It's Too Early to Call the 2010 World Cup Boring

 It's Too Early to Call the 2010 World Cup Boring

I’ve read with increasing bafflement the degree to which this World Cup has already been analysed, dissected and dismissed as ‘the most boring in living memory’ to quote one correspondent earlier in the week.

Perhaps this is all part of a very modern habit of wanting to compartmentalize, archive and define life as it happens, rather than take a step back and wait for it all to be over before drawing your conclusions, some seem to relish taking a position on it after a few days and then will see the rest of the tournament through that prism.

We see this in the media more broadly which is so quick to want to assess and define everything. So much so that a lot of the news agenda is based not on what has happened but on what might happen and what the consequences of that will be, regardless of how likely it is to happen. Thus the airwaves get full of waffle about things which never actually occur and unfounded speculation.

I find this very frustrating. Why can’t we just wait for stuff to happen and then consider the consequences afterwards? What’s the point in all that speculation?

Similarly, those who think the 2010 World Cup is a wash-out because there has not been as many goals as they expected or that the opening games have been quite cautious, are being fat too premature; too eager to see a bigger picture which has yet to develop.

I disagree with the basic premise that it’s been boring anyway, I’ve enjoy the majority of games. Perhaps it is the football tourists who are being negative – those part-time football viewers who are never going to relish seeing Italy play Paraguay and who judge quality by number of goals. People should also realize that World Cup football is not about being the best, most exciting free-flowing action of all time – national sides are a unique mixture of great, good and average; legends line-up with obscurities. It’s not like club football where the one with the most money buys the best players; it’s much more democratic than that – and that’s one if its beauties.

I also really enjoy defensive football – not to the exclusion of everything else – but just because there are few goals in a game isn’t an indication necessarily of the quality of the play. Opening games are unique in the World Cup because win lose or draw, every side can still qualify. That will all change today and tomorrow as the second rounds games get underway. It now becomes do or die for some sides. They’re bound to be less defensive and more adventurous.

A couple of exciting games will put the lie to this ‘boring’ tag that the tournament has already unfairly been tagged with. With all the drama still ahead of us, it’s impossible to make any firm conclusions about South Africa 2010 and those that have already written.

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16 Responses to It's Too Early to Call the 2010 World Cup Boring

  1. Jesse Chula says:


    Great perspective. I totally agree.

  2. Strangeways says:

    No, it’s definitely the most boring tournament *so far*.

    Almost nothing noteworthy has happened, and at this very moment, Chile and Honduras have pulled off a 1-0 once again.

    Did you know that, by now, 15 teams have scored only one goal in their opening match this tournament (only South-Korea and Brazil have scored two, and Germany four), and that there is no one player that scored two goals.

    To me, that’s pretty telling.

    Very few goals, very nervous playing (teams that desperately don’t want to lose, even if it kills the game), and it doesn’t captivate me at all. It’s all calculated, very few spontaneous movements. It’s chess, really.

    I’ve seen every World Cup and European Championship since ’86, and loads of related and non-related matches in between, so I’m by no means a “football tourist”. But this one is pretty disappointing (once again) *so far*.

    It could still turn out to be a thrilling World Cup, though.
    But things will have to get way more loose.

    • The Gaffer says:

      How can you say the Chile v Honduras game was boring? It was one of the best games so far. Chile was incredible. Just because there weren’t a ton of goals doesn’t mean it’s boring.

      The Gaffer

  3. Soumya Banerjee says:

    Note only is there a dearth of goals,there is also a lack of clearcut chances. Every run into the box by a player ends with a soaring mis-hit or a hit against a defender’s legs. It just makes it so anti-climactic. I dont want 20 goals in every games,but the statistics definitely imply something is very,very wrong with this cup. Bad players or a bad ball? You take your pick. Whatever it may be,one fact is indisputable:This World Cup has been a pathetic show so far. So much for the sham of hosting it in Africa.

  4. Magnus Soevgaard says:

    To all the World Cup 2010 apologists out there the play from these so called professionals has been lackluster to say the least. If I played football all day long all year long would I be taking shots at goal and having it go 40 feet above the goal hell no I would not. I played in England as a youth every day for 5 years and I have watched every World Cup since 1968 so spare me the never done it crap and I have seen better MSL games than the opnes being played in Africa. Most of the action has been midfield where the ball changes possession every 12 seconds. Not ONE player has shown skill exceeding that of any defender, these guys are paid how much in their respective clubs? If all of us performed that poorly we would have been fired long ago. A team like Brazil should be able to put up 4 goals every match despite the idiocy of the author, what the hell do they get paid for??? Goals mean a superior offense, 1 or zero means they SUCK period. An impoverished nation like North Korea can barely lose to Brazil, what a farce. Ronaldo’s running foot shuffle is so weak and unimpressive why does he even bother?? Score a good hard shot right past the goalie oh wait that is not a measure of a successful team according to the idiot author who favors boring defensive back and forth boredom. I expect to see well planned, well executed attacks from the major countries but it is nothing more than luck and chance as they shoot wildy like a 5 year old at his first game. Hey I am watching the same games you are and I see average, non exciting play 90% of the time Germany being the exception so far. Combine that with the horns blaring non stop and it is a lessened experience. Hopefully some player steps up their game on some team and once again how I would fare against them is immaterial it is their opponents that make them look all so ordinary.

