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Thread: World Cup

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    World Cup

    I didn't know where to put this. I figured I'd start a thread for the world cup in its own, not the qualifiers. I will post general articles about it, and I'll start with an article about my favourite team Germany. I totally agree with this author and I think that's why German has a chance:

    Behind The Wall: Mediocrity ‹ber Alles
    4/1/2005 10:41:00 PM

    Iím often asked about Germanyís chances as host nation at the next World Cup finals. People seem genuinely fascinated at the possibility of Europeís great superpower falling flat on their Teutonic noses at their own party in the summer of 2006. Well, forget it, folks. It ainít going to happen.

    Why praytell, I hear you ask? Well, for a number of reasons. First and foremost itís the World Cup not the European Championship. This German side could host the next ten Euros and fail to even reach one decider. The fact of the matter is, the World Cup is a less intense event.

    Think back to the last World Cup. Mediocre, tottering, redoubtable Germany made the final and lost bravely to Brazil in one of the better World Cup showpieces. At both Euro 2000 and Euro 2004, this same discredited generation crashed out at the first stage in embarrassing fashion. Why? Simply because the standard of opposition in the group stages is far higher in the continental event than it is in the inter-continental jamboree that produces more hype than quality in its current bloated form.

    Germanyís Euro opponents over the last two events have been Romania, England, Portugal, Holland, Latvia, and the Czech Republic. At the last World Cup, they faced Saudi Arabia, Ireland, and Cameroon. At the next World Cup, theyíll face probably only one European opponent - which is just as well given their recent record. No doubt an Asian representative will find their way into the same group, with possibly Mexico or the USA for good measure. In essence, Germany are going to stroll through to round two. No early exits here.

    Then comes the tricky part, but also, as previous generations can testify, the time when the Germans become somewhat unbeatable for reasons best known to themselves. While I donít think the Germans have a squad capable of winning the World Cup in any country other than their own, I do believe that home advantage, historical precedent, and sheer bloodymindedness will ensure an extended stay in their own tournament. Can they win it? Normally I'd say no, but the Germans on home turf usually take some stopping. Even allowing for the fact that this is a poor German side in comparison to previous generations, the opposition is hardly stellar. Let's face it, we're not living in a golden age of football. Or silver. Or even tin. We're living in the alu-foil era when organisation triumphs over ability...I mean, posturing.

    Greece, the current European champions won't beat the Germans in Berlin. Or Hamburg. Or Stuttgart. Or anywhere in 2006. France are in terminal decline, and will do well to even qualify with their dismal mix of has-beens and never-will-bes. Spain deliver only in a parallel universe - . Italy have forgotten the lessons of 1982, that to win a World Cup you've got to enter opposition territory. Argentina have never played a decent World Cup outside of Latin America (no, 1990 wasn't decent - it was brutal troglodytic anti-football laced with cynicism if not quite cyanide in Branco's water bottle). England will be crushed under the weight of their own ludicrously hilarious expectations. That leaves Brazil and Holland and one of the outsiders to make an impact. Hardly intimidtaing for a nation like Germany, so assured of their own abilities when the belief flows.

    Indeed, that is what Klinsmann's real task is: to instill the self-belief, inculcate that familar certainty of superiority in his German players. If he does it, they'll compete to the last few days. If he doesn't, he's always got that American residence he holds so dear...

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    post something about Italy.

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    There are no articles about them as of yet. But when I find one I would.

    I just liked the bit he said about Italy in the article, it's so true and he put it in a nice way.

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    FIF Special Ones 10 years of FIF

    Re: World Cup

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamed
    Italy have forgotten the lessons of 1982, that to win a World Cup you've got to enter opposition territory
    If only I had more room in my signature
    22/04/07 15th
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    18/12/10 WORLD CHAMPIONS
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    Yes Francesco, when you find the space - you may like to add this:

    England will be crushed under the weight of their own ludicrously hilarious expectations.
    Fabio
    "Cuore, Testa, Muscoli.. Da anni sognavamo un Gruppo cosi!!!
    Forza Ragazzi
    Nessuno escluso"

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    FIF Special Ones 10 years of FIF
    Quote Originally Posted by I Love Inter!
    Yes Francesco, when you find the space - you may like to add this:

