By Walter Broeckx
So here we go again, the world cup has started. I have let you know on many occasions that I hate international football. I don’t give a damn about it and I think the world could be a better place if Fifa and the national teams would suddenly disappear from the planet.
But as Fifa doesn’t give a damn about what I think about it, they keep on organising a World cup every 4 year. For those who might think that I don’t like the current world cup because Belgium is not in it I can assure you that the fact that Belgium is not in it is the only good thing about this world cup.
I confess I don’t give a toss about the Belgium national team. The main reason is because in my opinion we in Belgium invented anti-football, zero football and everything in between.
The offside trap: when the whole team is running to the middle line to put everyone offside we brought it. Playing with one striker and the rest behind the ball, we mastered it. And winning by bending all the rules, wasting time, using every dirty trick in the book and relying on some outstanding goalkeepers that we had in the past to prevent other teams from scoring, we have done it on many occasions.
We have never played the nice football that Holland can do, no we matched it with pulling all our players back in front of our goal and parking the bus, the tram, the Eurostar and a new Airbus A380 in front of our goal. In short we played the football you sometimes see when we play Bolton or Blackburn or Stoke.
I really think those teams stole it from us and I hold Belgium football responsible, together with the Italians for inventing negative football. So believe me a world cup without the Belgian team in it is a good thing for me.
Back to South Africa. I could bury my head in the sand for the next month and pretend nothing is going on but unfortunately this will not work. I cannot open a newspaper, I cannot watch TV, I cannot listen to the radio, I cannot open the internet or the World cup is the first thing I see or hear. I cannot even go to the Untold Arsenal because even over here the world cup has started with an high altitude article.
So what can I do about it? I think I just will try to live with it and maybe write an article about my thoughts on the tournament. And I will try to stick my head out and do some predictions on what the teams that include Gunners will do on this tournament.
I normally don’t do predictions when Arsenal plays as I have some kind of silly superstition that it brings us bad luck. And also because I never can predict the final score line right and I hate it when I try to do so and turn out to be a fool. But now it can only work out fine if I make predictions. If my superstition works out like I think it does all our players will be back in London after the groupstages. Now isn’t that a fine prospect? So here I go with my predictions.
France have Gallas, Sagna, Clichy and Diaby in the team. Luckily Domenech is a bad coach so he didn’t realise that Nasri was fit and left him home. The French team is in trouble even before a ball got kicked. Some bad friendlies with bad results. Gallas who is doing his best to bring some life in the group with not talking to the press, to his colleagues, the manager, and the rest of the world because he was stripped of the captaincy.
I also believe France is relying on to many older players like Henry, Anelka, Gallas (if fit). So I think they will have a difficult time. Maybe they could qualify for the next round but I even doubt they will get that far. Playing the home country is always difficult as they will give everything and with all the troubles in the team and with the coach they could go out.
Mexico with our young Carlos Vela in the team could be a surprise this tournament. Having come through the first game against South Africa with a draw after having all the pressure they could do OK. They have some skillful players in the team, like Vela, and also they are used to travelling from high altitude to low and the other way round as well. So they could benefit from this.
I really hope that Vela has a good world cup and does what we know he can do: playing some brillant stuff and scoring some amazing goals. And I really hope that this will launch his career at Arsenal and bring him in the first team. But I not will feel sorry if they go out after the group stages or after the next round.
Ivory Coast with our smiling Eboué in the team will have an early exit I think. I don’t think they are good enough to beat Brazil and Portugal. I think they are 11 good players but not enough a team and a unit. But to be fair I would love to see them beating Portugal and sending Ronaldo home. (Did I ever mention I have something against him?) I hope they go to the next round but I really doubt it.
Denmark with Nicklas Bendtner who is struggling with an injury. Well to be honest I hope he continues to struggle till the Danes go out. Sorry Nicklas, don’t take it personally but I only see it through my (rose tinted) Arsenal glasses. To be fair I don’t think the Danes are good enough to go to the next round unless they can beat Cameroon.
Because Cameroon with Alex Song in the team is in the same group. I have seen Cameroon play but they haven’t made a great impression on me. They are no more the Indomitable Lions they used to be. They are more looking like some fresh born little lions to me to be honest so I think Song will go out unless they can beat Denmark. Anyway it will be or Song or Bendtner home early.
Holland with Robin Van Persie who has shown in the friendly games they have played how much we have missed him this season. He really was on fire and scored some great goals. Oh damn that friendly in Italy cost us the league. I do think they can go all the way. They have the skill and the players to go far. The only thing that could be there weak point is, as usual, their defence.
Spain with Cesc in the team, or on the bench, is one of the big favourites of the tournament. European champions, all very talented players, a good defence, they have everything to become world champion and they also have the right age to do it. If I can speak as a football lover I think this would be my dream final.
But like I said before, when I make predictions I usually end up with being stupid and looking foolish, or is this the other way round? So it could well be that because of my prediction Holland and Spain go out early and … Cesc and Robin will be back much earlier in London than we had expected. Now that would be some good news if you ask me.
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