Sunday, June 24, 2012

It's surprising how boring great football can be

I've read a few accounts of last night's game in the sports pages of the broadsheets. They haven't used the word that most people I know were using about it. Boring.

This was the match we were all supposed to be looking forward to. It was the one that was most keenly anticipated by those who talk about football as if it's art, who talk about "Meelan" and "Barsa", who speak in formations and say players and managers have "a body of work".

Spain were the superior side. Their superiority was manifest in the way they got the ball and kept it, making France run until they looked tired, demoralised and eventually as bored as the rest of us.

When there's no contest you look for entertainment in goals, which is the usual outcome of a one-sided contest. After the game Roberto Martinez actually said that Spain weren't all that bothered about goals. They looked slightly embarrassed by the second one, a penalty in the last few minutes, as if they didn't need anything quite so vulgar as a two-nil scoreline to prove their superiority.

There was lots of very fine football played, most of it by Spain. What was missing was drama. Given a choice between football and drama, I'll take drama every time.


  1. Perhaps Spain's favourite scoreline is the same as mine: 1-0. Particularly satisfying if the goal has been scored well before half time, ideally within the first half hour.

  2. I couldn't agree more.

    Although not a crazy high standard of football, England's game against Sweden was dramatic and far more entertaining.

    The opener, for me, was another example of this. Goals, missed penalties, red cards - Poland vs Greece is never a 'classy' game, but it was way better than last night.

  3. As a long-suffering fan of Formula One - which is surely a candidate for the most boring sport on the planet - I will say that there is nothing more tedious than a smooth, uncontested, professional drive.

    You can appreciate the skill involved and the harmony between the driver and the technology but it's seldom engaging, nor is it much fun to watch.

    It's better when circumstances push drivers onto what commentators are fond of referring to as "the ragged edge."

  4. Good Word podcast discussion question here Mr Hepworth - does the same apply in music?

    Radiohead are my Spain. Tremendous respect for what they do and they way they do it but I find most of the music tedious. Ryan Adams is another who can write albums that are so solidly 'good' that they get boring.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.