Saturday, June 19, 2010

We Won 1-1

Now I don't want to rain on anybody's parade...but the nation's euphoria at drawing with Slovakia underlines why I find soccer a frustrating game to watch.  How is not losing a good result?  Or as I like to think of it "not winning".

The number of draws at the World Cup so far is amazing.  If I were a betting man: I'd back the draw. 

And whether its the ball or the climate or the those annoying horns, something is acting as a leveller at this World Cup.  Germany's win over Aussie was astonishing not because they won, but because it is one of the few blow outs in the pool play.  Now of course they have themselves been levelled by Serbia and highlighted another factor in the levelling - the number of red cards being handed out.  It's definitely been a factor.

The reality is that soccer people and even soccer refs are more concerned with "not losing" than winning.  For the refs it is better to be seen as a bit over zealous with cards in order that they make it into the next round as well.  For the teams, a draw is better than nothing, which it is mathematically, but a draw-mindset leads to boring and safe soccer.

So congrats to the All Whites for not losing.  In a normal world cup Italy would do us by 4 or 5 goals.  And likely they will to the relief of Australian fans everywhere.  On the other hand, it took NZ 93mins to score a single goal against Slovakia and I don't think the 3 goals we scored against the Italians in that pre Conferation Cup game will come as easily.  But maybe the levelling we are seeing at this world cup will continue and we can win through with another draw...