World Cup 2014: A Latin Revolution with a European Winner

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The 2014 World Cup is over, and it is the trophy time. Messi was voted the best player. The commentator claimed that Messi is the king, but Diego remains the God (actually, he even looked like Buddha not long ago). This World Cup was a Latin revolution with European winners. Once again, football mirrored reality - despite the growth of the emerging economies in South America, Europe still dominates in real terms. And even if all other countries fail, they are still saved by Germany.


For me, the World Cup was further evidence that mankind is going through regression in terms of physical prowess and toughness. We are getting too comfortable! Kids have to bring sports drinks for a 45min PE class and the marks that hardly got me through my athletics exams at university would pass with flying colours today.

Many players had to be carried off the pitch, which testifies to my theory, and this trend is even visible in the new stretchers used for carrying the players off the pitch. Before, they were narrow, but now they are deeper to stop the players falling.

On the other hand, many players were exhausted after a long season and their bodies couldn't withstand the pressure. Whatever nutrition you give your muscles, the tendons and other structures need a decent time to recover. It is no surprise that muscle tears (hamstrings in particular) and problems with soft structures are the most common injuries.


Another thing is the discipline. I knew a lot of folks who would turn on the TV and watch football on the job when their manager was out of office. They would then curse the players for diving and confusing the referees who are later pilloried by the press. But aren't they cheating in the same way by trying to make their work easier?

Thinking Footballers

I agree that the wages in football are too high, but let's take the player's point of view. He cannot afford to underperform, but it is impossible to give 100% in so many matches. Therefore the game is full of interruptions as players try to use their brains, not just their legs. One moment - a hand ball or a successful dive - can make or take millions from the involved parties. And money always comes with responsibility, not to mention the social status.

Take penalties. Freakonomics and SportsGene calculated that the goalkeeper cannot wait for the ball to be kicked as he is limited by the reaction time. Therefore he must pick a side by assessing the player's movement. The player knows that and could score by shooting down the middle of the goal. It would be better for the team, because in most cases the goalkeeper takes one side, but if the goalkeeper decided to stay in the middle, the player would be booed by the fans. You see how difficult it is to be a footballer?

The Beautiful Game

I am glad that from time to time during this World Cup that we could see football in its full nudity - like a page 3 girl lost between the business pages. The perfect ball control in full speed by Dani Alves, the net-tearing shot of Colombia's James Rodriquez, the playfulness of the South American teams.

Economic power really has a great impact on the phenomenon of sports. From gene testing, to talent recognition, player development, incentives to keep the talent at home, marketing the shirts, selling TV rights and electing the right people to make all this possible again in four years. But, I would rather just pull off my shoes and kick a ball around the beach...who's bringing the ball to the Copacabana?

Erik Redli is a university graduate from Slovakia who lived in London for much of his graduate life, read more of his posts here. He tweeted throughout the World Cup @erikredli and using the hashtag #erikbrazil.

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