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Thursday, July 05, 2018

What Do You Think Of It So Far?

What Do We Think of it So Far?

Bill Thomas has written an article about the World Cup

Well well! They say it's a World Cup of shocks! England winning on penalties! And England have won a knock-out game in a major competition for the first time since 2006. Well done Gareth Southgate and all the players. A breath of fresh air. We've come a long way since Gareth took over. Perhaps Gareth can be England's version of Peter Beadle, with Harry Kane becoming the new Lance Smith!

England winning on penalties of course is not the only World Cup shock. I think it's fair to say there have been a number of surprises. Perhaps the Germans going out in the group stages being the biggest surprise so far. Argentina going out. Russia beating Spain. Incredible stuff!

I wonder if a possible reason for the shock results could that the very best players in the world are not used to playing in teams with any weaknesses. Due to the dominance of the top club sides in the world, I wonder if they have fewer weaknesses than the top international sides. Please note that I may be talking nonsense here, as I haven't done any homework on this. It's just a hunch.

A huge talking point of the World Cup of course has been VAR. Personally I'm on the fence, as whilst I don't like the delays, I want the decisions to be right. I suspect that the delays will be more frustrating for the people in the ground than those watching on TV. Having said that, if VAR had been around in 2004, and was used in the lower leagues, perhaps it could have helped us. I would have been quite happy for to wait for the VAR decision in our play-off match against Aldershot if it had meant that Andy Tretton could have stayed on the field!
Another interesting talking point was whether or not it was in England's interest to win our last group match against Belgium. Personally, I think the decision to rest players against Belgium was understandable, particularly now as we have beaten Columbia. But it does seem strange that it is not necessarily better to win the group than finish second.

Because of this I sometimes wonder whether it would be a good idea if the group winners with the best records could choose their opponents in the last sixteen. In the case of Belgium, Columbia, England, and Japan, the group winner with the best record was Belgium, so my suggestion would have allowed them to chose whether they played Japan or Columbia. If a system like this was used, I don't think England or Belgium would have rested players in the last group match! Now that we have beaten Columbia though I've gone off this idea as although, Sweden may be tough opponents, I think Brazil could have been even tougher.

Personally I think that success for the England team can really help clubs like Hereford FC, as I think it can encourage more people to watch their local team. When Bobby Robson's England team reached the semi-finals in 1990, I think it re-invented football for a lot of people. Gazza's tears and all that.

Can England win the World Cup? Well as I have already said it is a World Cup of shocks, and I've been impressed so far. So could this year's World Cup Final end something like this?

"As we approach the end of extra time England leading by three goals to two. Third goal definitely over the line as the goal-line technology proved. Here comes Kane, there's only one goal in it so no one thinks it's all over. They do now! "

Bill Thomas ... Bradford on Avon.