Monday, July 10, 2006

A Bloody Stupid Way to End it All

Just more evidence that football is the most stupid game on the planet.

I had tried to avoid being caught up with the World Cup Frenzy that descended on England just before we left (although I did keep an eye on how the WAGS performed.) I was actually highly amused when England got knocked out on the Saturday we arrived. During many discussions with the French, we all agreed that England was not up to par based on their previous performances (see my post on the England vs. Paraguay match.)

However, the way they got knocked out was ridiculous.

Penalty shootouts.

You have 90 minutes of footy action and how does the game get decided? On a random shootout at the end. It's an insult. It insults the players. It insults the poor schlups who watched the match and it reduces the entire competition to a joke. Penalty shootouts are luck, interspersed by occasional flashes of skill.

That's how England got knocked out of the competition against Portugal. I thought it was ridiculous, but England needed to go anyway, so it was a means to an end.

However, last night's final - the FINAL - was decided by penalty.

Since England got knocked out of the competition, I have been supporting (as far as I would ever actually support a football team) France. Les Bleus had a strong team that performed well. They deserved to get to the final. Last night, in the 90 minutes before the penalty shootout, they deserved to win the cup, too. France was a stronger, more organised team and the Italians played dirty. Just check out Henry being knocked on his arse within the first minute of the game.

But instead of the game being about skill, tactics and endurance, the World Cup (the million pound advertising endorsement that has obsessed Europe for the last eight weeks) was decided by penalty shootout.

It was ridiculous.

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