Sam Parker’s World Cup Review – The Bad

Posted: July 30, 2010 in Football

Having reviewed the best of this summer’s festivities in the Rainbow Nation, there is always a flip side to things. Sam Parker looks a more cynical viewpoint of what happened at the World Cup.

Worst Team of the Tournament – France
There was nothing good about France’s performance in South Africa. Dull against Uruguay, humiliated by Mexico and then further damaged by South Africa, they also managed to find time for dressing room bust-ups and training ground strikes.
What brought all this on, we’re still itching to hear, but the long and short of things is that France failed to perform at any stage and deserved to be eliminated bottom of their group.

Runner-Up – Algeria
Harsh, you might say given their limited resources and lack of star players, but Algeria were the epitome of all that was wrong with the tournament in the group stages. They displayed an unwillingness to provide any attacking play, playing ultra-defensive football against all three group opponents, before bowing out bottom of Group C without scoring a single goal.

Worst Player of the Tournament – Nicholas Anelka
A tough call really, given the number of high-profile players that failed to make any impression at the World Cup, but Anelka manages to take the prize for being sent home early.
After two games in which he contributed absolutely nothing, trudging around on his own up front and barely touching the ball, Anelka went ballistic at manager, Raymond Domenech, refused to apologise for his expletive-ridden rant and was back in France by the time South Africa put the final nail in the French coffin.

Runner-Up – Wayne Rooney
All the talk prior to the tournament was that Rooney would prove that he was as good as, if not better, than the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Whether it was a lack of fitness, or being unsuited to the formation, Rooney was awful.
He was caught in possession more than any other player at the tournament, with a shocking first touch and a lack of any understanding with his team-mates. He appears a long way off any individual crown at the moment.

Mistake of the Tournament – Yakubu v South Korea
The line between success and failure is very thin. Yakubu’s miss against the Koreans in the final group game was so bad, yet so crucial. Had he converted an open goal from three yards, Nigeria would have gone in front and possibly gone on to win the game and qualify from the group. As it turned out, he somehow stuck it wide and South Korea got the point they needed to progress to the knockout phase.

Runner-Up – Robert Green v USA
Without this incident, England quite probably cruise to a fairly routine victory in their opening game and qualify top of the group, thus avoiding Germany in the second round. Alas, Green completely misjudged Clint Dempsey’s daisy-cutter, allowing the USA to gain an equaliser and hang on for a 1-1 draw. Oops.

Talking Point of the Tournament – The Vuvuzela
Our runner-up is even overshadowed by the droning noise of these plastic instruments, which divided opinion throughout the world. Some (such as myself) enjoyed the casual noise that infiltrated the stadiums for a continuous 90 minutes, whilst others found it an annoyance that ruined their football watching.
Some players complained that they couldn’t hear the referee’s whistle, though it also drowned any abuse they might receive from the more uncouth members of the crowd. Either way, the debate still rumbles on as they threaten to enter British sporting events.

Runner-Up – Video Technology
For a while, things all went smoothly, with referees rarely becoming the focus of attention. Then Frank Lampard’s shot bounced over the line, without a goal being given. A few hours later and Carlos Tevez tapped in for Argentina from a clear offside position to give them the lead against Mexico.
Cue a massive outcry from both England and Mexico about the use of video technology, with FIFA even actually claiming that they’d consider it. We’ll see how that goes.

Worst Game of the Tournament – Algeria v Slovenia
We just about managed a goal in this thanks to a goalkeeping error, but this match offered nothing. I’ve already spoken about Algeria’s lack of attacking threat and in this game Slovenia played with the standard opening match nerves. Very dull stuff.

Runner-Up – Brazil v Portugal
Didn’t even get close to living up to its billing. Hoped to be a game of great skill and attacking threat, this turned out to be a horrible, niggly game which saw two sides focus more on each other than the ball. Unpleasant and not in the slightest bit entertaining.

Worst Pundit – Alan Hansen
It pains me to say this, as he used to be the most informative and interesting football pundit. However, he just didn’t seem interested in the tournament, filling his analysis with bland criticisms and general whinging more accustomed with Mark Lawrenson.
For a man being paid a healthy salary to talk about football for half an hour a day, he could’ve at least tried to seem to care. He knew little about the lesser sides and their players, when a little research would’ve been sufficient. A failure to even attempt to pronounce the name of Avraam Papadopoulos was frankly just lazy.

Runner-Up – Andy Townsend
It’s been said for years, but how Townsend is still on the air is perplexing. He has never offered an insightful opinion on the game he used to play in. And yet again he failed to say anything that any member of the general public couldn’t manage. The ‘expert analysis’ part of punditry seems to have been lost on ITV.

  1. Craig Jones says:

    Although it must have been hard not to just say “everybody” for worst pundit…surely Alan Shearer needs a mention.

    Also, I’d say Wayne Rooney should be recognised as worst player when you consider the expectation surrounding him compared to Anelka – total failure on his part.

  2. Tom Brown says:

    brilliant. although i disagree with Alan Hansen, i like him.

  3. James Cook says:

    Good read! Must add:

    Most unpleasant sight:
    Alan Shearer’s tendancy to wear very tight trousers coupled with sitting with his legs wide open throughout his pundetry. This was pointed out to me years ago and now I can’t help but notice it (as you now, no doubt also will).

    Runner up:
    Wayne Rooney complaining to the camera about fans who had paid thousands of pounds to watch England play and were treated to sunday league football, being a bit upset.

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