upstart takes on the World (Cup): day 21

1 July 2010

Written by: Matt de Neef

For the first time in nearly three weeks, we can breathe. It’s a chance to look back with some measure of calm upon the events since South Africa and Mexico drew 1-1 in the opening match. However, it’s fair to say not all of the eliminated countries have managed to find that same level of serenity.

Take Nigeria, for example. Recently-elected president Goodluck Jonathan has responded to the Super Eagles’ disappointing showing by banning the team from international competition.

A narrow defeat to one of the tournament favourites, another to the former European champions when reduced to ten men, and a draw with a generally impressive South Korea hardly seems cause for a national inquiry – yet that appears to be the case.

Furthermore, the team’s suspension from international competition by the government counts as political interference, which would result in FIFA suspending the team from international competition.

There is ineffectual, such as Fernando Torres in front of goal so far in South Africa, and then there’s completely bloody ineffectual, such as Wayne Rooney in front of goal in South Africa. Guess which category a FIFA suspension would fall into?

Being banned by the government for two years means the Super Eagles are the only team who can’t take solace in saying, ‘Well, at least we’re not the French.’

MUST-SEE: Yuichi Komano’s missed penalty, one hopes, will not result in too harsh a treatment. Unlike, say, that dished out to Gareth Southgate when his miss sent England out of Euro ’96. Here’s a little ditty by The Business – with a strong language warning – penned in the days after.

EYEBROW-RAISER: Germany’s Thomas Müller has speculated upon the reasons for England’s failure in the World Cup – namely divisions between members of the squad, and ‘too many chiefs’. Shouldn’t he be thinking more about the much more threatening Argentine team coming up than an already vanquished foe?

TONIGHT: More tennis, but since Serena Williams is as sure a thing as you’ve ever seen, sleep. There are some big matches coming up. Netherlands-Brazil, Argentina-Germany… It starts again tomorrow.

Evan Harding is co-producer of The Contenders Daily Bite, a daily World Cup short which can be seen on Tribal Football. A Master of Global Communication student at La Trobe University, he is an upstart editor armed with a month’s supply of coffee and a Spanish chance to still make back the money lost on an ill-conceived bet. Previous World Cup columns can be found here.