Well, this was going to be a cutting and jibe-laden blog about the lack of success by the English national team, but with almost a week behind us there just doesn't seem much point in reflecting on what was, when you think about it, something that had an inevitability about it before the tournament even started. In-team personality clashes. An implacable coach. Arrogant, over-exposed players. An insatiable, contrary tabloid media. Sorry, but there was no way England were ever going to get beyond the last 16 with the set-up it has.
That said, it's easy to argue that things might have been so different had Frank Lampard's line-crossing shot against Germany been spotted by the referee and allowed to count as a legitimate goal. Different, yes. Not better. I honestly think the outcome would likely have been 4-2 instead of 4-1. Plus, if we're going to bring up that incident we'd have to have another look at how Argentina set the tone for bad refereeing with Tevez's goal against Mexico. That would have still been an Argentina win though...
This has been an awful World Cup. Okay, the football itself has been thrilling from time to time, but from my point of view what has actually happened is FIFA have allowed the tournament to become the laughing stock of world organized sport. All because of their continued reluctance to use long available technology as a means of aiding the referees in their plight to avoid having "The referee's a wanker" sang at them in numerous languages. It being hosted in a nation where rugby and cricket - two sports that have accepted and vigorously utilised video technology - are king is a massive PR fail for FIFA. The host nation going out in the first round must also have grated on Sepp Blatter's non-line-crossing balls.
An awful World Cup: The French fighting like children. The English playing like children. The Italians playing like old men. The bulk of the African nations playing like they're not interested in national pride, never mind continental interest. The vuvuzela making it sound like crowds are being attacked by angry bees. ITV's inevitable piss-poor coverage. Every advert being football-related, even for products that have little or nothing to do with the once beautiful game. Stewards going on strike. Spain being Arsenal in disguise. Sepp Blatter still being alive.
I challenge anyone to find a positive in the whole tournament. That isn't called James Milner.
Of course, there may well be some of the possible 2 or 3 people out there that might read this who will be think "Yeah Ed, but you're only saying this because England got knocked out." You may even be partly right. I am pissed off that England are out. But then I thought England would be out from the moment the half-time whistle blew against the USA. I just think that the whole tournament has been, and will continue to be an immense embarrassment to the name of football (or soccer, if you prefer).
Sepp Blatter has come out, after the horrors of June 27th, and said FIFA will think about thinking about possibly wondering if it may be worth thinking about settting aside some time and resources to think about possibly having a committee to possibly think about reviewing the need for technology available since the 1980s to bring the world's most popular sport into the 21st century. Technology that even cricket, a game that can go on for several days, uses. Technology that even colleges use in games not even played at a professional level. No kidding. Technology that you have on your Tivo/Sky+ systems.
If you've spotted a parallel between Tevez's goals against Mexico, and Maradonna's goals against England (in that the first one is cheating and the second one is incredible) you've probably already thought about what might happen with goal reviews further down the line. What the sport could really do with is a situation where America will take an interest. Seriously. America are out. But America loves an underdog. And Ghana are still in. Just imagine if it was Ghana v Argentina/Spain/Brazil in the final? America, having been knocked out by Ghana, would have the pride of knowing they were beaten by a potential eventual champion...
...unless a refereeing decision means Argentina cheat their way to success yet again. Christ... imagine if America had got through and something horrendous happened to them like that? No doubt there'd be US Marines into Switzerland quicker than you could get them into an Iraqi teenage girl.
Aside from ranting about shitty England I was going to avoid posting a blog about football until the World Cup is over, but frankly I've come to the conclusion over the last few days that I can't be alone in thinking what a disappointment it's been so far. Apart from France and Italy. So this blog is dedicated to the sport I once loved, and the chance that the abhorrent nature of it's current flagship tourney might finally drag it tripping, screaming, and rolling over and over into the 21st century. Or that Ghana pull off the most amazing sporting coup since the USA took Gold at the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Okay, I think I'm done. No more football blogs for a while. It's tiring and depressing. For me, and possibly for you.