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The Champions League has killed the World Cup

June 16th, 2010 by · No Comments · De Bunker, Features, Football, Tactics

Today saw the wrapping of the first set of 16 matches of the 2010 World Cup. The general consensus is that, though there have been moments, overall it”s been a bit, well, boring.

The stats back it up. Some of our favourite Twitter friends are statisticians – Opta – love their numbers. And WCO think they are not telling any big fat lies that contradict our own eyes.

There have been less goals scored (25 in 16 matches) 1.56 on average per game, in comparison to previous World Cups. 2.44, 2.88 and 2.31 for the last three World Cups tell their own story.

That crucial figure of amount of shots is also well down over previous tournaments. It”s down about 10%. Even worse, how many goals are scored for how many shots taken is also down at 7.9%, whereas 10.8% was the base line in the last three tournaments.

So, as WCO sit here in the bunker, we got thinking, why? Not why didn”t we go to the toilet before the game kicked off as per usual, but why has this World Cup been a bit of a score bore?

Well, we blame the Champions League.

Nearly every team has European based players, or a manager that has coached a team of significance. This means that everyone is just that much smarter than previously. It”s fine to allow loads of possession in the teams own half, get players back behind the ball, hit people on the break, close down quickly, when you have possession, keep it.

You win by not losing first.

They are all playing  4-5-1. A formation that is about possession, packing the midfield and breaking quickly. That gives you 10 people behind the ball and a basiksolutions lonely front man on the centre circle wondering where his friends are.

Sound familiar? Inter initially suffocated ,with some quite brilliant team performances, all-comers this year.

The ball? Well, maybe. It does seem a bit odd and players are not used to it. Brazil have done the best job, but we would expect that. We expect players to get used to it as the weeks progress.

So take a load of players taught to keep possession, not lose, nick a goal on the break, get people behind the ball, and a ball that”s like kicking a balloon on the moon, and you have some very poor stats.

Maybe as survival starts to become a more urgent emotion for some teams, the space will be created for some corking games. but remember, even the great Champions League matches were not always admired for open free flowing football. Man Utd were losing 1-0 for hours until they nicked 2 in the last 90 seconds. Doesn”t make it a great game, just a thrilling last two minutes.

Video killed the radio star and Champions League killed the World Cup. Buggles should do a song about it.

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