round1

The much awaited ‘party of the year’ began on last weekend, June 11 2010. Tonight’s Spain vs Switzerland would complete round 1 of the matches.

So far this has been the … umm… boringest world cup ever! Yeah, boringest. I can make up words like that.. it’s my blog afterall 😛

What have we got from the 16 matches so far.. a measly 24 goals! Spain vs Switzerland is still on, so add a couple of goals to the tally. Boring? No. Boringest!!!

The quality of football so far has been so low, and so disappointing, that I’d rather watch a cricket match than watch the stuff dished out by the 32 best teams in the world.

And, yes, the standard of refereeing hasn’t been exactly world class.

Just trying to figure out the reasons for such a pathetic show.

Couple of reasons crop up..

One the heavily criticized Adidas Jabulani ball. The official match ball has been criticised by the players, and by the fans as well. Why? Because it’s too light, swings wildly, difficult to control, and so on. Jabulani means ‘rejoice’ in Zulu, and so far the ball has done everything for the fans to do the opposite.

So is it just the ball that’s taking away the excitement from football?

Or, is it the altitude that’s causing the players to tire out fast? Most of the stadiums where the World cup matches will be played are at a higher altitude. That surely can’t be the reason for a such a disaster, right?

I guess the real deal is the noisy vuvuzelas. Those damned trumpets make such a racket, it sounds like a swarm of bees have invaded the stadium. The noise levels drown out everything, including the ref’s whistle.

I guess the noise is the real distraction. Football matches are supposed to be noisy, with drums, trumpets and drunken fans. But the vuvuzelas are beyond all that. It’s irritating to listen to that on television. Imagine what the players go through, listening to the thousands of trumpets blown at the same time.

There have been plenty of complaints, criticisms against the vuvuzela. Every one, from the players to the referees, to the commentators and even the fans are fed up of the noisy things. The had been talks of banning them, but the FIFA decided against it. It symbolises South African culture. It’s a good thing, wearing your culture on your sleeve. But when it starts to distract the attention from the game, someone has to take a stand.

Let’s have a vuvuzela free match, and then decide if there is any difference in the performance of the teams, and if the quality of football improves.

Of all the matches I’ve seen so far .. and which means ‘all the matches’.. only Germany and Argentina have really impressed.

Brasil lacked their usual flair when they played North Korea last night. They won 2-1, thanks to a wonder, but  fluke, goal and a typical Brasilian link up goal. It was the North Koreans who looked lively in that game. No sign of nerves at all.

Ivory coast vs Portugal was labelled as the cracker game of group G. That was a big time flop. Both teams looked like playing for a draw. Ronaldo was a disappointment. Again. Somehow he isn’t able to replicate his club level performances when he puts on the Portugal shirt. In my opinion he isn’t good as the ex Portugal number 7 who he replaced.

As I write this, Spain have gone down by a goal against Switzerland. Spain .. they are a talented squad, but always the underachievers. I really hope they show the same spark that won them the Euro.

Round 2 starts tonight with the hosts South Africa taking on Uruguay, who by the way played out a lifeless draw in round 1.

I, like millions of football fans around the world, will be praying for better football in Round 2.

So here’s to free flowing football and a less noisy world cup.

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