World Cup Reflections From Mr Fuming of Crosby
Argentina can go on to win the best World Cup ever in a tournament that sadly will be remembered for one man with the brain of a three years old. I am Mr Fuming of Crosby that one nasty Uruguayan can the spoil the enjoyment of millions and four years rather than four months is the ban Luis Suarez should have been given. The headline on the back of the Racing Post was “FIFA SINK THEIR TEETH INTO SUAREZ” but they should have done more.
Irony is probably lost on someone like Suarez but having castigated England and its people for getting a bad press in the next match he goes out and repeat offends the basis of which people give him a hard time. The loser in this are Liverpool Football Club but they must accept some responsibility for ensuring one of their key employees acts in a professional manner. They pay his wages during the summer so even on international duty he is still representing them.
You can bet at 4/7 that Suarez will not be at Liverpool after the summer transfer window and that is the bet of the millennium. Football lacks morals but surely Liverpool and their supporters cannot welcome Suarez back again. Brendon Rogers must surely now realise this is enough and how much morality do you give up for 30 goals a season. The club’s American owners may take the decision out of his hands but his market value has shrunk overnight.
Odds of 4/6 for Suarez to play in the 2018 World Cup represent another decent long term investment. The people of Uruguay and the national coach will forgive him and given four years free of serious injury he will play for Uruguay in the next World Cup. However, this World Cup in Brazil is over for Suarez which means Colombia look worth backing to beat Uruguay in the round of the last sixteen.
The 2014 World Cup is set to be the highest scoring in terms of average goals per game since 1958. The scoring rate has dropped in the last five World Cups but the location and movement of the ball has seen a massive increase in the average number of goals per match in the group stages of this year competition. Since 1994 the World Cup has been getting less exciting but Brazil 2014 has broken that trend emphatically. Sadly the next two World Cups are in locations that may redress the balance.
The 48 group matches have produced 129 goals at an average of almost 2.7 per match. Both teams have scored in 25 of these matches which falls in line with historical statistics in international football. The main discrepancy has been in the number of matches that have produced more than 2 goals which is 30 when the normal odds are about 10/11 for both the over and under. Traditionally the scoring rate increases during the knockout stages so this World Cup could end with the average number of goals exceeding three per match.
On the basis of results and goal difference England have finished joint 25th in this World Cup. They are 10th in the current FIFA rankings which means they have underperformed by 15 places. Narrow defeats to Italy and Uruguay were just about acceptable but the goalless draw with Costa Rica was technically the worst game of the tournament. Roy Hodgson is deluded if he thinks England played well and purely on that judgement he should resign or be sacked.
Hodgson said something like on another day Daniel Sturridge could have scored a hat-trick but there won’t be another day at a World Cup in Brazil. This was that day and Lionel Messi and Neymar are not being discussed about on the basis of what might have been. For them it did happen and who now cares if Sturridge scores a hat- trick in a friendly against Norway.
Glenn Hoddle is 16/1 to be the next England manager but he should be given a greater role. He is the right man to oversee the national sport for the next two World Cups at least. He understands the need to have more players in the Premier League eligible for England. He was a decent England manager who lost his job for non-footballing reasons. He has intelligence and will be respected by most other people in the game.
Harry Redknapp should be appointed in the short term with continuity and some succession established. That could be Frank Lamped assisting his uncle for the next four or eight years and moving up to the big job when he has his coaching qualifications and some experience of management at international football level. Paddy Power may know something as they have Redknapp at 6/1 in their next England manager betting while others price him at 20/1.
Without a radical overhaul of English football the same problems will still be applicable at Euro 2016 but our talented younger players will not have reached their potential. Since 1990 the best individual performances for England at a tournament were Gazza at Italia 90 and Wayne Rooney at Euro 2004. Sadly it got no better for either player. Hoddle must create an environment for Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley to improve and not stagnate.
In some respects it is a blessing that England did not play one of the better teams in the World Cup. They came out of the tournament with two narrow defeats and a draw and not a drubbing. However, they lost to two sides beaten by Costa Rica, the 28th best team in the world according to the FIFA rankings. A rampant France, Holland, Brazil or Argentina would have embarrassed England and at least the demise did not follow a penalty shoot out.
The round of the last 16 in the World Cup includes six of the seven South American teams that qualified with only Ecuador missing out. The heat and humidity in Brazil has given these sides an advantage and the chances are another World Cup will pass in South America without a winner from Europe. In seven World Cups in the Americas Brazil have reached at least the semi-finals five times and won it three times.
Argentina have only ever won the World Cup in the Americas, at home in 1978 and in Mexico when inspired by Maradona eight years later. On the crime sheet of flawed footballers from South America is it the Hand of God or Teeth of Suarez that would justify the longer sentence? The latter as Maradona only punched the ball into the net once against England while Suarez is a serial offender.
The cream has already risen to the top in the context of who will win the Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament. The two are linked and if Neymar scores enough goals to win the World Cup to unite a divided nation he must be voted the best player in the competition. Lionel Messi will get the honour if Argentina win the World Cup. The Dutch stalwarts of Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben are in the mix and Karim Benzema must convert some more of the chances that France create. The winner of the Golden Boot and leading player award will play for the team that wins the World Cup and on balance I think that will be Messi and Argentina.
BetFan World Cup Special