Is this the Worst World Cup ever?

Okay, so we’ve only had the first week of the World Cup, but let’s be honest, with the exception of the Germany game, most of the matches have been rather disappointing. In fact a few of them have been shockingly poor.

Is this just a blip? A slow start to the tournament as the players adjust to the altitude? Or something more endemically wrong with the best sporting tournament in the world. Hopefully..

The number of column inches devoted for the weeks leading up to the World Cup really inflate our expectations. Then add every brand and supermarket jumping on the bandwagon and from the start of May you can’t move without seeing football players' cheesy grin at every turn and corner.

With this amount of hot air it’s inevitable that we will be disappointed by what the World Cup actually delivers. Does that mean it’s a worse World Cup? Maybe not in real terms but in terms of how much we actually enjoy it, the answer is “yes”.

Worse still, the media attention inevitably burdens most footballers with an exceptional amount of pressure. I think this is certainly the case with the England team. Let’s hope Robert Green has helped get that out of the squad’s system!

France and Portugal are arguably only at this tournament because FIFA conveniently seeded the playoffs after it was clear these big guns were in them! Whose fault is that? Probably ours, the fans – at the very least the wider public.

Although we say we want to see the underdogs do well, as long as that wasn’t at the expense of the big teams. We want to see the best players and the biggest nations on the biggest stage, yet we’re also guilty of complaining that it’s become predictable – with the ‘same old teams’. So, FIFA feel like they have to protect what we want, and make decisions accordingly but worryingly.

It’s not that players are saving themselves for club football… they genuinely care for their countries. The problem is that the standards of club football are so high that we’re always disappointed that a team of players who have spent no more than a few weeks together can’t play as a team – remember what a difference it made to South Korea when Hiddink had the squad together for months before World Cup?

Club football is also now too big a physical burden on the modern player. So many players are injured or carrying knocks going into the World Cup, it will inevitably affect performances. Maybe more players will be taking a leaf out of Paul Scholes’ book and retiring from international football.

There are no guarantees that great players at club level will have the same effect on their country. Most often then not, they tend to disappoint at the international level, because they just don’t have the same quality of players around them. Honestly, Internationals just aren’t “up a level” from the Champions League at club level.

Finally, for the benefit of everyone’s entertainment and sanity, the organizers have to ban the vuvuzelas. They drown out all the chants, they make your TV sound like it’s broken, and they were originally invented to scare off baboons!

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