Not the wham bam World Cup opening we’d hoped for

It’s an event that comes by once every four years so we can be forgiven for wanting something memorable immediately. I know it’s premature and that the best teams haven’t played yet but my impatience has led to a little disappointment at these early stages of the World Cup in South Africa.

The opening game couldn’t have started any better for the home nation as an incisive break and thunderous strike from Siphiwe Tshbalala led to the opening goal of the World Cup. But the hope for goals and more open matches was quickly quashed by a largely forgettable match between Uruguay and France. The only thing more frustrating than watching a group of talented players not perform is when their body language conveys a lack of ambition. Why Ribery is regarded by many to be in the upper most echelon of football talents is lost on me. This was yet another match of his that left me wondering just how he built this reputation. France looked disjointed and Uruguay looked to be relying on Forlan to produce anything near a goal.

Park Ji Sung scored a lovely goal to sink a very poor Greece side. And the less said about Slovenia-Algeria the better. My criticism about Slovenia and Algeria isn’t that I expected high quality from teams who don’t possess the players, but I did expect a proactive desire to win considering the draw between USA and England. Their encounter probably encapsulates the opening days of the World Cup, where a more conservative approach has prevailed and the desire not to lose has outweighed any need to win.

Watching Holland-Denmark at the moment is another disappointing match that should be far more entertaining. An own goal has gifted the Dutch the lead in an otherwise dire performance from both teams. It is only Germany who have created a stir (and to a lesser extent Argentina, who could have scored a handful of goals if not for some inspired goalkeeping) by hitting four goals past Australia.

Finally, the issue of the vuvzelas. I don’t have too much of a problem with the noise except that it lessens the atmosphere of hearing a crowd’s voice. And had the games until now provided more entertainment perhaps the plastic horns wouldn’t be discussed so widely. Though far too early, after looking forward to an event for so long the quality of matches has certainly failed to live up to expectations. Hopefully by the end of the week after the likes of Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Italy have played and the veritable need to win matches comes into the fold, the quality of football will increase and produce some memorable moments.

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