazil to change laws about serving beers in stadiums but cannot distance themselves from eviction of people from their homes because of a World Cup? They can say a lot of things about respect and tolerance when they do not practice many of the things themselves. They can discipline a player like Suarez because of the press, but cannot discipline players for violence. They do not respect women, normal football fans, or players, but want respect themselves (respect is something your earn!). They have thousands of volunteers and government workers to do most of the hard work, while they themselves live in million dollar hotels and apparently get money from obscure Qataris?
The beautiful game is beautiful despite FIFA. I am afraid FIFA will one day make it as ugly as itself.

I got angry from writing this!

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