Has this World Cup been utter tosh or has it been brilliant? Do the players look knackered or refreshed? Every view is here.
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Is this the worst World Cup ever?
For a change, I’m just talking about on the pitch. Out of the 23 games that have happened so far, has there even been a good game yet? So far to my knowledge, you’ve got Portugal v Ghana in the second half that took off. Saudi Arabia and Japan had early upsets, which are great, but Argentina and Germany were awful, so not sure you can consider it a great football match. Iran v Wales was quite fun but more thud and blunder than anything else. England, France and Spain have had moments against some incredibly poor opposition on the day…
And that’s about it. So lets roughly say for generosities’ sake about 180 minutes of good football, out of well over 2000 (about 2500 with all this injury time!) minutes played. And I’m not talking just goals, goals, goals, I genuinely mean just a good standard of football between two teams in football’s ultimate competition.
It has been so low on quality it’s almost laughable now. I mean so, so bad. The players look absolutely shattered, nearly all of the atmospheres have been drab. I can’t think of a worse tournament other than maybe 2010 in South Africa. Can anyone think of why this might be? We’re constantly told that players struggle at tournaments because they are coming off the back of a long hard season, which isn’t the case now. It’s hot, but is it THAT hot? Around 30 degrees maximum for the early kick offs, before cooling for the evening ones. Not crazily out of control hot.
This tournament needs to seriously wake up, because it’s sending everyone else to sleep. The boycotters are not missing anything so far. As comic book guy would say… Worst. World cup. Ever.
Is this World Cup brilliant?
Let me just shock you…I like winter Worlds Cups.
…Making my debut here in the F365 mailbox and I must say, despite the homoerotic nature of the constant United V Liverpool nonsense, it’s a great read.
Anyway to the reason I write – the general entertainment of this WC so far has been of the highest order. It may have something to do with supporting a Tottenham side who, under Conte, could turn a glass eye to sleep but I am enjoying this so much.
I’ve spent the last 6 years cursing the idea of a mid season WC but actually it’s been bloody refreshing, I get to enjoy the game of the masses without a single minute of Emerson Royal. I wouldn’t be consumed by it had it have been a summer tournament, there’s no way I would sit indoors to watch a disciplined Saudi side make a mockery of everyone’s least favourite South Americans, nor would I be adoring the Ecuador camaraderie too.
Everyone else has hammered the political and moral views of this WC and thankfully it’s dying down because the football on show so far must be celebrated.
Thank you .
Wes (football is alright you know) THFC
England’s biggest problem
The fundamental issue for England is that we cannot move the ball through midfield at pace to the forwards. Our best moments come when we spray the ball wide to a full back (not even to the wingers) and let them put a ball in. That’s a great option but it shouldn’t be the only option and it’s quick to adapt. When teams do, we have nothing.
Relying on Mount to do it is laughable as his touch often lets him down in forward positions. Bellingham could but is asked to do a deeper role.
The exception here is Kane dropping deep. That works well, when he can, but that requires Saka or Sterling (no one else will be given a start) to make the right run and (critically) be able to finish. I’d fancy Saka to do it about 1/3 of the time, Sterling less. But Rashford and Foden? I’d say 2/3 or more for each.
Is the reason the players? No, the reason is simple. The manager doesn’t understand how to set up this type of football. I’m not sure I’ve seen a team so unwilling to make those passes through midfield as this. We know the players can do it, we’ve seen them doing it.
The answer is IMO to push Bellingham forwards or replace him with Foden or Grealish to sit as a 10, and put Rashford on instead of Sterling so there’s actually a goal threat alongside Kane.
We shouldn’t need to wait till the 70th minute to see this, this is how we should start and own the game from the beginning.
Southgate has no managerial credentials and an aversion to attack. It’s not a great mix. Reaching a final where we took the lead because a full back scored a rare goal, only to then hand the initiative to the opposition tells the whole story.
Final point, we know why Southgate picks the players he does. They retain the ball (most of the time) and seem to look busy. But that isn’t enough to win bigger matches let alone tournaments. It needs players who can play unexpected passes, open a defence, maybe even take a shot from range and put it on target. If things don’t change the tournament will be spent riding our luck and hoping to snatch an unlikely goal somewhere. Basically, just like the previous two. Six years on, and nothing has changed from how he started.
And sorry (not sorry) but while Saka is a nice player, he’s tremendously overrated and there is no way he or Sterling (also long-time overrated) should be starting ahead of Foden who is quite frankly brilliant, and probably the best player we have.
Why English people are so critical of their team
So, for all you lovely people on the outside of England who wonder why there is such negativity over the England team drawing a game against a pretty decent team.
