In re: Allez Les Bleus & FIFA Reform

The World Cup is already hands down the best international sporting event that exists.  Generally while the Olympics involve more things, it is precisely why they take a backseat to the Copa Mundial.  The cup is followed by more people and the intensity and fan culture add just as much as the amazing on field action (or inaction to the American eye)  Anyway, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of problems with FIFA and the way they’ve set this up.  One of the most obvious problems this years has been the proliferation of cards (yellow & red that is, as they have yet to add the pink or the polka dotted varieties)  Just as in the last World Cup, players will miss or would have missed had they advanced (Rooney…) the next match.  This isn’t to say that all of these folks didn’t deserve their cards, but two yellow cards in two matches for a light jersey tug, then leading to missing the next match is ridiculous.  If they occurred in the same game, a ref would hopefully not give two yellows to someone for such acts, and instead rely on some warnings to get his point across, for this reason I think they need to up it to three cards, while still leaving two yellows in one game as an ejection, mainly because earning two in one game should (and is) much harder to do then the two in two or three games.

Next up is a general soccer problem and that is the unfairness of the red card & the yellow card in the box.  These are major issues that I won’t be able to solve in this space, but while respecting the history of the tradition of soccer, it seems pretty bizarre to have your only penalty options be a goal kick or nothing (for a hard foul in the box that is) – the logic behind it is good, makes the defender play clean defense as they otherwise give up what is to be a sure goal (well not if your playing Argentina in OT, but anyway) then in turning to red cards, these are also deeply uneven, in that one foul may give a team a 90 minute man down situation (if the card was issued on the opening kick) or to miss no time if it is issued in the waning seconds of injury time.  Of course this is bound to happen to some degree, but the card seems to drastically change in ‘value’ based on later in the game, of course this is all part of the strategy of the game and weather you can risk a ‘professional foul’ or you must layoff. 

All of these complaints aside I’ve enjoyed the World Cup, with my favorite game having been this past Saturday when France, Les Bleus beat in dramatic 1-0 (that may sound stupid to you anti-soccer folks, but one-nil can be a great game if you actually watch it).  Why was it so good?  Well for one ZZ (Zinedine Zidane), one of my favorite players, who is playing his final World Cup for France played what is probably his best game in eight years (by most accounts), eight years ago being of course Frances home field winning of the cup in Stade de Paris.  I also thought Zidane had a great single effort in the amazing French comeback against
England in the Euro 2004, where he had two goals in two minutes to win the game.  However, in this game Zidane helped manage a French team that put away Brazil, which is unarguably the best collection of talent that walked into Germany.  I’ll be rooting for Les Bleus and Zidane’s golden boots (literally) as they play Portugal on Wed, and hopefully I won’t have this one spoiled at work as has become the standard practice here, despite my best efforts, including signs on my door warning folks…

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