Well its all over and done with…..France beat a courageous but outclassed Croatia, there were blunders galore, the pundits literally burst their seams with pointless and repetitive ¨observations¨ about who was and wasn’t the cock of the walk this particular match, etc.
One observation I didn’t hear was about how peculiarly inept the Croatian goalkeeper was, letting in at least two goals because of bad positioning but that is neither here nor there. Here is what we didn’t learn from the three and a half weeks of ¨world class¨ football:
1) We didn’t learn that VAR (video assisted refeering) is pointless, useless, game ruining nonsense. In fact we saw the benefits (as I imagine the officials did) of the availability of screens and fourth opinions for the man or woman in the centre.
2) We didn’t learn anything about simulation, cheating, faking injury or other behaviour that brings the game into disrepute as Neymar spent at least 15 minutes over the games he played, rolling around on the turf trying to convince the assembled spectators that he had lost his leg in the last tackle.
I cannot remember a yellow card being given for simulation during the entire WC spectacle so I safely assume that nobody took any notice of it, other than the entire footballing world.
The glorification of English football
3) We didn’t learn anything about refraining from trying to glorify English Football and learning the needed humility British fans need to have about the reality of the state of their game. England’s display was interesting and summed up the entirety of the British game…. workmanlike, stolid, uninspired, lacking real creativity and finesse, capable of curing insomnia and generally adequate without being enjoyable.
Small nations prosper
4) We didn’t learn that tiny nations like Croatia, Belgium, and Denmark are doing something right while big name nation football superstars like Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina, and Portugal were failing to perform for various reasons that seem tied to their lack of conviction, aging players and a dependence on form rather than substance.
The French academy system
5) We didn’t learn that France and its academy system continues to produce some spectacularly skilled players like Mbappe, Griezman, Varane, Lloris, Kante etc. We saw them consistently step up their play and, when needed, move into a higher gear in almost every game they played, but them greasy foreigners can’t hold a candle to our good British lads who can kick anyone off the field at the drop of a referee’s whistle.
Officialdom is not like England
6) We didn’t learn that WC FIFA officials are NOT the same as EPL officials and that they are significantly different in their willingness to use VAR, in their recognition of dangerous or violent play, in their refusal to be intimidated by players or managers, in their obvious impartiality and fairness in the application of the Laws but we know that football played outside of Britain is for pussies!
Fifa’s finances soar
7) We didn’t learn that this 3 week commercial feast is mostly for the benefit of FIFA’s coffers and that the most corrupt football governing Association in the world can still do what it wants, when it wants and to whom it wants because the national football Associations almost universally refuse to countenance the loss of their right to suckle at the teat of FIFA.
Beware resultant injuries
8) We didn’t learn that this four year event can play havoc with the EPL start to the season, and risk serious injury to key players, overall mental and physical fatigue and even depression when the national team fails to perform as expected. Nobody wants to be weaned off the drug that is the WC even if it means that all of the above repeats every time an international is played or the qualifying rounds for this event begin.
Sign him up
9) We failed to learn that because a player had a good or great world cup, that he is NOT automatically and absolutely a great transfer for our club and that our management are NOT stupid, incompetent amateurs who should listen to the pundits, fanboys and critics because, well……….we’re right.
An intelligent use of resources
10) Finally, we didn’t learn that just because a team performed better in this WC event that it means we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and that all is well when it comes to the future. We really don’t get that progress in the technical and performance aspects of the National game is dependent upon intelligent use of resources, improvements in coaching and training, a unified vision of what our football goals are and a realistic view of Football.
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