I think that this world cup merely served to illustrate football’s infinite capacity to disappoint.
Examples abounded of cheating players (Rooney’s stamp, head butts from Figo & Zidane, Henry’s face-holding, Ronaldo’s entire approach to the game).
There was a disgraceful brawl after the Germany – Argentina game.
There were two games with massive violence (Italy – USA and Portugal – Holland).
The refereeing was generally poor. “Unfashionable” sides seldom received the support they deserved. Ghana should have had two penalties against Italy, Italy should never have had one against Australia, Graham Poll completely lost control of the game in which he booked the same player three times, the refereeing was very inconsisent (Figo’s head butt was only worth a yellow card, Zidane’s a red) and the 4th official only seemed to intervene when he felt like it (again, Graham Poll’s debacle, Figo’s & Zidane’s head butts).
England were, predictably, second-rate, but our media hype seemed to raise public expectation way beyond the reasonable.
The BBC continues to employ John Motson as their main commentator when the man is a complete buffoon who repeatedly displays that he has no capacity to learn from his mistakes. It seems to me that every other sport that the BBC covers has commentators who know their game inside out: Jonathan Davies on rugby, MacEnroe on tennis, (don’t know about golf – never watch it), Dennis taylor on snooker, but football is stuck with Motson.
Every so often we see a game played in the right spirit by sporting players. This year’s FA Cup Final was one such but that is a rarity, and at the highest level it’s the cheating which sticks in the mind.