1.) This country is terrible at the moment. From the self inflicted economic woes of Brexit and completely mental prime ministers, to the social anxiety of an increasingly poor majority of the population it is not an easy to place to be. Tournament football, especially since 2018, has been an incredible balm to the nation… an island of hope and fun in a news quagmire of poop. When a Friday night match where everyone was hoping for another good win and performance to help us feel good turns into an average game of football then it has a deeper negative effect.
2.) Social media, the press and even the TV pundits all try and sell the narrative that everything is either positive or negative. No grey areas. No need to think for yourself, or hold 2 different concepts in your head that can both be true at once, just grab one of these off the shelf extreme opinions and run with it.
3.) We English are expert moaners. Outwardly we are stiff upper lip and all that but privately we moan and whinge like entitled idiots. (I am as guilty as any English person). This also correlates to our weird belief that saying things on Twitter is the same as saying it in your own home.
4.) Southgate is an erudite, empathetic human being. This is widely distrusted by most of England. If you’re not a spittle flecked passionate football man or can crack jokes for media mates then really, what are you doing there?
5.) This is not unique to England necessarily but this Xmas World Cup thing is nonsense. We like our seasonal structure. This is abhorrent.
6.) I’d like to say the fact it is held in Qatar has an effect but, from speaking to many people, most do care about human rights abuses and the deaths of migrant workers…. for about 5 minutes. Any more than that and it impacts on their enjoyment of the football and why can’t people just enjoy it?
All of this contributes to the negative attitude whenever anything doesn’t meet the mad, high expectations we have….. it really does reflect society at the moment. Sadly.
Watching the end of Belgium’s golden generation makes me nostalgic for England’s. In a combined XI this current England team isn’t getting a look in. Maybe you’d have Foden or Sterling ahead of Joe Cole and for actual balance it makes sense to play Rice over Lampard but that’s not how the golden generation worked!
Maybe Kane over injured Owen but Mount’s no Rooney, Saka no Beckham, Terry and Rio another level to Maguire and Stones. Trippier’s good but no Neviller or Johnson, Ashley Cole was the best around at one point.
But put both teams on the same pitch and you are backing Southgate over Sven. Probably a lesson there somewhere.
Alex, South London
Hope some German players come out and tell Hazard he should maybe concentrate on playing better and beating Morocco instead of talking about them. Karma is a bitch Hazard. You’re a loser and deserve that. At least the Germans tried to make a gesture of sorts. You? The only gesture you’re good at making these days is one of being shit! Bye bye Belgium.
The problem isn’t Qatar, it’s FIFA
Everyone knew what Qatar is like when it was chosen by FIFA. So it shouldn’t have been picked in the first place, which means that FIFA is
at fault first and foremost. But then, the national FAs had every opportunity to simply boycott it after that abysmal choice of FIFA – a boycott of a football WC is nothing new. They didn’t, though; think of all the money the national FAs would have forfeited due to boycotting a WC, so they couldn’t be bothered.
Now Qatar is pointed at – but everyone knows what Qatar is all about. And Qatar isn’t the only country with laws and attitudes like that. Blaming Qatar therefore doesn’t make any sense.
Just for the record – I’m still not watching it. We shouldn’t play there.
People can make a difference
In the run up to the World Cup, people have voiced that they aren’t getting involved. A boycott if you will.
We know the reasons. They are multiple and they are glaringly obvious.
People have shouted back “keep politics out of football”, just watch the football”, “virtual signalling”, “who are you to tell another country what rules they should follow”.
People are obviously free to do as they wish (not in Qatar, obviously).
Thing is, one question that always seems to get raised for protests or boycotts is: what does it achieve?
This article actually highlights it. If enough people take a stand, change happens. In Germany, enough people opted to not watch a match and the players made a protest statement on the pitch. Denmark and Hummel have done the same. And now Fifa appears to be sitting a little less comfortably. Their power may be threatened.
What I want to know is why British (well, English) people just shrug and say “what difference does it make” as if collective power of 20m+ people protesting isn’t powerful enough to get change. Why couldn’t England have been Germany, (or even worked together as two of the most powerful footballing nations) to bring change.
What are we, almost as a nation, scared of? It’s like we reject the power of the collective in favour of the power of the few and accept our place.
I know some of my actions are hypocritical, I know I’m not perfect, and I’m not saying I’m right or better than other people, it’s just that this World Cup was such an easy and obvious one to boycott collectively. Just feels like we’re missing a chance to bring change to a corrupt system.
Let’s boycott the women’s World Cup
The FIFA Women’s World Cup is being hosted by Australia and NZ next year; July 2023.