    England will be crushed under the weight of their own ludicrously hilarious expectations.
    Fabio
    Expectations that are surely justified
    22/04/07 15th
    18/05/08 16th
    16/05/09 17th
    16/05/10 18th
    22/05/10 CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE
    18/12/10 WORLD CHAMPIONS
    29/08/09 Milan 0 Inter 4 Thiago Motta, Milito (p), Maicon, Stankovic - Dominated and outclassed
    Materazzi World Champion

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    This article is from goal.com, I really agree with what he said. However, I'm not saying eliminate the world cup, but cut down the international games. I too am of the opinion that the CL is becoming better than the WC. However, the WC is more of a celebration of the world, where the CL is pure attractive soccer, unless of course some zebra team is playing, in that case I'd rather watch Costa Rica vs Vietnam for the ocean cup.

    Lame, Tame and to Blame?
    4/19/2005 3:34:00 AM
    John Caird argues that international football has outlived its usefulness and that it is time for club football to take precedence Ė perhaps even to the point of replacing internationals altogetherÖ
    Since the dawn of the new millennium world football has displayed two major championships: the 2002 world cup and the 2004 European championships. Both tournaments shared a similar theme, top players largely performed under par and the standard of football was far lower than would have been expected.

    There is a common English punditry myth that has gone about for a long time. At first it probably wasnít a myth but by the changing of times it has evolved into one. The myth is that international football is a step up from club football. Itís been a myth for at the very least 10 years but may even precede the start of the Champions League. The latter tournament has certainly contributed to residing the statement to mythological status.

    Alex Ferguson I feel confirmed what many believed, that the Champions League is the highest standard of football there is. Taking that into account it can hardly be said with any strong conviction today that International football is actually a step up from club football. If anything itís a step down. Top European clubs are inevitably filled with the best players and they rarely ever play sides at a standard as low as International teams like Azerbaijan, Liechtenstein, Estonia or the Faroe Islands. That is just the worst of European national sides never mind the Caribbean and Central American teams, some African sides, most Asian sides and the small Islands in Oceania. In fact Azerbaijan are a decent side by International football standards! By the world rankings they rank 116th in the world whereas the bottom side American Samoa are ranked 205th.

    There is a second myth that reads "there are no easy games in international football any more". Clearly false, Brazilís superstars will hardly struggle against America Samoa. Both myths seem to add strength to the idea of how wonderful and competitive international football is when the reality of today is completely different. Top players are not playing anywhere near their peak for their national sides and the interest in International football does seem to be waning.

    When the first World Cup was set up in 1930 it was a marvellous idea. World Cup history is a rich history of sheer footballing brilliance. It was the stage for the highest standard of football on the planet but things have changed. For one thing the excitement and mystique of it all has decreased enormously by the shrinking of the world. We donít need to see a World Cup every four years to see the Brazilian superstars. Not long ago it was a rare treat to see even Italians and Frenchmen play. Now it is the norm. Not only is the free movement of labour greater now in football which creates the situation of an English side starting with a team filled without an Englishman present in it there is also the technology of the television and the internet. We can watch live matches from all the top leagues in the world if we are prepared to pay for it. The aura of a Pele type has disappeared as you may even see him play for your club or watch him on television in the comfort of your home once a week.

    The setting up of the Champions League created a tournament where the top European sides who were basically the top sides in the world could play against each other season after season. The increase in participants to the tournament has created a wondrous competition that happens every season and you are practically guaranteed all the players are playing to the best of their ability. International football may have suffered because of it. With the World Cup not being the highest standard any more, with more competitive club matches than ever in recent years and an audience who is no longer shadowed from the world like they once were it creates a situation where the World Cup is a lessened event.

    World Cup qualifiers are even worse. Most nations barely fill a stadium to watch their country play against some minnow of International football. The World Cup qualifiers become an unwanted break from the footballing club calendar. Club managers pray that their stars donít get injured whilst most fans think the same. I for one hate World Cup qualifiers and canít believe the boredom of the whole affair. I crave club football on the days of the International matches. Friendlies however are the worst of the lot. Roll-on subs, players playing at 50% of their ability at best with absolutely no competitive edge. Only the English seem to get excited by the dull affair.

