The dust has been settled, the alcohol from Sunday has finally worn off and the teams have gone home. It’s time for some concluding thoughts about this World Cup.
Where do you rank this World Cup?
Balls: I’ve said it before, but I honestly think it’s the Best World Cup EVAR! I’ve been watching World Cups since Argentina 78 and I haven’t seen a single World Cup with only one 0-0 score until this year.
We had no hooliganism, no ticket scams, no racist chants or acts, and no corruption/refereeing controversies thanks to VAR.
I also enjoyed that the final game was so high-scoring and free-flowing. Even though I wanted Croatia to win, it was a fun final to watch.
Hippo: Deffo the best. Of the arsehole teams, only the Cuck Liouns made it very far, and that was only due to schedule and then to hilariously pull the rug out from under them. New stars emerged to overshadow the tired, old narratives. The final was quite excellent. No officiating debacles, and VAR introduction was flawlessly executed (a FIFA first).
Wakezilla: Since 1994, I have been passionately watching the World Cup. I place this World Cup as the second best World Cup I have ever seen, with 2014 slightly being my favorite. 2014 is my favorite because (West) Germany was my first lesser footy team I supported and they won in Brazil. In all honesty, if we were to switch the Krauts with the Swedes in this tournament, even if it meant they lost to the Limp Biscuits in the quarterfinals, I might have considered this tournament the best.
Litre_Cola: It was phenomenal. I enjoyed every bit of it. From the Krauts bowing out early to the English getting just close enough so there are no hard feelings with my English friends this cup was fantastic. I have always preferred the Euros to the World Cup because I feel there are many weak teams that get in like Panama, Saudi Arabia but in this Cup even the minnows were entertaining to watch. This would be #2 for me behind 1994 which is when I got into futbol.
Being a part of the live blogs made even the crappy games entertaining as I actually had to look in to every game to write about it. Well done to all, a truly good time.
Would you change the playoffs’ extra time format, in order to prevent/delay penalty kicks?
Balls: I think the addition of an extra substitution for Extra Time has helped greatly. I would consider adding one more to encourage teams to be more offensive.
Hippo: Two thirty (30) minute periods. One extra sub for each. But if there’s a winner in the first extra time period, you no longer have to play the second. Basically making it single OT and double OT, then pennos. Think this splits the difference between the current setup and “golden goal.”
Wakezilla: To open things up, before extra time begins, each team will remove 2 players and let the coaches set their new starting IX lineup without it counting as a sub. If one of the teams had a player receive a red card, they’d have to play with 8 players. Lesser footballers who were subbed out during the first 90 minutes can return. Each team would get 2 subs for the extra time period. In terms of length, it would be two 20 minute halves and the clock stops whenever there is a delay.
Litre_Cola: I would allow one substitution per 15 minutes and play until someone scores.
Any other rules you would like to see change going forward?
Balls: This may seem out of the box, but bear with me. Australian Rules Football does not have any problems with players wasting time by either kicking the ball away or arguing with the umpire. This is because the AFL has something called a 50 meter penalty. If a player doesn’t automatically give the ball to the opposing player or starts to argue, the umpire moves the free kick 50 meters closer to the goal.
Now, maybe we don’t do 50 meters due to the size of the pitch, but a 30 meter penalty seems right. If the offending player is going to give up a set piece opportunity (and we had more set piece goals in this World Cup than ever before!), then most likely that type of behaviour will stop.
Given that referees are hesitant to hand out yellow cards, this would be a nice start to getting rid of the behaviour that prevents more people from embracing the sport.
Hippo: Eliminate the goddamned yellow card accumulation rule. This ain’t Miss Congeniality time, FFS.
Wakezilla: Great question Wakezilla! I thought you’d never ask!