Here are 4 reasons why it shouldn’t be:
1. Alcohol is widely used and its consumption is encouraged. Such widespread use causes hundreds of deaths each year in the country, either through direct causation or through car accidents.
2. Drug Laws are inconsistent and weak. Possession and use of Heroin in some parts of Australia lead to nothing more than warnings and counselling. In some parts, drug use is rampant and out of control, particularly amongst the youth.
3. Pornography is legal, easily acquired and normalised in Australia with currently no laws on its consumption. Australia ranks in the top 10 countries of pornography use; though would be far higher up the table if a ‘per-capita’ calculation was performed.
4. Australia recently permitted a 13 year old school girl to identify as a cat.
Qatar and the entire MENA region has its standard on alcohol, sexual practices and drugs, that are not shared by the collective Western world.
The Western world, in turn, has problems of its own, though often trumpeted as democracy, progress and other smoke-and-mirror type adjectives.
So, if you are genuinely concerned about the scientifically-supported negative impact of alcohol, drugs and pornography to human beings of most ages, stay away from Australia as your presence would be construed as encouraging ill-health, poor choices and rampant distortions of multiple kinds.
OR…you can recognise that each country is free to choose its laws; to pick the poisons it allows and doesn’t allow.
Qatar has chosen its rules. Russia did in 2018. Australia has too.
None are perfect.
Take your arm bands off and enjoy the football.
Stuart (lived in 5 different countries to assist with perspective)
Fanmail for Wes
Wes of London, f**k off, seriously just f**k off.
1) It’s possible to accept and even be ashamed of Britain’s colonial history and the West’s ongoing exploitation of the rest of the world and STILL call out other societies’ abhorrent behaviours.
2) If your worldview is so insular and pathetic that you have been excitedly waiting for this World Cup (THIS World Cup?) for 4 years and it can be ruined by reading the content of a website, how on earth do you expect your “support” of any nation to be significant in any way whatsoever?
3) Anybody that ends an argument with an admittal of admiration for Piers Morgan immediately discredits anything they have previously said or written.
By the way, you’re aware that the Editor prints the most idiotic messages first in the F365 mailbox, aren’t you?
…The email from Wes is a classic in whataboutery that we regularly get from the defenders of Qatar and other autocracies. I won’t get into a back and forth on Wes’s historical inaccuracies on a football website, because the criticism isn’t about history done by long dead people, it’s about current injustices. Critics aren’t complaining about the bloody armies from the Arabian peninsular that raped and murdered their way to Spain and India. They are complaining about human trafficking, construction deaths, sexual abuse of domestic staff and brutal punishments for gay people.
While modern Britain is not perfect, it has strong worker safety protections, is viewed as the premier fair legal system, is a pioneer in anti-slavery efforts and has probably the toughest anti-corruption law worldwide. We even allow people from all over the world to become and remain citizens – even those that have lived in the UK all their lives but carefully structure their sentences to avoid identifying as British. This stands in contrast to the second and third generation immigrants in Gulf states that know they will be kicked out if they ever become unemployed.
The comparison to expecting good queuing is laughable, as orderly waiting is a good thing for society while throwing people in prison for being gay is not. In my experience, those trying to excuse Middle Eastern religious bigotry are our own domestic religious bigots. So please, let’s all ignore the whataboutery and don’t let the Qataris, Emiratis and Saudis get away with their sportswashing. Enjoy the football, but keep on bringing up what awful societies they are.
John McEvoy, Hertfordshire
…Oh Wes London… you had me nodding away with you there. By the standards demanded of Qatar, the UK wouldn’t be suitable for the World Cup. It does not comply with human rights with regard to prisoner voting, the current government is out rightly hostile to trans people, there is a clear pattern of corruption with the covid fast lane for filtering public money to mates of the PM of the time and there is an established to be racially driven poor attitude to migrant workers rights as per the Windrush scandal.
Largely, you have to credit FIFA for their attempt to bring investment in football across the world. Without the Japan and Korea world cup does Japan beat Germany? Does the PL have Son? Of course it would be better without the bribery but the UK government have been heavily criticised for taking too much Russian money without any care for where it has come from. We are an ally of Saudi Arabia.
But then you go and praise Piers Morgan and that c*nt is a walking pile of treasonous hypocrisy who drinks the tears of a murdered girl’s desperate family if it gets him a bit of media content. You don’t even need to put allegedly on that.
But still, let’s keep the politics out of football and look forward to England vs Wales and USA vs Iran. Oh….
Alex, South London
World Cup bingo
Please enjoy my World Cup Bingo. ‘Winner’ gets to scream into a pillow for ten minutes.
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