  5. Rami S. says:

    A couple of factors must be considered before calling the tournament boring or exciting:

    - If we are just considering the number of goals then this would be one of the most boring WCs in a long time.

    - It is still too early since most teams have only played 1 game. At least let each team play 2 matches or perhaps finish the group stage before judging.

    - The so called smaller teams are improving and the gap between the big sides and the weaker teams has become much smaller.

    - The advanced training helps the less talented teams compensate for their lack of flair or creativity by adding muscle, physical presence and a bigger focus on tactics.

    - A number of teams are coached by foreigners who have experience. Check Ivory Coast, S. Africa, England, etc… This means there is vast sharing of football knowledge and different schools of thought (offensive & defensive tactics).

    - Many are saying Germany are playing the best but a 4-0 win over Australia is misleading because the Aussies are one of the weakest teams in the tournament and they did not impress in the Asian qualifiers.

    - There is no clear top scorer as Forlan now has 2 goals. Perhaps viewers and fans are looking for top scorers to justify the need for a hero or a new star? In the absence of a striker or player with at least a few goals, some might think there are no clear stars.

    Vote for your choice to be top scorer in World Cup 2010 here:

  6. David Amar says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but in the past wasn’t the tournament played faster? I recall they use to play 2 sometimes 3 games at the same time in different stadiums. The all WC would last 3 maximum 4 weeks. These days you have to wait 5 days to see your team play again and some of us just lose interest.

    On top of being long, this is one of the most boring WC. how many goals were scored by hitting a defender, golly mishandling the ball, or undeserved penalty kick? yes, many.

  7. Jeff says:

    It puzzles me how the most popular and revered sport on the planet have many games end at 0-0. There’s something fundamentally wrong with this. The athletes are amazing and there’s truly genius plays unfolding on the field, but most of the time it ends up with the ball missing a net larger than my house!! So what gives?

    I watch other sports end really take pleasure to see goals because it changes the dynamic of the game. A team might fall behind but can at anytime come back. In football you get one goal behind and it feels like the end of it.

    It’s beautiful, but not entertaining.

    • Rami S. says:

      Hello Jeff,

      This is actually one reason why Football (soccer in USA) is not as popular as American Football or NBA or Baseball.

      No one can argue you are entitled to your opinion and you actually make a valid point. Fans usually go out to see goals but by nature a match which sees goals, whether 2 or 5, is considered a plus yet sometimes one can watch a very entertaining 0-0 match despite the lack of goals.

      Team tactics, historic rivalries, quality of players, atmosphere at the stadium, neat moves by talented stars are all factors which can make a match entertaining even if there are no goals.

      Perhaps one example is Messi of Argentina: He has not scored in the World Cup at this stage yet he has created goals and made some of the more stunning moves of South Africa 2010 yet Nigeria’s GK was stunning against Argentina.

  8. Jon says:

    I love soccer ~ always have, always will. But this tournament has been downright awful. I suppose the talent is there, but the ingenuity and the creativity and the execution are most certainly not. I cannot at all blame sports fans new or underexposed to soccer to be bored senseless with this inexplicable subpar robotic play. Aside from the seemingly epidemic inability to shoot the ball on target, where’s the passion…where’s the vision…where’s the imagination that makes this game beautiful? What the heck is goin’ on here?

    • Rami S. says:


      This WC has one major problem above all the other issues and concerns: lack of creative and talented players with great vision.

      There are perhaps only a few players with such a set of skills:
      Messi of Argentina, Robinho & Kaka for Brazil, and Robben for Holland while Xavi (Spain) has great vision but perhaps is less skilled in terms of shooting and scoring.

      Other teams all lack that special player: Italy, England, Germany, and other squad lack such players. This mean defensive teams, physical players and astute tactics can halt opponents from scoring goals.

  9. Johannes says:

    Agree. From a tactical perspective it’s quite entertaining to watch the battle between 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 formations, but only people with a lot of viewing experience will enjoy that. The problem is that at a World Cup most people watching don’t have that experience.

  10. Gina says:

    Soccer sucks,
    The only redeeming quality is the hot guys.

    I can’t even watch it with those annoying horns blowing. I can’t imagine how it is to be there on the field trying to pay attention to the next play and teammates. It just seems so regimented and over-coached. I am wondering if the horn distraction is causing some European teams not to be as creative and free-thinking because they can’t think.

    Anyway, at least they are still cute.

  11. Rami S. says:

    I wrote this before but I think some of the missing stars could have added more entertainment and value to the World Cup:

    One name stands out: Ronaldinho!

  12. Football (soccer) is really hockey in slow,slow motion without any real physical contact–I’ve never seen so many players faking injuries for the minimum physical contact—It is truly the most boring event in this world–

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