1) It’s an automatic yellow card if the players get in the face of/or swarm the ref. Just like in rugby, only the captain should be allowed to talk to the ref, and even then, they aren`t nose to nose with each other. This was a ridiculous problem throughout the tournament. Remember Ronaldo giving one ref an Eskimo kiss, or Colombia’s actions when they played England? Brutal. Then there was France. France intimidated the ref to go to VAR and with how long the ref took, including leaving and checking the VAR again, I strongly suspect that he was afraid to say it wasn’t a handball.
2A) Speaking of VAR, just like the NFL, when refs go to VAR, there must be significant evidence to overturn the call on the field. In terms of the Croatia/France game, that replay absolutely did not show enough evidence that Perisic intentionally tried to hit the ball with his hand. Conversely, had the ref ruled it a handball right away, there wasn’t enough evidence to say Perisic accidentally hit the ball. If the VAR booth can’t figure it out and needs the ref to look at the call, and the ref takes over 5 god damn minutes to make a decision, runs onto the field, stops, then runs over to look at the replay again, you do not have enough evidence to overturn the original call.
2B) VAR and the ref must have a time limit of 90 seconds. If the VAR booth can’t figure it out and calls the ref over to have a look, the ref shouldn’t have all god dam day to figure it out, like he did on Sunday. In 90 seconds, if the ref can’t see–and this is FIFA’s wording here– the “clear and obvious error in the original decision,” then the original decision stands.
3) The handball rule needs to be changed. In addition to former refs, a plethora of current and former coaches and players have expressed their disgust on social media with how much of a bullshit call that handball was on Perisic. There seems to be a major disconnect between the players and coaches and the rules (if the ref’s decision was correct). Fix it, because I don’t want to guess what is and is not a catch in the Lesser footy world.
A substitute change must be made within 12 seconds. If the player is still on the field after 12 seconds, the player going off gets a yellow card and the other team gets a free kick. I’m getting sick and tired of players recreating the Undertaker’s entrance to the ring when their respective team has the lead in the second half. If 12 seconds seems unreasonable, then let have the ref stop time. Injury time never makes up for the time wasted during substitution changes.
5) This is thinking more about the 2026 World Cup, but it can help with tie breakers: Win or lose, if a team scores 3 or more goals, they get a bonus point. We need to deter more countries from emulating Scandinavia’s format of all-out defense. As of right now, I can’t even imagine the poor quality of lesser footy that will be played in 2026 if they don’t reward a point for goals scored. When Canada is placed in a group with Bolivia, Comoros and Spain in 2026, good luck trying to stay awake in any game that doesn’t involve Spain because all three of those teams are parking the bus against each other.
6) Change the 2 card yellow rule: In an ideal world, we’d rid of it all together. However, in the spirit of fair play, I’d suggest in group stage, a player will only get suspended if they get three yellow cards. Once we get into the playoffs, the card count gets erased. Then it’s three yellow cards for the round of 16 and quarterfinals. They get erased again for the semis and World Cup finals.
Bottom line is, people are paying a fuck ton of money to attend these matches and people at home want to see the best possible product on the field. This doesn’t happen when managers have to constantly bench or sub out a key player because the ref looks grumpy.
Litre_Cola: You have an actual clock for the time stoppage on in the background! A LEGITIMATE CLOCK! USE IT. Play stops, the clock stops. No one on the field is aware of how much wastage their has been. Then you actually play the minutes at the end.
Anyone gets in the refs face it is a yellow. No wiggle room. Run away and be lippy all you want but when you surround him it is ridiculous.
Maybe get back to giving yellow cards for simulation. I really don’t care if the booth officials radio down to the ref and say that was a yellow. It will stop simulation.
Who was your tournament MVP?
Balls: The selection of Modric was spot on. He carried that Croatia team.
Hippo: Out of the box, and being a complete and total Everton homer, I will say Jordan Pickford. Nobody else on that England side was better than average, in my opinion. The save he made right before the Murder Checkerboards’ equalizer (where a defender screened him on the corner kick) was easily the save of the tourney, and the one he made right before the Waffles’ 2nd in the Gold Medal contest was the runner up.
