Webdiary - Independent, Ethical, Accountable and Transparent
header_02 home about login header_06
sidebar-top content-top

The Beautiful Game

 It's been mentioned that the World Cup tournament should not go unremarked, and it's true that we have expected a thread from Hamish Alcorn on this, of all events. Hamish actually is in South Africa, but his Facebook page offers an incomplete narrative, due to problems arising with a telecommunications system there that has him as baffled as the fallen French just coming off after an unexpected defeat at the hands of old rivals, Mexico.

For some like myself, the World Cup is something you look forward to, every four years. You wait expectantly, because you know its a mega-business as well as a sport. You hope that, as with other football codes and Big Sport in general that the gnomes responsible for the running will not finally succeed in ruining the spectacle with new rules nobody understands, or gimmicks devised for TV that detract from the action.

There is a Homeric, epic quality about this tournament.  Mighty teams like the Spanish and the French choke at psychological moments and unheralded teams like the Koreans and Swiss take the opportunity for a moment in the sunshine perhaps anticipated for a generation, or even a lifetime, by long-suffering fans often in small and neglected poverty stricken parts of the world.

I'm curious.   Do other Web Diarists find this an interesting event, or are the arcane subtleties a bit much for folk brought up on the esoterica of Aussie Rules or rugby codes?  Any thoughts on the psychology or anthropology of big sport, including money involved or media and commercial involvement; even the role of race gender and class in sport? Or on the actual football itself?  This, to me (as ever for the World Cup), has at times soared to undreamed-of heights in between visits to deep troughs of sterile footy and poor attitudes from the more primadonna-ish of the players, match officials and managers.

[ category: ]

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Abetter future.

 Australia's narrow two-one victory over Serbia did so much to ease the grief of those of us who had feared and experienced the worst, after the thrashing from Germany. Those who saw Germany defeat Ghana through just one spectacular  hit in the other group match will be consoled at the thought that we have not been the only ones at the end of the German boot.  The Germans are now up there with Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina as standout teams, so far.  

It was a really good match, to equal the win against Japan four years ago.  Australia honoured the performance of four years ago in a steady rebuild back from the ashes of disaster, for consolidation and the more likely hope of a serious attempt to keep Australia at World Cup standard. In many ways Serbia was a rewrite of that breakthrough match in 2006, with that unbearable build up of tension before the deadly Cahill second half strike.  This bloke seems to have the instinct.

The great thing about Brett Holman's goal, hit with assurance from some distance, apart from reinforcing the the shock of the first  goal five or so minutes earlier, was that the killer goal was struck by a newer player:  Australia did the damage in a deadly quarter of an hour burst in the second half.  But the Serbs showed the formidable form that has them a world rated team, for a great late consolation goal that gave the Aussies a nervous ten minutes as  the Serbs clawed after their vanishing qualification hopes.


Ghana was robbed

The beautiful game this time round is an ugly duckling.

At this supreme level FIFA have to get it right and they show no signs of doing so. Its just not good enough to have second and third rate referees adjudicating at this level even if it is politically correct.

Far worse than the red card issued to Harry Kewell was the decision to merely red card the Uraguyan player and award a penalty, he should have red carded and pointed to the centre. The ball appeared to my eyes to be over the line if not completely but in those circumstances it's the ref's or linesman's call and justice would have been served if it was awarded. To take it further, handling on the line should be an automatic goal; yes the rules of football need a change in that direction.

when the red, red Robben comes bobbin' along.

But oh, Scott, didn't they rob themselves with the resulting Gyan dud  penalty whacking off the crossbar.

 The commentators keep referring to the balls as "too light" , the players can't keep their strikes"down"  as they might with heavier balls from an earlier time.

 But gee, what two engrossing matches.

The Netherlands utterly stunned me the way it got up off the mat and shattered the Brazilians,  who must have forgotten what "pressure" felt like, they reacted so badly when it was finally applied with sustained intensity.

 The one "dark" side of Latin football; they get spiteful when they are losing..

The Ugly Game

Hi again Paul, "didn't they rob themselves with the resulting Gyan dud  penalty ?"  Well, the point I'm making is that they shouldn't have been given the opportunity; the strike rate for penalties from what I've seen is only about 3 in 4, both Rugby codes understand professional fouls and award penalty tries, what's wrong with penalty goals of an automatic nature if handling on the line is involved and similar incidents?

It's not just that, where's a match review commitee to adjudicate on red cards that result in an automatic one match suspension; if the red card was rubbish then lift the suspension. It appears the game is governed by dinosaurs, Let's hope it's better next time round.

