Monday, 12 June 2006

World Cup Musings

He’s only 22, going bald and has already battled testicular cancer. Good thing that Arjen Robben’s misfortunes in life have been offset by the fact that he earns wagon-loads of cash at Chelsea and is looking already like one of the stars of the World Cup.

A smashing goal and fleet-footed performance by the former PSV winger was enough to see off Serbia yesterday, even it did expose the fact that Holland will be heavily reliant on him if they are to seriously threaten in the latter stages.

Of the other opening matches, Riquelme of Argentina Toure of the Ivory Coast and Zinha of Mexico have looked the most composed and creative players, while Figo rolled back the years in last nights match against a plucky Angola side.

With France, Italy, Brazil the Czech Republic and Spain still to get started, it’s obviously too early to pass conclusive comment on the way the Cup is shaping up.

But I think it’s fair to say we have seen the usual World Cup mixture of good, bad and indifferent in terms of the matches so far.

One refreshing point has been the standard of refereeing, which has so far been commendable.

I’m still a little bit saddened by the fact that FIFA reckon players shouldn’t be allowed to tackle one another anymore, but to be fair, the refs have largely ignored the diving, booked the imaginary card flashing moaners and let the games flow where possible.

They’ve also got one or two decisions glaringly wrong; another element of the game I’d hate to see eradicated by technology. Injustice provides great drama and is also a great motivator.

Anyway, a mixed bag so far as you’d expect and 3 more interesting if not mouth-watering games today.

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