We're not Brazil, I know that, I don't expect amazing football from England but in this World Cup it would be nice to at least see a hint of entertainment in a game, even if it is not of Brazilian standard. Sadly it hasn't happened (yet?).
Over the last couple of weeks I've been neglecting my blog. It wasn't worth it but I've largely been spending my spare time watching the world cup games. As far as previous world cups have played out, this dedication of time wouldn't be a bad thing, afterall the average person in the UK will only get 19 World Cups in their lifetime. Of those there are many the person won't get to fully appreciate, especially those our nations won't qualify for.
So considering how precious the chance is to really throw yourself into a World Cup, its completely underwhelming when you get a World Cup like this. That is a World Cup where defensive perseverance and offensive incompetence have dominated. Many of the goals scored so far have been either mistakes by the defence rather than inspired attacking play or just plain old lucky.
I think this can be summed up when we look at direct free kicks that have been scored so far. The answer is a puzzling 1 and that one was a cross that bounced before it hit the back of the net after the goalie and defence and attackers all missed the ball.
In short, very few goals have had world class quality to them. I'm certain I saw consistently higher quality finishing in the Irish League last season and these guys in South Africa are meant to be the best of the best in the footballing world.
The ball would seem to be the popular issue but its the same for all teams and they've surely had long enough to get used to it by now given that they have had weeks of full time training (or should have!) and being able to control a similar ball is for most their full time profession. It does however seem that something has provided the apparent inability of many players to control the ball or to be able to put the right weight on a pass and this seems to be leading to a lack of excitement as play breaks up too easily.
So is the drone of the vuvuzelas helping to level things out on the pitch much like a torrential downpour? I doubt this can be the case, if the players aren't used to noise at a game then they've been wearing earplugs whilst playing for their club sides.
It is just a guess, but in the dire games so far, the teams just don't seem to be trying quite as much as in those games where there has been talking points and action to remember. The Brazil Vs North Korea match saw one side defending like many others but at least both sides gave their all and it showed. It looked good and we finally had something to cheer even though most of us were just intrigued by the match up.
Its almost like they've forggoten that there are only 3 group games and in the 1st round of games it was almost as if some games were being treated as warm up matches.
England have managed to let something get to them and now we've an extra knock out game awaiting on Wednesday, we've not been great but then neither have many teams. For whatever reasons, the defensive teams in the competition have shone so far. Producing very little entertainment but providing a few shock results.
I just worry that if defensive teams continue to sneak results we could end up with a repeat of the Euros with a Greek like winner where we're all dumbstruck as to how they managed it.
For the sake of the World Cup as a spectacle, lets hope the attacking teams can get their acts together in the last games and make the knockout games something worth watching.