We’re in the quarters of the World Cup, which they say has been the best tournament in years, which I might agree with because the last few international tournaments have been dire in my opinion. I feel that some players have reserved their best performances to club football only (i.e. Messi and all the England team). This year’s been a bit different (apart from England and Spain) and we’ve seen a fast style of football a lot like the Premiership (the world does its best to adapt their style to the English game yet the English are crap at playing their own style). We’ve seen commitment and hard work from USA and Costa Rica (Gerrard’s pathetic midfield command against Uruguay is obviously not an example (and Joe Hart, for all the chest thumping he does, his organising of the four defenders in front of him makes me believe he couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery)) and great features of skill, mostly notably from the Colombian James Rodriguez who looks as if he’s 15 years old and belongs in a Latin American tribute band of One Direction. For a football fan you would expect me to be in heaven. Well I’m not. I’m extremely jealous. I’m jealous because when I was younger I was younger I was always lead to believe that with England, maybe due to media hype, whatever the team lacked in skill, would be backed up in heart and desire. I honestly believe that some of the players don’t even have that anymore. Criticise Luis Suarez all you want (I know I’ve made a fair few bad puns), but he at least shows hunger (no pun intended) required to be a success. He will do all he can. Gerrard on the other hand can’t even put his foot down against a very mediocre Uruguayan midfield, a player who has always saved his better performances for his club and the moment he retires with Lampard (from our disasterous golden era), he will do England a favour. I don’t care if we don’t have back up for him. I just want to see a player who puts in a hard shift. Sadly I dont think he does. It’s a shame. I used to think he was a superb player. Not anymore.
Joe Hart has also been a massive disappointment. He was meant to be one of the world’s best (he was great at Birmingham). I blame him for at least three of the goals England conceded, through bad positioning and not ordering his defenders (he allowed Luis Suarez to run right between his central defenders and Luis Suarez’s shot and Balotelli’s shot were right at him). I put this down to a lack of passion. Not lack of technique. The mistakes that these players were making are not done at club level. If the world cup is such a hindrance to their holidays, just don’t bother coming. Fans don’t deserve that. I hope the few rough talents coming through don’t take the advice of elder players. Another useless generation thrills no one.
I always thought that England would be a step ahead of the USA (no offence to people of the US reading this), but it seems that they’ve overtaken us in this sport too. It hurts. It really does hurt. Then to see France knocking the ball around so sweetly, without one of their most important players. Please English FA, disband the team. I can’t bear the pain.
Now to Honduras. Much of the team put in the team but the coach Suarez got his tactics really, really wrong. He took four defensive midfielders and played a 4-4-2 formation. There was no attacking threat from midfield, but they put in a lot of effort. I refuse to believe that they were that dirty. Other teams (Greece against Costa Rica for example) were worse. They were late in tackles, over excited and stuck by their intense game, but nothing more. The World Cup equilivant of Stoke City or Hull City. They were also accused of having a poor mentality. I can see why. It appears the owners of Olimpia and Motagua (who are presidents of the Honduran FA) put pressure on the coach to pick players from their own club squads in the hope that big clubs in US and Europe buy them up after the world cup. Luis Montes is an example, a defender for Motagua who has been injured for a year and playing in reserves and lacks quality. There’s also accusations of unfair payments to certain players. It’s a shame for Hondurans to see their team is rigged with corruption, like its government and congress. Football is a great escapism for Hondurans. They can’t escape corruption though, so it seems. One thing to note, the goalkeeper Noel Valladares and right back Bryan Beckeles live in the same neighbourhood as my girlfriend!! It’s funny how the Honduran people don’t suffer from the same jealousy as myself, regarding the success of their rivals. They seem to be very proud of their near neighbour’s success Costa Rica. Before the world cup, we all thought Costa Rica would be the whipping boys of group D but they ended up qualifying from a so-called star-studded group. I also believed Honduras possessed better quality players but lacked mentality. Boy am I wrong. One of the reasons that Hondurans pray for the continued success of the Ticos is that FIFA might award CONCACAF with an extra space for the next world cup, maybe pinching it from Africa or Oceania/Asia qualifying rounds, which Honduras might desperately need. There are a few good players retiring from this Catracho team, with few youngsters of the same quality. It may take a few years to return to a WC finals. They did well at the under 17s tournament. Here we wait and see.
Talking of youngsters, at the end of May when the country was pumped with hype from world cup, a Honduran football movie was released called 11 Cipotes. Unfortunately it caught my attention a little late and it stopped being shown in the cinema. I don’t know much about it, but I think it’s about a kid’s team that was created in an impoverished neighbourhood in Tegucigalpa, but a nice feel good film. I’ve friends who’ve seen it and enjoyed. If it makes it to independent cinemas in Europe and US, try to see it.
Sorry for the poor image. On the Internet, the image rights have been protected so I’ve had to do a screenshot. Rather naughty but I don’t care, I’m trying to sell their movie for free to international audiences. Only funny piece of trivia about the movie is that cipote in Honduran Spanish (I don’t know about other Latin American countries) means kid. In castillian Spanish (from Spain), it’s a rude way of describing a piece of male genitalia. It’s like calling it 11 Dicks, which sounds like a dodgy porn film.
Just to let you all know that I’ll be back in the UK this time next week, which I imagine Steven Gerrard will be waiting for me at the airport with a baseball bat if he’s read the above (then again, maybe he can swing a bat better than he pass a ball these days). I look forward to catching up with many of you.