Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Le Foot-ball

So there we have it, France v Italy in the FIFA World Cup 2006 final, and what good semi finals they were.

Which all goes to prove my point of some days back - football is a very simple game which England have managed to turn into a very complicated affair.

All four semi finalists, with perhaps the exception of Portugal, managed to understand the very simple concept of football - you win by scoring more goals than your opponent.

There is nothing more to learn, there is only one way to score points in football and that is to put the ball into your opponents net, for this task you score one point, or a goal, and if after 90 minutes play you have scored more goals than your opponent then you are the winner.

France, Italy and Germany understand this concept well, Portugal less so, England not at all.

The one thing that was obvious from tonights France/Portugal semi final is that Portugal are not as bad a team as they appeared to be in the quarter final against England, which brings you to one conclusion - Portugal played down to Englands level in the quarters.

England play a very methodical game, a very slow game where its often better to pass the ball backwards towards your own goal rather than knock it forwards to your opponents goal. Its a game that lends more towards the tactical blackboard upon which most English players seem to learn their footballing skills nowadays, its almost as if there is a chalked out route for every circumstance that a player will ever find himself in so that all sponteniety is wiped out of their brains and replaced by set patterns of play - in order to remember and enact these set patterns the players have to first slow the game down, hence the boredom creeps in.

Football should be played like the two semi-finals were, no leeway for losers, a draw was not good enough (which it always is in an England footballers mind), in the semi finals the only option when in possesion was to go forward and try to score, both games had end to end play and for once the referees were not influenced by the diving, spinning, cheating players who fall over when nudged.

Lets hope that the final is more of the same, I just hope that France can pull something out of the bag, they looked very tired in the last 20 minutes tonight and would surely have lost if the game had gone to extra time.

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