BfB Goes To The World Cup 2010 (Without leaving the front room)

The second round of the World Cup was the round in which football, politics and footballing politics smashed together.

It started well with Uruguay and South Korea playing out an interesting game and Ghana’s win over the USA being the highlight of what turned out to be a poor round of games.

Poor for performances. The losers seemed to divide between those who went for it and lost – like England – and those who sat back and took a defeat meekly as Slovakia did. Japan and Paraguay – a penalties win for the South Americans – was as poor a second round of the World Cup as one could fear watching. Two teams who could play but decided not to do so.

Perhaps it was the sting that came to England – chasing a 2-1 but ending up 4-1 to Germany – from the media which put off the more defensive defeatees but perhaps not. England and Mexico went out on the Sunday which the World Cup will find hard to forget.

One goal given that was offside – and all knew it – and another which was in but not given – and the keeper knew it – and football’s politics came to the for. The calls for Sepp Blatter – Head of the World Game – to look again at forms of technology to help Referees reached a tipping point and at the post-World Cup talk the subject is back on the agenda.

British Prime Minister David Cameron – hopeful of an England victory to help kick start his Government – added to the calls for the technology distancing himself from the nation’s fury. FIFA demand that Government stay out of football.

This is not the case in France where Nicolas Sarkozy invited Thierry Henry for a chat about why the French side had done so poorly. FIFA looked on sternly and the French were quick to point out that they were only asking questions, not proscribing answers. All over Europe – indeed the whole World – where economic times are bad Presidents and Prime Ministers prey for the hand of football to help the mood of the people. A pick up, a booster. In England, in France, the opposite has occurred.

That politics tries to effect this correlation – to do more than prey – is hardly surprising and Nigeria’s leader Goodluck Jonathan broke ranks suspending his side from International football for two years while they review what had gone wrong at the World Cup.

On the surface it strikes one as a tin-pot action to curry favour but Goodluck Jonathan’s determination to rework the Nigerian Football Association could – as an act of modernisation – be long over due in African football. There is no African league which is comparable to even a minor European or South American and the assumption is there never will be.

If Goodluck Jonathan’s aim is to change this then his actions might be meritorious but they have fallen foul of FIFA who are angry at this intervention. The fall out will follow.

The fall out from the day of bad decisions seemed to hang over the tournament. When the English had recovered from the slumber of a bad defeat brought about by a poor performance one noticed that the four games on the following days had been dull to say the least.

Disappointing performances from Chile, from Japan and Parauay, from Portugal and from Slovakia added to England’s attempts and Mexico’s hard look story and created a round of failure.

And the reasons for that failure, the politics, are to be chewed over later.

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