Brazil and North Korea paper over cracks
ON DAY five of the World Cup the tournament finally produced a game that managed to be both evenly matched and satisfactorily entertaining.
Three goals! Three actual goals! From different sides!
All three goals (assuming you believe Maicon, who has previous, meant it) were in fact just like watching Brazil.
A grown man cried at his national anthem, as though his life depended on it. Which it might have done.
Dunga wore a funny coat, which was possibly meant for a lady, but made him look like a camp tugboat driver.
What more could a football supporter want?
But the thirteen games prior to Brazil v North Korea were mainly drivel and emblematic of a worrying trend in world football.
It was oft-said this/last season that the Premier League was the most entertaining it has ever been.
This false mantra was probably caused by Liverpool’s inepitude allowing a new team to slip into the top four.
But very few games live long in the memory only one month after the season ended.
Chelsea, like Germany, deserve credit and some entertainment points for their maulings of vastly inferior opponents.
However one side mercilessly battering another is not that entertaining.
In fact the 4-3 Manchester derby was the only classic game of the Premier League season.
Brazil v North Korea was not a classic, but in a weak World Cup beggars cannot be choosers and the North Koreans provided a great story with the first moral victory in their country’s history.
I find it very annoying when people who get paid to watch football – Alan Green, Mark Lawrenson, Mick McCarthy – complain about the quality of the match.
Yet, like the hypocrite that I am, I will do just that, in an attempt to apply some dubious science to my theory.
Professionally I watched 25 matches last season (one in the FA Cup, six in the Championship, 10 in League One, seven in League Two and one in the Conference North) and at each game I was required to give the match an entertainment rating out of five.
10 of the 25 games were awarded three out of five, rendering them wholly average games of football.
It is therefore to be expected that of the remaining 15, there would be a roughly equal amount of ones and twos as fours and fives.
However four games were awarded just one out of five and eight games two, leaving just two games to receive a four and staggeringly Bradford City 2-4 Rotherham United as the match out of 25 to receive full marks.
I am no football cynic, I love the game. South Korea v Greece is so far the only World Cup match that I have missed, when I have not had to be at work.
This view has not just flourished as a result of a few World Cup 0-0s.
It could be argued that my entertainment results were poor, because all the games were in the lower divisions.
Lower league games are lower quality obviously, but not lower entertainment. Re-watch the 2005 FA Cup Final if you do not believe me.
The World Cup has carried on this problem.
In football winning, or increasingly not losing, is everything and the method irrelevant.
Some sports, cricket for example, are constantly trying to find new ways to improve their entertainment value.
Football, on the other hand, has become arrogant in its position as the world’s most popular sport.
The players have no desire to ingratiate themselves to supporters.
Managers feel they have no obligation beyond winning football matches.
Administrators pander more and more to television and corporate-hospitality types, pricing local, real fans out of going to games.
All sport is about winning.
But soon, in football, people might stop watching.