My last post was along the lines that the same old same old teams were scraping through each game. Well I suppose now that we are at the business end of the World Cup, the bad teams might really be found out after all.
Brazil imploded massively against the Germans last night. I was getting a bit sick of the hype around Brazil, that it was somehow their destiny. I was also getting sick of the crowd shots, the people waiting to get on camera, and once they were on the big screen, pretending that they were annoyed that the camera was on them. They didn’t look too happy last night. I was getting sick of the over acted national anthem, the “pre match guff” as Barry Glendenning put it in the Guardian podcast, the praying, the crying before and after match, the “it’s all about us isn’t it?” Bar one or two players, they haven’t been great.
David Luiz was shocking last night. Their two best players, Thiago Silva and Neymar probably couldn’t have saved them. Too many fancy haircuts and fancy tattoos and notions I reckon. But maybe that’s the goldfish bowl of professional football in Brazil, and I suppose when you are the home team at a home tournament, it’s bound to get to you eventually.
The Germans on the other hand got about their business without much fuss and stuck the boot in early on. They haven’t been that great throughout the tournament, but they always show up in the later stages. Always. To use some cliches, they were efficient, and no nonsense, almost what you would expect of them.
From the goalkeeper up to their forward line, they were immense last night.
Not only are they sorting out the economic mess that is Europe, they’re also sorting out the men from the boys over in Brazil. It seems that the fancier the haircuts during this world cup, the worse the team.
On RTE, Eamon Dunphy brought up the point that football was dying around the world. As in, the great technical players are no longer there, and it’s a fair point. Brazil were lost without Neymar. Argentina wouldn’t be in the tournament at this stage without Messi. He has saved their bacon a few times in the last few games.
Look back at teams in the 80s and before it. Look at the Brazilian team in 1982. They had skillful world beaters all over the pitch. So did the Italians. Even Northern Ireland had a few.
Dunphy, Liam Brady and Johnny Giles chatted about whether it was down to coaching methods or a change in society. Kids have more things these days. More distractions. There is no such thing as street soccer anymore. It’s all about physicality. It’s also about the coaches a lot of the time as opposed to the players.
How many really outstanding players have their been in this World Cup? How many really outstanding teams have there been? Not like the days of yore. I know most people are guilty of looking back with rose tinted glasses at previous tournaments, but in general, all the players who we are told are “world class” aren’t really.
The marketeers at Nike and Adidas probably want us to believe that the guys on their books are “world class”, but are they really? We have been convinced by fancy ads that certain players are the world’s best. Maybe it’s down to the fact they they have really high salaries, therefore they must be the world’s best? I’m not a football expert either way, so I won’t expand on whether they are or not, or whether they are being played out of position or not.
I’m not too sure if the bling bling crowd would go in for sensible Audi’s but give me a reliable of those any day over some other flashy brand.
So who’s going to win tonight? Hard to predict. Can the Argentinians stop Robben? Can the Dutch stop Messi? The Dutch will be physical anyhow, that’s for sure. I’ll be looking forward to the final this weekend whatever happens.
In 1974, the Germans beat the Dutch in the final. Brazil came fourth,and a guy named Muller scored a few for Germany along the way.