First Round: What really grinds my gears.
What do you guys think about all these "pleasant" ties? I'm so not cool with waking up to watch a game, only to fall asleep again. The lack of goals scored in these first few games is really discouraging and detrimental to new viewers and the growth of the sport in the U.S. This is apparently one of the lowest scoring World Cups in a long time.
I've been thinking that most teams this year during the first round games avoid injuries, don't risk too much, keep possession but are generally imprecise, and gladly scrape by on a goal from a set piece or corner. I haven't been impressed by most games I've seen so far. My favorite (and NO, I'm not biased) was Argentina vs. Nigeria, due to the rhythm of the game. Both teams had plenty of chances and turnovers and counter-attacks.
I've only avoided those games from teams that lacked WC history (ex. New Zealand) Is there anything more boring than watching a goal-less WC game? I'm talking about those 0-0 (ex. Ivory Coast-Portugal / France-Uruguay) that yielded about 3 replays each and will be easily forgotten.
What also "grinds my gears" (à la Peter Griffin) are 1-1 games (Italy-Paraguay / South Africa-Mexico, for ex.) where goals are scored off of set piece headers. Are these teams so well matched up that they can't have a clear victor? If so, we are hardly able to consider them real contenders.
So far, six out of the 16 games in the first round have been boring ties and only Germany has been able to demonstrate clear superiority with its goal tally. It's true that some ties are more interesting than others because of the group make ups and the pressure it puts on the teams, but the opening day of the World Cup was so frustrating and lacking in good ball play that I had a general feeling this would be Japan-Korea 2002 all over again.
I'm somewhat cautious to publish this today, right after Brazil had a hard time beating North Korea and without giving Spain and Chile a chance to affect this trend.
But I'd like to stir it up and see if I bait anyone into a good old soccer discussion... At least I'm open about it, unlike ESPN and Fox Soccer Network who call it journalism.