Years from now hopefully I’ll have more kids and they will ask me about the 2014 Soccer World Cup. The way I see it, currently there are three possible tags to this tournament of which only one will be etched in my memory by Monday morning. Tragedy, Dominance or Destiny?
For the sake of the preservation of dignity within Brazilian football and in maintenance of the high standard of entertainment we’ve been treated to this year - I sincerely hope that this world cup is not remembered for the host nations horrific crash and burn in the semi finals. This tragedy might be the tag that stands out if we see a dull final (similar to the Argentina vs Netherlands semi) with defensive tactics leading to a tense penalty shootout. If Brazil had lost narrowly and went down showing some fighting spirit the ‘tragedy’ tag may have become the ‘bite’ tag – which may have been a worse way to remember this world cup.
If the crisp, clinical and efficient Germans were to thrash Argentina on Sunday or even just pull off a win without a penalty shootout surely this world cup will be remembered for their dominance? This tag sort of works out better than a ‘tragedy’ but I’m not really a fan of German football. Yes, I know the purists will say their style of play is disciplined; they play precise football as a product of ‘German Engineering’ but the whole ethos of their success is a bit boring. You work hard as a team, nothing flashy, accurate passing, good movement, get in the box, goal. They are the personification of ‘The Clones’ seen in Nike’s “The Last Game” ad (https://www.youtube.com/user/NikeFootball).
The axis of Argentina’s game plan is Lionel Messi. Time and time again during this tournament he has been their go to man and he has delivered. He has a career littered with titles and Ballon D’or’s which is on the brink of progression to the summit of achievement in this beautiful game. In soccer there seems to be this category of player only occupied by two people (Pele and Maradona). The exclusivity of this category is most probably due to a subconscious prerequisite – you have to win a world cup for your country. There are great players like Di Stephano, Eusébio and Best; some might argue that Zidane and Ronaldo won world cups for their country but for some reason I just wouldn’t put them next to Maradona and Pele. If Argentina win this world cup though, it just feels right to put Messi next to Maradona and Pele. I think it’s a phenomenon that happens every few decades and it looks like the stars have aligned for Lionel Messi.
I hope for the romantics out there that Messi’s destiny will be fulfilled and ‘The Clones’ will be defeated in the last game of the Soccer World Cup in Brazil 2014.