Kewell's red card

We had a devoted thirty-odd watching the game in the Gov last nigh.  Nobody could believe the decision.  Is everybody in South Africa using the Cup to go for revenge over the antics of Breaker Morant?

There's a codger around town somewhere who did a a book on a secretary of the US Screen Actor Guild.  He was in a predecessor to the Bushveldt Carbineers, ended up (in the fashion of the day) staging Boer War re-enactments at World Trade Fairs, before he got that prestigious job in the 20's.  Wish I could remember his name, and if anyone knows anything of the yarn I'd love to hear more.

Seriously.  a bloke gets a ball kicked into his bicep and he gets a red card?  How much did it cost? 

By the way (as I've yapped about wirth Geoff before, Mum's brother wrote Breaker Morant. I smelll bad karma.

Go Kiwis.

In a carnival full of shocks, the New Zealand effort against Italy must match any yet witnessed.

When Australia played Italy four years ago, it went down to a dubious last minute goal, but New Zealand went one further not only scoring, not only holding out the Italian winner, but coming within inches of the dream win for the ages, when a hard Kiwi shot went inches wide of the post, about the eighty five minute mark.

 The scoreboard showed a draw, but the expressions on the rival fans faces showed who was walking away with bragging rights. The table at the end of thematch for the group shows that far from the previous champion just dawdling thru to the round of sixteen, Italy can conceivably be replaced by New Zealand in the finals, if it doesn't borrow some enzedder backboneoff them, to match the legendary skills.

correction and comment

Hmmm. Actually were up for Ghana, not Serbia.

 Better this time, got a draw. Has anyone ever read the newspaper stories about Latin American crowds lynching refs?

This can be a very intense sport as to the feelings it can arouse.

Just a bad team

Paul ,The Socceroos are a very poor team and should not be playing in a competition like The World Cup.

In the first game Germany played soccer and the Socceroos played kick and run and trip, and sadly the tripping part of their game was the one that they were most skilled in.

It would also be great if Australia could have TV commentators who called the game as it is, instead what they would like it to be.

The morning after the night before

Actually Alan, I wonder "whither now"
 for Australia, also.

Since the nineties we have done well to produce a reasonable team filled with people toughened up by European football.  The question seems to be, should we have commenced a rebuild after Germany, or hope that the current players, with the experience of the 2006 tournament behind them, could go to the next level. Also we wonder if the A league is doing its job of producing an adequate skills base for up and comers.

My feeling has been that we would always cop the sour;  no honeymoon this time, more about hangovers. No harm in a reality check, if the scales have fallen away, good riddance. But I hope, in the cold light of dawn, the morning after, where no illusions can remain, Australia  shows what I hope to be their real abilities against disciplined old hands Serbia, coming up. 

Then get back to the grassroots, community involvement that ensures the right kids are given a go at learning and playing the game properly.

"How have the mighty

"How have the mighty fallen?"

 Here we are three-ish in the morning, waiting for the wily Pom to face his moment of truth against relative outsiders Algeria.

 Saw (parts of) two utterly absorbing matches, the first featuring another giant-killing effort, this time by Stoic Serbia over a German side that was a shadow of the machine that pulverised Australia, early in the week.  Sat absorbed by what I observed, most of all that catastrophic missed penalty from  Germany.  Australia must face Serbia in its next match before finally meeting Ghana.

Uphill work, from here for Oz.

Second up, another member  of the old Yugoslavia,  Slovenia, in the end lucky to draw with a perservering USA after leading 2-0. Most were confused as to why the US winner was disallowed: you get the feeling that America was again paying subtly for perceptions of it as  global hegemon.

 It remains a smorgasbord for sportsfans, but sometimes folk can look awfully naked under the intense gaze; howlers become magnified, you get to watch dummy spits in microscopic detail, the cunning of teams, crowds... 


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
© 2005-2011, Webdiary Pty Ltd
Disclaimer: This site is home to many debates, and the views expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the site editors.
Contributors submit comments on their own responsibility: if you believe that a comment is incorrect or offensive in any way,
please submit a comment to that effect and we will make corrections or deletions as necessary.
Margo Kingston Photo © Elaine Campaner

Recent Comments

David Roffey: {whimper} in Not with a bang ... 12 weeks 6 days ago
Jenny Hume: So long mate in Not with a bang ... 12 weeks 6 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Reds (under beds?) in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Justin Obodie: Why not, with a bang? in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Fiona Reynolds: Dear Albatross in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Michael Talbot-Wilson: Good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Fiona Reynolds: Goodnight and good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 3 days ago
Margo Kingston: bye, babe in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 6 days ago