By John Cartwright
Firstly my overall impression of the 2014 World Cup was ; teams’ needed large numbers of players back to defend and there was little attacking quality to break down these defensive high numbers — so lots of negative passing and ineffective effort in the vast majority of games. Sorry, I can’t accept the ‘pundits’ reasoning that this was the best World Cup ever. Did they have their eyes shut before, or were they in their nappies when greatness was truly displayed in previous World Cup competitions? ‘Hype’ not honesty ‘ruled the roost’ in commentaries as money and greed deflected Media opinions from actual to hypothetical.
Let’s state once and for all, MEDIOCRITY IS NOT GREATNESS”. Once we clear this illusion from our football mentality we might begin to establish a platform from which we can start to build a real football future for this country. England’s team in Brazil – part ‘The Golden Generation, part the New Hopers’, displayed as usual, their inferiority against even average quality teams that resulted in coming bottom of their qualifying group and making an early exit from the competition. Our so-called ‘greats’ showed once again that they are far short of this status and in so doing provided this nation with yet another ‘wake-up call’ for urgent and positive action to remodel our coaching methods and development infrastructure.
Germany, won the Cup because they had better players and were well organized. However, one could not say that this German squad were anywhere near the quality of the German winners of the past. Argentina, had Messi, but even he failed to exert much influence in games in which receiving space was limited and team-mates seemed hesitant to pass to him in these tight situations. It might be necessary for Messi, to remodel his game and play in a more forward role to effect more 1v1 opportunities and penetrate the space in behind ‘pushed-up’ defensive tactics.
Brazil, were an absolute disgrace. They lacked quality going forward – never a Brazilian problem in the past, and they were ‘horrific’ in defence. Has their nation’s economic improvement quelled the desire for football stardom, or has the migration of so many Brazilian players into foreign football dulled their individualism? Whatever the reason the Brazilian Football Assn. has, like us, a great deal of re-thinking to do.
There were several other nations who showed flashes of football quality, some through individual talent, and some through team performance. Holland, Belgium displayed some excellent combinations of both whilst other nations relied on either an individual to effect the game, or lacking individual quality, relied on hard work and team play; Columbia and Chile were examples of individual talent whilst the USA displayed a whole-hearted team performance.
A World Cup year should display the summit of playing standards around the world. It should bring to everybodies attention the top playing standards in the game as provided by the best players and teams of the period. This World Cup lacked the ingredient of greatness that has been such an important part of so many of the World Cup’s of the past. Attention diverted from this by the ‘hype’ and avarice of the Media must not camouflage the necessity of individual greatness in the game of football and for that individualism to be seen by the world’s football fans in competitions at club and national levels.
For us the job of putting things right must be undertaken IMMEDIATELY and RUTHLESSLY; the failed methods and complicated theories ingrained for decades into our football thinking and beliefs must be discarded and a new approach to the development of coaches and players that coincides with a new playing vision must be installed. The ‘tweakings’ to the old methods must stop – they have failed miserably and we must act with courage, intelligence and determination to put our ‘football house’ in order for the coaches players and fans of the future ——-or they wont have a football future !!