World Cup notes

11 07 2010

After a month of seemingly non-stop vuvuzela blasts, the World Cup is now over. Random babblings follow.

  • You can never be sure of these things, but my guess is that Andres Iniesta is the happiest person in the world right now.
  • Holland’s Arjen Robben has shattered one prejudice: who could have guessed that a bald guy could run so fast? He also complains a lot.
  • World Cup finals are often dull, as players are overwhelmed by the pressure. How many free kicks were hoofed over the top of the goal? And who would want to be the player that made the mistake that cost his country the Cup?
  • Speaking of which: it’s just as well that the final didn’t go to penalties. Imagine being the player who missed a penalty.
  • Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas apparently has his fingers insured for some enormous sum of money.
  • I think it should have been obvious that England weren’t very good. The only truly world-class player they have is Wayne Rooney, and opponents were able to isolate him. England’s defense was ripped to shreds by a young and athletic German side. (By the way: according to Soccernomics, England have won just about as often as could be expected, given their population and their relatively isolated location. Their fans expect too much of them.)
  • It was fun watching an entire pub root for Ghana to win on penalties.
  • What the heck happened to Brazil?
  • I never would have thought that anyone could beat the Germans after they took apart Argentina as easily as they had disposed of England. But the Spanish pass the ball better than any other team I have ever seen. They are the first team since West Germany in 1974 to be both European champions and World Cup winners.
  • Holland’s strategy was clearly to stop the Spanish passing game by defending in numbers – and, if necessary, fouling. All previous World Cup finals, put together, had 40 yellow or red cards; this one had something like 10.

Congratulations to Spain – on the whole, they were the best team at the tournament.

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