3 Things to Dislike About the World Cup

england usa goal World Cup 2010No, the vuvuzelas and “it’s boring” are not among them.

I like football/soccer a lot, and I’ve enjoyed watching many of the World Cup games so far. But there are some things about it that bother me.

I’m not talking about little, pet peeve like the vuvuzelas. Rather there are some aspects of the game that create disincentives to our most important values as human beings.

1) The injustice of fluke wins

Lots of people complain about the low scoring nature of World Cup football/soccer. I think it’s bad for the sport but maybe not for the reason you think. The problem with a low scoring game is not that it’s boring, but that it makes it much more likely a fluke goal will win the game.

One of our fundamental human values is justice. You should get what you deserve. The best applicant should get the job. The team that plays the best should win.

In other, more high-scoring sports, there are more opportunities to overcome fluke scores. But in World Cup football/soccer often one fluke goal will decide it, which truly is an injustice.

There is a lot to like about the World Cup.  (Maybe I’ll do another post/series about that.)  But the fact that “luck” rather than skill often determines the winner is one thing I don’t like.

Do you think it’s an injustice for a team to outplay its opponent and then lose or tie on a fluke goal? Why or why not?

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of this series for the other things to dislike about the World Cup.

16 Responses to “3 Things to Dislike About the World Cup”

  1. Well, I suppose they could do like American Football and just multiply the score by 6 for every goal. If you think about it, in essence, a 21 to 14 win in a football game would be 3 to 2 in futbol(not including the gimmee extra points). And at least it’s not an all or nothing game. In American Football you’ve got one shot to win. In most other sports it’s a series of games. Even here in the World Cup you’ve got to maintain to get out of your group alive.

    And I agree about the fluke win thing, but just as a side note, I thought the U.S. did earn their tie even though the goal was a fluke. Although, as the saying goes, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, so kudos to the American team for at least taking the shot. It paid off and they played hard to keep the score 1-1.

    • Hey Don, fluke goals wouldn’t be as much of an issue if the typical World Cup match was 3-2, but the typical score is 1-1. I believe there have been 36 goals in 19 matches.

  2. It may not be justice, but it is true to life. How many times does it seem people get ahead just ’cause they happened to be at the right place at the right time? Others who worked harder, played by the rules, and maybe were more deserving got left out. My dad used to say, “Life’s not fair, get used to it!” –Richard

  3. “That’s why they play the game” Balls bounce, and sometimes they bounce the wrong way.

  4. fluke goal, hah. If you are talking about England then it is the team’s fault for not scoring in the 85 mins after the first goal.
    But things seems to be heating up in terms of goals. the 3 – 0 vs South Africa (weep, wail, grieve) and Argentina’s slaughter of South Korea. And Germany must still play (expect at least 3 goals in that match).

    yet, yeah, in the knock out rounds where the teams are more evenly matched, the fluke goal is terrible.

  5. Hey Paul,
    This is exactly why I like soccer/football. I am a HUGE fan of this sport. I’ll bet another thing you’ll blog about in the next couple of days is that games end in ties. But you see this game is more of a reflection of life than the way us Americans like our sports. Life is unfair — football is unfair. Bad unfair things happen in life and apart from God’s love and care for us there’s nothing we can do about it.
    I’m reminded of what happened a few years ago in a Champions League game. Dynamo Kiev was playing an Italian team (can’t remember who) and with 3 minutes left in the game a bottle flew out of the stands and hit the referee on the cheek crushing it. The game had to be called. The penalty for that team. The next two games, no fans in the stands. That would never happen in the United States.
    Call me weird, but for the reasons you may not like the World Cup are probably why I really like it! I’m looking forward to your next two posts!

    • Yes, certain aspects of life are not fair, but as I asked Richard above, shouldn’t we strive for fairness and justice whenever possible? Shouldn’t our games reinforce our values?

      I want to see the best in every aspect of life recognized and rewarded.

  6. I hope #2 is when refs make a HORRIBLE call! 🙂


  1. Tweets that mention 3 Things to Dislike About the World Cup « Live Intentionally -- Topsy.com - June 18, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Paul Steinbrueck, Paul Steinbrueck. Paul Steinbrueck said: New post: 3 Things to Dislike About the World Cup http://bit.ly/bNtGuF (Probably not what you'd expect) #WorldCup […]

  2. 3 Things to Dislike About the World Cup (Part 2) « Live Intentionally - June 21, 2010

    […] As mentioned last week in part 1, the injustice of fluke wins is one thing to dislike. […]

  3. 3 Things to Dislike about the World Cup (Part 3) « Live Intentionally - June 23, 2010

    […] part 1, I wrote about how the World Cup makes possible the injustice of fluke wins.  In part 2, we discussed playing not to lose.  Another thing I dislike about the World […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.