Watching Belgium lose yesterday to Morocco was a depressing experience. The world’s #2 ranked team played as if the worries of the world were being carried on their backs and they lost, as the headline says “without passion”
When asked what went wrong, the Belgium boss said his team was afraid to lose.
Surely England can learn from Belgium before the national team finds itself in a similar plight?
Football is not such a serious business that we become “afraid to lose”. But what we are seeing in the second round of group games from teams like Belgium, Japan and England is a reversal of what made them win in the first. Well perhaps I should exclude Belgium from that as they were pretty feeble against Canada.
It seems that teams are now thinking more about their points tally than about giving their fans a treat. Getting out of the group has become the objective over everything else and it has led to some really turgid football over the weekend.
Only when there is a danger of the final whistle bringing ignominy on the players, do many fine lads – De Bruin included, get fired up enough to turn on the after-burners and play as they do for their club sides.
This very listless tournament, where everyone seems nervous of saying or doing the wrong thing has been dominated by the fans , who somehow seem to be more entertaining than what’s happening on the pitch (and certainly the endless posturing over gender politics).
At least , when allowed to congregate together in the stadia, the fans behave as they do back in their homelands.
This is not me calling for “authenticity” or any such dreadful virtue, it’s me just asking for players to enjoy the experience of playing by expressing themselves with the freedom that they do at home. Amazingly the highlight of Britain’s time in Qatar was supplied by Jack Grealish in an unscripted moment that broke through all the protocols put up by FIFA.
Jack Grealish just did the celebration for Finlay. 🥰❤️ https://t.co/VXfqIonmU3
— HLTCO (@HLTCO) November 21, 2022
A few more smiles please!
The World Cup should be (and is) putting a smile on my face. But it’s not a big enough smile and sometimes the smile collapses into a yawn
At one stage yesterday I seriously considered a permanent switch in viewing to Ebbsfleet v Fleetwood, as I know did many on twitter!
When this great international game is at its best – it brings great happiness. It should not be a cause for fear among players, managers and officials.
So let’s lighten up a bit – it’s only a game.