Thursday, June 17, 2010

World Cup. Boredom & droning

I'm a football fan. I love watching the game.

But so far this World Cup has given me only two things. Boring games and the monotonous drone of vuvuzelas.

I think the second has something to do with the first, too.

Mind you, there are also footballing reasons behind the boring games.

The globalisation of the game, for example, means that more and more teams are at much the same level.

The major leagues are full of overseas players - Brazilian playing Ivorian, Korean playing Spaniard week after week in the English Premier League for example. The handful of stand-out players are spread across a number of teams, their teammates are all pretty much at the same standard. So there's not a lot to choose between many of the teams and they're cancelling each other out.

That's made worse by the fact that most teams use the same game plan, which in major tournaments is distinctly defensive, because coaches tend to be sheep, slavishly following each other in using whatever the latest trend in formation and tactics is. (Note how many make their substitutions on the hour mark for example, however badly someone is playing from the kick off).

Then there's also the unusually high number of top players absent through injury or out of form. So many with any flair, the talent to beat opponents, are missing or below par.

But there's more than that, which I put down to where the games are being played.

First the vuvuzela.

The problem is not the mind-numbingly boring monotone drone, annoying as it is.

The problem, IMO, is that the noise has nothing to do with the game that's being played, doesn't relate to it in any way, contributes nothing to it. In fact it adversely affects the game.

Think about the noise from a crowd at a football match. It usually ebbs and flows. It comes in waves that reflect and influence the game.

Fans scream, shout, sing and chant when their team is attacking, boo the opposition when they're attacking, go quiet in the quiet moments, applaud sportsmanship or a particularly good move. They're involved, they support and encourage their team.

We're not getting any of that with the World Cup games. We just get one boring monotone drone for ninety minutes.

The crowds seem to be not following the game, not getting involved, they're more interested in making their own unrelated noise.

That surely must be having a bad effect on what should be the rhythm of the games.

Then there's the much-criticised 'Jabulani' ball.

It certainly seems to be behaving as though it's much lighter than usual, bouncing about like a balloon.

It's probably not all the fault of the ball though, it's probably a combination of factors such as the thinner air at higher altitudes, maybe drier, bouncier pitches as well as the new ball.

You'd assume the makers took the geographic factors into account when they designed the ball - but I wouldn't bet on it.

Still, I'm sure I'll hang in there watching, and hoping for exciting, close-fought, skillful games.

The eventual winner? We've had Brazil scraping through against North Korea, Switzerland beating Spain, more draws than wins - anyone can win this time.


Alwaysozmatt said...

Except Australia judging by round 1.

Mazhar Mohad said...

I have to agree totally. This is far the worst WC ever on planet. Vuvuzela, engineering of the ball, empty seats, crowds, etc etc are all just ruining the entire tournament. On top of that Al Jazeera interruption, its just all looks like cursed.

I am not being racist, but I don't really think this is a successful tournament although FIFA would say so to keep everyone happy.

This is a lesson, host the cup at somewhere it needs only infrastructure improvement. If its got to build from scratch, just don't bother unless that nation has loads of money and vision to do so.

istanbilly said...

Hi Seabee,

I haven't been watching it, but it seems to me that following SA's loss to Uruguay they must be firm favourites not to get through to the next round. With their demise, I suspect, many of the vuvuzela blowing 'fans' will also disappear.

George McKee said...

Yes, I am convinced after seeing Portugal tie with Ivory Coast that anyone can win this World Cup. All teams at about the same level.....BORING.

Seabee said...

Alwaysozmatt - you're right. I should have said "almost anyone can win".

People have said we can't play that badly again but I have a horrible feeling that we will :-(

Dave said...

I agree with you about the vuvuzela... just a monotone noise in the background.

I don't normally watch soccer but have gone out of my way to see a few games this year..... I am asking myself why I bothered!

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of moaning minnies.. This is the 10th world cup I have watched and every bit as good so far as any I can remember. Several cracking matches so far and I am loving it as much as ever even though I thought I was suffering football-fatigue. These complaints sound like those of the casual watchers who tune in to football every few years expecting every match they watch to be a dramatic goal-filled spectacle. Here's some news: that's not what football is about. And if you can't appreciate the tension in a nil-nil stalemate where teams are trying to avoid losing their opening group matches, then you are just not familiar with major international tournaments.

As for the vuvuzelas, well it is a bit disappointing from one of the most musical nations on earth (with a particular specialism in massed male singing). But much as I would prefer to hear those impressive stadia resound to a few rousing chouses of Shosholoza, the mosquitos do generate a lot of atmosphere in the stadia - and on TV. And they are an amusing point of distinction for this South African showcase

And Mazhar Mohad, your wilful dismissal of this smooth running and clearly successful-so-far event with all sorts of snide insinuations (infrastructure?? what problems have there been related to infrastructure??) suggest to me that you want it to fail and seem to me to profoundly undermine your claim that you are not being racist (why even mention such a thing??). I'm elated that Africa is proving you and your doubting ilk so wrong.

Anonymous said...

i started to watch the WC from italia 90.
but since the vuvuzela was introduced, i have completly stop watcing it !!
also, there is nothing keeping me on my seat.
just hightlights at night!!
ali hassan

JiE said...

Two things;
I agree totally regarding the vuvuzelas and the ball. Add to that the semi-artificial pitch and you get dramatically changed conditions for the players, meaning they become more cautious (except Germany then).

In big tournaments in many sports the favourite teams who start bad and then improve/adapt their game usually go very far, while the ones starting off in full bloom has more problems eventually. After a couple of good games everybody has learned their tactics, how to beat them and will for sure not underestimate them.