    The misery is topped off if you support one of the bigger club sides and you see your star player coming back injured after being fielded in a pointless game for his country.

    There is also the problem of the number of matches played in football. Nearly everyone agrees that there are slightly too many matches, which hampers the overall quality of football. The answer was to cut the Champions League down, as that was to blame apparently. Why cut short the best competition there is when the leagues could be shortened to 16 teams, creating 8 fewer matches than are usual in top leagues? Why not cut as many international matches as possible? Dare I even suggest to get rid of International football period! Maybe Iíd regret that if it were to happen.

    The World Cup and even a European Championship, despite all the problems raised thus far, still excite me.

    Couldnít there be a World Club Cup to replace international football though? We know there has been one that was an annoying and relatively pointless exercise. We also know that there has been the intercontinental cup played every season as a one-off match between the winners of the Copa Libertadores and the Champions League. That trophy however seems to mean more to the South Americans than it does to the Europeans. Not that itís unimportant to top European clubs, just that itís not as important as winning the Champions League in the first place Ė or their own respective national league titles. Itís a bonus as much as anything.

    There is also a tournament that FIFA hosts which is so uninspiring that the International sides who participate never play their strongest sides, television companies donít fight over the rights and the fans barely turn up. That tournament is the Confederations Cup. I can hear the reader yawn now at the very mention of that boring competition. A funny point of note is FIFAís own opinion on it. Their opinion is so high of it that in calculating their world rankings they award as much a factor for a Confederations Cup match as they do for a European Championship finals match or a Copa America finals match. The factor is higher than a World Cup qualifying match. Who are they kidding?!

    International football is largely a relic of a bygone age and I would doubt that many would miss it if it were gone other than the staunch nationalists. If it disappeared club football could replace the void filled by World Cups and the like and world football could be better integrated and offer an even higher standard of football with no friendlies in sight during a competitive season. It may not be possible especially due to the structure of world football, which to a large extent needs it for financial purposes. International matches obviously are a steady income for the respective FAs and thus their confederations (e.g. UEFA, CONCACAF etc) and then FIFA. I think the clubs however could make more money despite this by replacing International tournaments with club competitions.

    Whatever the answer is there is no doubt that International football has lost much of its past appeal and football is looking for new ways to improve the game we all love. As far as I am concerned shredding the International games calendar perhaps even to the point of eradicating it altogether is one of many good solutions.


    John Caird

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    Excellent articles, especially about the meaningless friendlies that plague international football. The World & European Cups are in essence globalized stage events that promise a lot of exciting football but has not delivered in the desired quantity in the last handful of international tournaments i have watched. In fact, most of the players look positively drained from a long season of club football. I'm not meaning to be rid of interntional tournaments like the World Cup anytime soon, but i can see the reason why there are so many complaints about the whole affair.

    Ciao,
    Tim
    MAI STATI IN B

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    Yeah, definitely agree. I mean WC90,94,98 and Euro92,96,2000 were much much better than the latter ones. That's defintely related to the ridiculous amount of games the playres have to play now, it was different long time ago.

    Reduce league teams to at least 16, no cup tournaments, and finish at least one month before WC or Euro.

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    How deep is your love?

    Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger

    My last column didn't exactly sit well with a few die-hard Bayern supporters.


    Yet their e-mails of complaint were a tad unfair, methinks, because the headline of the piece ('Fortune favours the Bavarians') was chosen by the nice people at Soccernet, not me, and the same went for the lead which claimed I was one of the many Germans who constantly moan about Bayern's luck. When I didn't and don't.


    But be that as it may, it got me thinking about the nature of football fans in general. Actually, the trigger was that I attended a Tim Parks reading the other day, briefly mentioned in the column that dealt with the build-up to the World Cup and this travelling giant football that hosts so-called cultural events. Parks read from 'A Season with Verona', of course, his book about the year he spent watching every Hellas game, home and away.

    After the reading, there was a quarter of an hour scheduled for questions. The very first person to stand up had this to say: 'Mr Parks, you are a real football fan, as we know from your book. But at the same time you are here to promote an event, the World Cup, which only has negative effects on real fans.'

    He then mentioned some of those negative effects, such as the police closely monitoring people they deem undesirable, very quickly imposed bans on supporters who get caught with, for instance, flares, rising ticket prices, all-seater stadia and so on.

