Spain likely to keep run going

World Cup debates are still raging
in sporting circles in Cayman and it’s the Spanish who want to keep the memory
of that glorious 1-0 win over Holland alive the most.

Chuck Cobo is a triathlete who
recently left Cayman to work as a hedge fund consultant in New York. He is a
proud Spanish-American and was thrilled by their historic first win last week
when Andres Iniesta scored in extra time.

“The World Cup plus the Euro Cup
plus three-year record-setting unbeaten streak in major competitions equals the
best team in history, national or club,” he says beaming. “And I love our
chances to keep the streak going at Euro 2012, World Cup 2014, and beyond,
because probably the only starters, or significant bench players, we’ll lose to
age for these competitions, are Puyol and Capdevila, who are the only ones over
30. And even though they’re both great players and were excellent in this World
Cup, they’re two of our most replaceable players.

“Casillas is the best goalie in
history. Iniesta is the best player on earth, which Wayne Rooney and I and many
others have been telling you for over a year. I think Forlan is a great player,
and I’m a fan of his, and I like Uruguay and Atletico de Madrid, but his
receiving the Golden Ball instead of Iniesta is a total joke and travesty on
par with Obama’s receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, and in both cases only serves
to devalue the prize and shine a much-needed light on the selection process.

“In the case of the Golden Ball,
it’s sponsored by adidas to the point that it’s officially called the adidas
Golden Ball, and you’re not going to believe this, but… Forlan is sponsored
by adidas too and Iniesta isn’t!

“The minority of Dutch players and
fans who are complaining about the referee Howard Webb should actually send him
a thank-you note for keeping them in the game. They complain that Puyol should
have been sent off, Iniesta dived to get Heitinga sent off, and their player
was fouled shortly before we scored.

“But well before all that, they
should have been down to nine men in the first half, because de Jong and Van
Bommel ended up at Soccer City when they clearly meant to be on a Jackie Chan
set, so Webb should have let them go. Anyway, the good news is that it seems to
be only a minority of the Dutch. The majority seem to agree with their manager
that the better team, both on the day and overall, won, which is how the vast majority
of the rest of the world seems to see it too. “Speaking of Webb, not only did
he botch the final, but also the Spain-Switzerland game. I’d like to use this
powerful medium please to ask FIFA never again to assign him to a Spain or
Barcelona game, so that I never again have to watch him ‘work’. Thanks in
advance! “Better yet, please don’t assign him internationally whatsoever, and
just let him do his ‘work’ in England, where every season a leg or two gets
broken in half because tackles like de Jong’s, and all of Van Bommel’s, get a
yellow card max.

“Isn’t it crazy that the
Premiership has twice the revenue of La Liga, and yet roughly half the talent,
star-power, and thus recent European results?! I just can’t explain why most
talented offensive players take a discount to play in Spain. Must just be the
weather, food, and beautiful women!

“But don’t hold your breath waiting
for FIFA to use technology to help officials do a better job in future World
Cups. FIFA hides behind their stated reason that the same rules and procedures
must apply to the World Cup final as to a club match in Uganda, and if there
isn’t money for these rules and procedures for the latter game, then they
shouldn’t be used in the former game. This is a smokescreen. To find the real
reason all we have to do is, as usual, follow the money. The better the big
clubs do in national and continental competitions, the more money is made. And
of course, most close calls, and most ‘I just didn’t see it’ incidents, go in favour
of the big clubs.”

Richard ‘Grizz’ Adams, rugby
technical director, predicted Holland would win. “It was a great competition
once the first round was over and teams settled into their patterns of play and
we got some goals and differing styles. Great to have a competition where any
one of eight to ten sides have a real chance of winning. I know that the International
Rugby Board are spending vast amounts of development money to make rugby the
same based on the popularity of the football World Cup.

“I thought that England performed
much to expectation given that a massive amount of foreign players play in the
league and the youth structure of English football is almost nonexistent. If
you want to keep a fire burning hotter than every other fire you have to keep
feeding it. The English League may be one of the best in the world but how much
of that is due to English players England probably would have done better had
one of the premiership teams with all its foreign players en mass represented
the country. Mark Keys of Sunset Football Club predicted a 2-1 win for Spain in
extra time so he was on the right track. 
“I watched quite a bit of football and think the game has changed a lot
with the formation of 4 2 3 1 now being used by most of the top teams which
makes them strong defensively and therefore not as many goals are scored between
the top teams. This World Cup has also shown that the young energetic teams are
doing well as Ghana and Germany – the two youngest teams in the tournament
should have both made the semi-final – if Gyan had scored the penalty.

“England were very disappointing
and I think it was a major error by Fabio Capello not to take Adam Johnson. I
think he could have been as influential for England as Thomas Mueller has been
for the Germans. The other key losses were Beckham and Ferdinand. That said if
they had won the group they should probably have got to the semi-final.” Prep
Primary School PE teacher Brendan Touhey loved it. “It was a great tournament
with the usual dosage of upsets.  My
favourite was the Germany versus England game but only because it really highlighted
the poor decisions made by FIFA regarding goal line technology. Lampard’s goal
could have made a monumental difference to the match, but we will never know.
Tevez’s offside goal was similar against Mexico. Technological reviews of goals
are easy and can be done well before the restart and prolonged celebrations are
complete. This is definitely something that will improve Brazil 2014. Hopefully
that day will be a positive turning point for the FIFA World Cup. We will see.”