WORLD CUP: FIFA and England put on an amateur-night display


England 1 Germany 4

It is forty-four years since England beat Germany with the help of a goal which, later computer enhancement showed, wasn’t a goal at all. Yesterday history repeated itself – except that this time, no computer was necessary to see that the England goal should’ve been allowed. The three officials were very probably the only trio in the stadium who thought the ball hadn’t crossed the line.

Poetic justice? Well I suppose so yes, but really Sepp Blatter of FIFA should be taken out at dawn tomorrow and quietly dispatched for his inexplicable one-man refusal to accept what everyone in the game believes: that goal-line technology is at least thirty years overdue.

I talk to American friends on this subject, and they find the amateurism of FIFA almost surreal in general, but insane on the subject of technology. How, they ask, can probably the most lucrative of all global sports be run with no camera replay or even bounce-recording equipment as standard? And the answer, I’m afraid, is Sepp Blatter.

All this said, I truly cannot remember in my life a first half performance of such dispirited ineptitude by an England side. No England fan could’ve complained had the Germans gone in 5-1 in the lead at half-time. For much of the game, in fact, the defensive play of both sides was beyond loose; but it was Germany who took more of the chances handed to them on a plate, as they strolled into a 2-0 lead within the first half-hour, and then casually added another two in the first half an hour after the break.

Make no mistake: this was a humiliation for England. And while the Slog’s pessimism has been totally vindicated, I have rarely in my life wanted so much to be wrong. The thing that both puzzles and horrifies me is that a 62 year-old bloke who never played football beyond town representative level could see precisely how average this England side is before a single ball had been kicked in the 2010 World Cup – but the FA (and the media on the whole) couldn’t. When my chum and I sat down to watch the game, and heard that the bookies had made England favourites, we simply looked at other – and burst out laughing.

I believe that talking up the mediocre has become a British illness, but the long-term reason why English soccer is so poor can also be laid at the door of the greedy, short-termist gnomes at the FA, whose collusion with Rupert Murdoch has resulted in vulgar madness on the Premiership playing fields, and a hopelessly under-funded national game at junior level.

I would dearly love to think that the ridiculous overestimate of this English side’s quality would now jolt the nation back to reality – and acceptance of simple facts. For example, the first step towards something better has to be a radical rethink of whether third-rate talent show winners and PR-dim Government ministers can really turn round our future as a nation.

But it won’t. The sufficiency culture – created by non-competitive education and firmly cemented in place by ratings-obsessed media – is here to stay. It may be diluted and finally destroyed by Crash 2, which is now almost upon us. But it won’t be destroyed until those who confuse equality of opportunity with mindless egalitarianism (and reduce our liberties on the way) are shown up for the destructive clowns they are.

7 thoughts on “WORLD CUP: FIFA and England put on an amateur-night display

  1. The England players were found wanting when they didn't have their foreign team mates from the premiership around them to make them look good.Much rejoicing in my house today anyway !

  2. We don't have enough home grown talent in the Premiership to build a Great team. We have talented individuals unable to work as unit. But we don't have a player resource pool big enough to pick from, so we are left with picking the same old players who just can't get it together to play as a unit. Never mind. They've earned a bit from the four games they played.

  3. Bookies do something called "running a book".With some not very fancy arithmetic they work out odds based on bets already made.Hence it's "punters make England favourites".It's a triumph of misdirection by bookies that they lead you to think you are betting with them. You are betting against others and the bookies take a slice.

  4. Well, perhaps its a good thing England lost. Now, the men of Great Britain can get on with enjoying this glorious sunshine we have all been blessed with, instead of sitting inside in front of the One Eyed God, poring over the results.

  5. Your analysis as to why England when playing football are so bad is perhaps half correct. For instancein almost any sport in which England does well the players or teams are mainly from public schools. There's a statistic somewhere that shows that at the last Olympic Games the majority of medals, or a large proportion at least, were won by products of public school. Reasons for this need exploring; but it seems that the limited amount of competitive athletics and sports in our secondary schools along with lack of discipline leads to poor sports performance and weak character, and these are the source of the problem, along with the Dreaded Digger.I'd be interested to see what the Minister for Sport does about it.

  6. Cassandra"I'd be interested to see what the Minister for Sport does about it. "Not a lot. Another clueless cretin from the coalition. He doesn't even know about Hillsborough yet he is in charge of culture and sport. Has he had his head up his arse for the last 20 years ?( don't answer that ).The story of police incompetence has been palyed endlessly in the media yet seems to have passed him by. Incredible really but I heard him slag off ' hooligans at Hillsborough' so it's definitely true. He is clueless.

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