It’s basic human nature to indulge an absurd level of expectation when rare celebrations, such as the World Cup roll around. Equally natural is the tendency to suppress the almost inevitable disappointment with such occasions, convincing oneself that what is unfolding is just as wonderful as we had all hoped and dreamed. So lets just nip that bit of nature in the bud and admit that World Cup 2010 was pretty shit. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t without its moments, and Germany and Uruguay can consider themselves absolved from blame providing arguably the Cups best entertainment in the somewhat farcical third/fourth place play-off. But overall WC 2010 will be remembered as rather forgettable.
On paper it ran according to plan with Spain, who have by some distance the best squad in the world, capturing their first WC trophy beating a dogged Dutch side. While this current Spanish squad may be worthy of wold domination, their play rarely suggested as much over the month, losing their opening match to a nothing Switzerland outfit and scraping out four 1-0 victories en route to glory. As for the Netherlands, they flattered to deceive for the most part, while they impressed against lower opposition in the early stages, the final revealed them a team built to kick lumps out of the opposition and rely on the wizardry of Schneider and Robben to get them the goals.
Our memory of World Cups gone by is coloured by whatever drama arose in the latter stages of the competition. With this in mind I refused to get dejected by the Cups slow start, it was bound to pick up once we hit the last 16. But it simply didn’t. When I strain to think on encounters I was genuinely happy to witness far too few come to mind ( Brazil v. Ivory Coast, Argentina v. Mexico, Argentina v. Germany, Germany v. England, Uruguay v. Holland, Uruguay v. Germany). What we really wanted to see was the best players performing to their capabilities on the world stage, what we got was a relatively non-existent Ronaldo albeit playing in a poor Portugal side, a Messi who tried hard but had nothing like the influence he’s shown for Braca, a Kaka who offered nothing and a Torres who looked so ponderous it was almost Berbatov-esque.
What we did get was confirmation that Alex Ferguson wasn’t crazy when he signed Diego Forlan, the striker carried Uruguay much further than even they could have hoped for. Germany, with scant regard for banishing stereo-types were efficiency personified. Though it may not have seen it at the time the injury to Mikael Ballack my have been a blessing as Loew found the perfect midfield balance in Khedira, Schweinsteiger and the dazzling Ozil. The inexperience of a squad with an average age of 25 came to light in a semi-final against Spain which mirrored Barcelona’s domination of Man Utd in the 2009 Champions League final.
And England, where to begin? Capitulation was their destiny long before they boarded the plane to SA but the manner of their exit was nothing short of humiliating, so much for the golden generation eh? What will annoy English fans the most is that after all the hype they never really turned up at the competition. When a painful 1-0 victory over Slovenia is greeted with declarations of “we’re back” you know you’re in trouble. Capello’s credentials are not up for debate, the man is a top-notch manager but he may have misfired in SA. Failure to adapt a system that clearly wasn’t working showed poor planning and provoked fear that England had no plan B. In hindsight the British media may come to concede that a team with players like Upson, Heskey and Shaun Wright-Philips was never likely to be crowned world champions.
So it’s over, and we’re left to wait another four years to get overly excited, forget all about how bad 2010 was and get let down all over again (does anybody remember how bad WC 2006 was? utter shit!!). Spain, the best team in the World are fittingly recognised as such while Germany, the best team of the cup must wait four long years.
Good riddance to a Wold Cup defined by the lack of goal line technology, a dodgy ball and vuvu-fucking-zelas.