Wakezilla: If it’s any consolation for you Hippo, Jordan Pickford had the sweetest ass in the tournament. FIFA got it right with Luka Mordic. With that said, Greizmann had one hell of a tournament. If he scored one more goal (giving him 5 in total), I might have to reconsider.
Litre_Cola: Modric. Dominant.
Aside from the rules, which was already discussed, is there anything about this World Cup you would change?
Balls: I saw something in the media where they were trying to crack down on broadcasters focusing on good looking women in the crowd.
One, Andy Sidaris is rolling over in his grave.
Two, we’ve gone too far when we can’t appreciate beauty as part of sport. Yes, there is more to women than their bodies/looks but showing beautiful people on camera is not a hurtful act.
Three: God Bless Wakezilla and those Croatian ladies that enjoyed wearing skimpy outfits.
Hippo: Fox had quite a few moe-rons in its studio. MOAR Kate Abdo (and the lady British footballer), less of the likes of Alexi Lalas and Gus Hiddink, please.
Wakezilla: Balls already discussed this, but FIFA has told TV stations to stop showing crowd shots of attractive women. This is a weird kind of discrimination. So, we’re only going to get shots of ugly people crying and praying for their team scoring or preventing a goal? That’s really stupid. In all honesty, I would get rid of crowd shots all together. I hate it when other pro leagues do this, particularly in the playoffs. More often than not, I mock them because they look stupid. But if we’re going to have crowd shots to capture the atmosphere, then show those lovely ladies who killed themselves in the gym and restricted their diet in order to look good in their skimpy outfits for their TV shot. I know they earned it more than if they were to show me, when I’m in attendance for a 2026 World Cup game.
Finally, in a slightly alternate universe, if we were to keep the results the same, but were to replace Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland with Germany, Peru and Serbia in the round of 16, this would have been the perfect World Cup for me because three bullshit defensive sides would have been replaced with more entertaining attacking sides.
Litre_Cola: More quadrupleheaders, that day was phenomenal. Since the games are only 2 hours long I enjoyed that Saturday with 8 hours of futbol. I have to be honest, I did miss the Italians and Dutch in this tournament, more so their fans and watching their roller coaster of emotions.
I hope for the American commentists that you get new talking heads, FOX is deplorable. I tuned in to one pregame and one half time show and it was shocking. Whenever there was a problem with the international broadcast they would flip to the FOX feed and it was like nails on a chalkboard.
Anything you DIDN’T like?
Balls: VAR brought out into the open a major problem the sport has and that is the fútbol version of “Is that a catch?” It was up front and center in the World Cup Final.
No one knows when a handball is a foul or not.
People have different definitions of what is required in order for a foul (and in the Final, a PENALTY) to be called. It shouldn’t be that controversial.
In my experience, intent is key. The player must try to avoid putting his arms in a position where they could get hit by the ball. Now, if you’re jumping and your arms are extended to your side, that’s natural and any contact shouldn’t be penalized. If your arms are above your head (à la Pique), then that’s clearly a foul.
I feel FIFA need to make that rule clear.
VAR did not gift France a penalty. It showed the ref there was contact which he had missed and it was up to the ref to interpret the rule. That’s where the “controversy” came from.
Hippo: Any world stage legitimacy that accrued to the murdering, cowardly dickwad that is Vladimir Putin. I hope his dick turns green and falls off.
Wakezilla: Here’s a little nugget about your pal, Wakezilla: I have spoken at various conferences around the world highlighting how lesser footy can bring out the ugly side of politics. This World Cup was pretty nasty for that. Some of the worst stuff included teams scheduling and canceling exhibition matches with Iran, while Nike dropped their sponsorship deal with Iran due to bullshit sanctions a week before the tournament. All things considered, Iran had a respectable showing despite having matches cancelled. As for their players, they had to buy their own jerseys (from presumably DHgate) and shoes in order to play.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar are fighting like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. Out of sheer spite, Saudi Arabia is building a canal in order to make Qatar an island and they also created a TV station that hacked Qatar’s BeIN channel and aired the matches on a 10 minute delay. If that weren’t enough, the Saudis called it BeOUT Q. Unsurprisingly, FIFA and Qatar are suing for copyright infringements.
