Brazil again

As the last of the 32 teams to qualify for next year’s World Cup in South Africa were decided this week (some more honourably than others), only now do our local newspapers reveal that we’re wasting time, money and effort on the whole competition. Because they already know who will be the winners:

Football’s romantics might wish for a long-awaited Spanish victory in the 2010 World Cup, or a historic African triumph, but it looks like it will be Brazil all the way.  
Brazil’s coach, Dunga, may have alienated some fans with pragmatism rather than Brazilian flamboyance, but the tournament should end with a sixth success for the World Cup’s most successful team.

And even who they will beat in the final:

the final appears likely to be between Brazil and European champions Spain.

Honestly – all this fuss over infrastructure, security, stadiums, money and Thierry Henry’s left hand could have been easily avoided if we had known this earlier. We could have just handed the trophy over to Brazil and got on with life as usual, complaining about the form of the national football team and ignoring the fact that the Springboks aren’t doing very well, because “they’re still World Champions”.

Which leads me to an interesting point. Could it possibly be that the SAPA-AFP journalist who wrote the Brazil piece just worked out who would win and come second by looking at the current FIFA world rankings? (And if so, would that not also predict the Netherlands beating Italy in a tight 3rd place play off match in PE village on July 10th?)
If the tournament is really going to be decided by world ranking alone, then why are we bothering?

It really is nothing piece of journalism. A space filler full of speculation and unsubstantiated reasoning, obviously written by someone who knows nothing about football. Sadly, it’s exactly the kind of rubbish we’ve come to expect from The Times. Could they really not find something better to put in there? My 3-year-old son could have done a better job.

Happily, Carlos Amato’s open letter to Thierry Henry spares their blushes somewhat.