Monday, July 05, 2010

Can You Tell

Watching Argentina the other night was difficult and I felt a bit like a voyeur. Germany murdered ‘em. It was sad to see players as talented as Argentina first look baffled and bewildered, and then lose all hope. It was heartbreaking to observe Maradonas increasing despair as the game reached its conclusion. Maradona will probab;y be gone now, which is a shame, because he provides genuine entertainment on the touchline, and his press conferences are legendary.

So that was Argentina and Brazil both gone, both of them with a whimper and Brazil bid goodbye to their manager. Some very good, or at least well though of teams have now left earlier than expected, which I hope puts Englands performance into some perspective. 32 of the worlds best teams started in South Africa and it was inevitable that well fancied teams would go out. Someone has to lose, sometimes (often, in fact) it will be your team that loses, so be it. It’s not just England, but, it seems every other nation that overreacts to sporting disappointment; I’m not sure if that makes me happy or not.  

For once, the FA have behaved reasonably, in not sacking Capello, which would have represented the most violent of knee jerks. I maintain that given the respective records of the manager and the players, you have to conclude that it is the players that failed, not the manager. This leaves us with a huge problem. There has been loads written and said about Englands failings over the last week, but the harshest condemnation of the game lies in the figures for the number of qualified coaches we have in comparison to other countries.

The Observer reported yesterday that England has only 2,769 coaches holding Uefa's B, A and Pro badges, its top qualifications. Spain has produced 23,995, Italy 29,420, Germany 34,970 and France 17,588.

This is shocking, truly shocking. The Lewis report, which someone must have paid for, seems to have been ignored, because of bickering at the disjointed top levels. I manage to keep a calm, rational head when it comes to the teams performance; I am, despite my advanced age, quite naïve, and I firmly believe that every player tries his absolute best in every game, so I can forgive defeat. This structural disgrace though is something else, and is unforgivable. Who holds these chumps to account?

Should I mention the national football centre? Er, no, perhaps not, I might pop a vessel.

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