Punditry and Photography

Posted on July 7, 2010

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As you will, no doubt, have noticed the football World Cup is on at the moment and as a fairly keen football fan I’ve watched the majority of the matches and wish to share my thoughts so far.

Vociferous Vuvuzelas

First up, the vuvuzela. Controversial throughout I see little reason for the proposed outright ban. Obviously, if they were dangerous to peoples’ hearing then something would have to be done but I’m not sure on the truth of such claims. However, they were highly irritating when watching on tv and I fail to see why they needed to be quite so loud. Watching a match on television isn’t about the atmosphere, if it was then we wouldn’t have commentators. ITV seem particularly bad for this and have the vuvuzela sound so loud that it was very difficult to hear the commentators.

Commentators and Pundits

It could be argued that this was an advantage though as the level of commentary and punditry throughout the World Cup has been shocking. Both the BBC and ITV revelled in their lack of knowledge about ‘lesser’ teams before crowing about anything the likes of Spain and France did. The Spain vs Portugal and Paraguay vs Japan matches showed this a lot. I didn’t see much difference between the two games and both were quite dour and boring. However, the pundits and commentators described the Paraguay game as ‘boring’ and accused both teams of being ‘unadventurous’ and ‘scared of losing’. The Spain vs Portugal game however was described as ‘tactical’ and ‘chess-like’ when in reality it was just as boring as the other game.

The Actual Football

By far the most exciting teams were Chile and Germany. Although involved in their fair share of 1-0 games, the Chilean formation of 3-3-1-3 (I think) was designed to create exciting football. Three strikers gave them plenty of attacking options while three defenders encouraged the other team to attack and resulted in some exciting games.

Germany? Well, scoring four goals in each of three games, against Australia, England and Argentina no less, is no mean feat and deserves the recognition that failed to come from pundits. Underestimated by ‘experts’, as always, I suspect that Germany could go all the way as they have the right mix of everything: youth and experience, organised and experienced defence with free moving and young midfield and a proven goalscorer in Klose.

That Suarez Incident

The most controversial event of the World Cup so far (yes, even more so than Lampard’s ‘goal’) was the Suarez handball in the final minute of Uruguay vs Ghana quarter final. For those unaware, in the final minute of injury time Ghana had a shot that looked destined for the roof of the net when Suarez put an arm up and pushed it away. The ref did exactly what he should have, sent him off and gave a penalty which Ghana subsequently missed. Now lots of people have complained that this is against the spirit of the game and that there should be some sort of penalty goal style decision that would give Ghana the goal and punish Uruguay with a red card. Although I can see the argument behind this, it doesn’t change the rules for that one game and Suarez did nothing wrong that he didn’t accept the punishment for.

And Finally, England

To be honest, I never expected England to do very well in the tournament. Although I thought we looked reasonably good going forward it’s been a long time since we’ve had anything approaching a convincing defence. However, even I was surprised by just bad England were when attacking.

Just like every other armchair fan I have my opinions on what went wrong and the first problem seemed to be that the squad didn’t contain any left midfielders at all. The closest we had were Milner, who plays centrally or on the right in the league, Lennon, also more at home on the right, and Joe Cole, who plays in a front three at Chelsea which is completely different to playing on the left of a midfield four. Admittedly, left midfield has been a problem area for England for quite some time but I would have thought takin Adam Johnson was worth the risk in order to have a more balanced team.

The problem with this is that it woul mean leaving a ‘big’ name on the bench and although all England managers promise such things it rarely happens. As such Gerrard was played on the left and very rarely turned up there making our play predictable. Even with the squad we had I would have been tempted to either play Gareth Barry on the left (where he has played before) or even Warnock (normally a left back but has be known to play left midfield). Yes, these players may be less able technically but roundish pegs in round holes would be better than trying to squeeze square pegs in over and over.

I could go on but essentially it boils down to England need to pick players to fit into a system (whatever system that may be) and not pick players, then a system and see how the players can be made to fit it best.

(Oh, and Photography)

I’ve also been out walking quite a bit recently cause of the good weather so once I’ve sorted them expect more photos to appear on my Flickr account. A few are up already and the most recent will continue to show up in the sidebar of the blog.

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Posted in: Football