Poor Mo Salah had his image sold out everywhere without his permission. Additionally, Egypt was camped out in Chechnya, which was far away from where their games were played. This was done on purpose so Warlord and Chechnya leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, could do a ton of photo ops with Salah, including hosting Egypt for dinner and making Salah—and only Salah—an honorary citizen of Chechnya. Fun fact: Salah looked really uncomfortable the entire time and Egypt’s FA took a little too long to respond to this “pleasant” news.
Then there were the Nazi signs. Poland I’m looking in your direction. There’s a lot more, like Germany’s Mesut Ozil getting blamed for Germany exiting group stage, despite playing in 2 games—”there’s just something about him that made only him the person to blame for Germany’s embarrassing defeat when he didn’t even play three games”—or the constant harassment and criticism Raheem Sterling received from BBC and the Sun, even after his excellent game against Sweden. You get the gist.
On the plus side, once Morocco found out Saudi Arabia lobbied for NAFTA to host the World Cup in 2026, Morocco pulled out of Yemen. So, that’s good. You gotta love how mentally stable our allies are in all of this.
Litre_Cola: I didn’t like the Colombians bowing out, I thought that they were the right team at the right time. The “fairplay” tiebreak rule must change the Senegalese got jobbed. I do not know what the fix is but the fairplay rule is dumb.
/heads out to lawn to shake fist
Neymar, seriously dude you are an embarrassment.
Messi’s team in a shambles.
The whole thought of new president of FIFA and poof the corruption gone.
PED’s, either let them all dope or start testing.
My credit card bill, for bars being open at 6 am and me being able to drink beer almost every morning.
I didn’t like the World Cup being awarded to North America because I really wanted to go back to Morocco, that country is fantastic.
Balls: I’m a bit sad it’s all over, but I’m so happy it was as great as it was. I reiterate my thanks to my fellow panelists for their contributions and to the commentists for their participation.
Given the results of this tourney and the style of play exhibited, Euro 2020 is going to be AWESOME! See you then!
Hippo: Balls is right, don’t forget the Euros and the South American Euros (whenever those next might be), both are amazeballs. And this really was the Last True One in terms of World Cups, as the next one will be ruined by being played in the middle of a fucking desert (in Greater Footy season, no less!). Then comes 2026 and the completely moronic disruption of the 32-team field, and ruining of the Group play stage. It’s gonna be a fucking disaster, let alone the nightmares people will have going back and forth across the Canadia/Los Estados Unidos/Mexico borders. SHIT? Meet SHOW. Hope you savoured this’un.
Wakezilla: This was a great world cup and I had an absolute blast watching the matches with all of you. Next year, we have the Women’s lesser footy World Cup and more importantly, the rugby world cup. Based on timezones, we should get one tournament in the morning and one in the evening. We gon get drunk round the clock next year, baby!
As for what Hippo was saying about the NAFTA World Cup, I agree. It’s going to be a logistical nightmare. With that said, I say we should skip 48 teams and go straight to 64. It would be more inclusive and then we don’t have to worry about third place finishes and people bickering about strength of schedule or whatever. Besides, we haven’t lived until we watch Brazil take on France’s B team, Mali, or Vietnam play the Cook Islands.
Thanks for reading!
Litre_Cola: SavoUr this one folks, the next one is in winter in the desert and the following one has way too many teams and the format is stupid. I can’t wait for a Zaire v Siam or Upper Volta v Burma group match. This is the perfect amount of teams, there are only a few minnows and the majority of the games were very entertaining. Canada has only made it once, and I have always thought that it would be a hell of an accomplishment if they ever did it again. For me the expanded field takes a little bit of that away for me. (They may not be granted an automatic birth which also is stupid)
I look forward to the Rugby World Cup and the Copa America coming up soon.
The live blogs were fucking fantastic and incredibly addictive.