    Parks pondered this for a moment, then he explained he was not there to promote the World Cup and that he indeed had very mixed feelings about the tournament.

    He mentioned the scenes from Japan and South Korea in 2002, 'all those people with their painted faces. You don't see people like that at football games. It was all set up.'

    Then he said there were too many games during a World Cup he couldn't care less about and mentioned the match he once saw from a press box which was 'so boring' it had him yearn for the stands where his fellow fans were.

    As much as I admire Parks (especially for his non-fiction books about life in Italy), this somewhat reminded me of another Englishman I know, let's call him Jack.

    Well over ten years ago, when Nick Hornby's 'Fever Pitch' first came out, I said to Jack this was the first truly good book by and about a football fan. Whereupon Jack exploded in my face. 'But that guy is just pretending to be a real fan!' he protested. 'He only goes to the home games! And only to the games of the first team!'

    Jack, I should explain, at that time hadn't missed a game - any game! - of his club in a decade or so. To him, Hornby was only slightly removed from an couch potato on the evolutionary ladder and, yes, I have deleted a few expletives.

    Also - and don't be afraid, this time I won't lose the red thread -, a Swedish writer by the name of Mattias will drop by next week during his tour of Germany. He has an idea for a piece about the fans' 'counter movement', meaning supporters who rise up to and are vocal about the trappings of commercialism. He thinks this is a particularly German phenomenon.

    And he's probably right. English fans, once the people we looked up to, have obviously succumbed to ridiculous ticket prices, all-seater arenas, kick-offs at noon, the power of pay-per-view and being told to keep quiet and behave during matches.

    OK, then. What is a real football fan? Is he someone who puts pen to paper as soon as he thinks something critical about his team or country has been published? I don't think so. I come from a city and support a club where we pride ourselves on being critical, as we feel it's precisely that which makes the difference between a casual onlooker and somebody who cares deeply.

    Is a real football fan someone who supports his team in sound and gesture and in person - meaning: at every game - and looks down on the World Cup as a carnival for part-time thrill-seekers? I don't think so. I like the World Cup and watch as many matches as I can, because besides supporting a specific team I also love the game itself.

    I prefer the stands, as Tim Parks does, but I don't find sitting in the press stand boring, because there is still a game to be watched, even if I can't sing or shout. Heck, I even enjoy watching kids play in the park - when I can't support one of the two sides or make myself, the spectator, the true star of the whole thing.

    Finally, is a real football fan someone who works and schemes for the better of the game, whatever that may be, who forms pressure groups and picket lines against those who want to take football away from those to whom it belongs? I don't think so.

    I have never figured out to whom the game belongs, because as far as I see it, it's basically only about the players. They could and would play even if we weren't watching.

    Oh sure, they'd make less money or none, but that doesn't stop anyone, as amateur football proves every Sunday. Yet watching, chanting and waving scarves without players on the pitch seems, er, rather daft.


    Or how about this: I consider myself a baseball fan and support my team, the Pirates. Yet I have never attended a major league game in person. But I guess that's ok, I don't have to physically prove I like the game of this club by flying around the world.

    By the same token, the many fans of Bayern or the German national team who send me mails from the USA and even Africa are certainly fans in my book.

    They aren't better or worse than the guy who stood up to ask Tim Parks a question, they are just different. The people who paint their faces during a World Cup and the people who throw flares so that Inter vs Milan has to be abandoned - I may not like them, but they don't deserve somebody saying they are not real fans.

    Even the people in the press stands could be fans, who knows? Uh, now I might have gone too far.

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    That's another great article from soccerent.com

    I think some people are mixing the quality of play at the WC with the other things. As I said, the quality of soccer has been horrible in the past major tournaments, EC and WC. And many favourite teams were knocked early.

    Alot of fans of those countries start getting a bit disillusioned about the world cup and belittling it. All the while, they should as their own FA for a way to ensure players don't get tired come June.

    Also, his last sentences were great, specially those about the Inter reference. They mirror my own beliefs, those guys are still fans despite what he said.

    However, as Uli also mentions, those hard-core fans shouldn't claim that they are the sole true supporters of the team.

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