A few thoughts on the World Cup so far.
Why have the games been so poor?
Although I'm enjoying the World Cup, the games haven't been that great really. I'm currently watching South Africa v Uruguay which has been ok, but overall the games have been dull.
There's been too much caution, with teams preferring not to lose their first match, rather then going for the win.
I'm beginning to think the standard of international football just isn't that great anymore. It's not where you're going to find football played at the highest level.
No team's looked exceptional. I've not thought 'Oh my god this team is amazing' Germany looked good but that was against a poor Australia side and Spain who are meant to be one of the favourites lost today against Switzerland!
Still hope for England then!
The best football sides in the world are arguably the top club sides in Europe. You see some of the best football with the best players in the latter stages of Champions League rather then at international level.
I'd back the likes of Barcelona or Man Utd to win the World Cup more than most of the countries competing in South Africa.
Secondly, you've got the old cliche of there being no easy games in World football. It's true! Even Brazil last night found it difficult to break down a resolute North Korean defence.
The lesser footballing nations might not have the players with the talent and skill of the major countries, but anyone can be well organised.
Teams are getting good at having two banks of four when they don't have the ball, making it difficult for any team to break them down.
I'm not writing this World Cup off yet, but now that we've completed the first round of group matches things should hopefully liven up a bit. We shall see.
The Great Vuvuzela Debate! For or Against?
Ok, so they might sound like a swarm of giant killer bees are about to attack, but I think I like the Vuvuzela sound more than I dislike it.
It gives this World Cup a unique identity. You’ll always remember this World Cup for the Vuvuzela!
I’ve just read that the BBC are looking at possibly broadcasting alternative ‘vuvuzela free’ matches. I’m wondering how that's going to work?
Here in Europe we’re not used to the Vuvuzela sound. I’m sure there have been African football fans who in the past have become sick of hearing that brass band that accompanies all England matches in previous World Cups.
I have to admit at times when a goal is scored you can't really hear the roar of the crowd, but then part of me thinks this is South Africa's World Cup, let them show the World how they follow and support football.
We're less than a week into the World Cup so may be my thoughts will change, but for now lets keep the Vuvuzela sound alive.
What's Beckenbauer on about?
I don't know what Franz Beckenbauer was on about in his criticisms about England's style of play in the game against the USA last Saturday.
Obviously it wasn't a great match, but to say that what he saw of England had very little to do with football was over the top. Did he not see the Slovenia v Algeria game?
He went on to say:
"It looked to me as if the English have gone backwards into the bad old days of kick and rush."
As unconvincing as England were, they were hardly the equivalent of the Wimbledon or Watford sides of the 80s that I remember watching!
Beckenbauer should make his assessments based on England's performances over the last 8 or 9 months rather than one game in a tournament where hardly anyone has put in a decent first game performance.
England's problem against the USA were that they had enough chances to have won, but then ran out of ideas, and when you put on the likes of Peter Crouch it becomes too easy to lump the ball up to him.
The only thing Beckenbauer did say that I agreed with, is that in England we have too many foreign players in the Premier League which is detrimental to the national team and has affected Capello's selection policy.
I'm sure if England meet Germany or any other of the major nations, England would probably play really well, as we seem to do better when we're the underdog.
When it comes to looking for an entertaining side show in this World Cup, I'm looking straight at Maradona!
I've already got my bet on for Argentina to win the World Cup, and don't be surprised if they do it and Maradona sticks two fingers up to his critics.
He's been having a go at Pele and Michel Platini in a press conference today in response to comments they've made about him.
Maradona and Pele have always enjoyed a strained relationship so his comments aren't really a surprise. As for his thoughts on Platini and the French, isn't he just expressing what everyone thinks?
The thing with Maradona is that for him, people are either 100% with him or 100% against him; there's nothing in between.
Despite all the criticisms being made about him and his coaching ability, you don't really hear many complaints from the players in the Argentine squad.
Maradona's probably loving it all really, as he can create that 'them and us' mentality in the squad, which always seems to prove successful for teams in so many different sports.