‘The 2018 World Cup is now over a week old, this is the ninth day of competition and including today, another 17 days (there will be seven days of the 24 without games as the tournament nears its end) when we will have football on our TV screens.

I’m still enjoying this glut of football to watch BUT as things have gone on, I am wondering just how high the quality and entertainment has actually been?

It helped when the hosts got off to a surprisingly good start, they were always going to beat Saudi Arabia but by knocking five in, it couldn’t do any harm to the whole mood/success of the tournament if the fans of the host nation were getting positive with their team.

We then had the six goal Spain/Ronaldo match on the Friday, Iceland grabbing a shock draw with Argentina, then a splendid Mexico showing to shock Germany – they could have won by a hatful!

From that point though, the reality has grown on me with each passing day, this is pretty poor stuff overall.

It is always good to have the underdogs giving the big boys a shock but that loses a lot of its appeal when you then have to accept, the big boys don’t look all that good.

Iceland grabbing a draw with Argentina wasn’t really in retrospect all that remarkable, they had shown in the 2016 euros they were no mugs and Argentina are shocking. We now realise why they struggled to even qualify for the finals.

Germany look a shadow of their former selves but could bounce back potentially, though France have been so tedious in their two narrow wins and Spain looked a bit clueless in their follow up against Iran.

Brazil were many people’s favourites but is this really a vintage Brazil side? We might see them take Costa Rica apart today but they were very average against a workmanlike Switzerland.

If you accept that the standards of entertainment and quality have dropped, what reasons would you come up with?

It is always going to be part of the problem these days, when every team is organised as a bare minimum. The first call being to try and make it as hard as possible for the opposition to score.

Maybe one of the stand out things for me is that in the past pretty much every country had at least one striker and often a support player (midfielder or winger), who were good to watch. Had a bit of quality and would have a go at the opposition no matter who they are.

This tournament, it seems like most teams have a main striker who will work hard, keep possession and end up running AWAY from goal before passing back to his centre-half. Hardly ever do you see a striker get the ball, turn, and run at the opposition. There has been the odd exception and actually Columbia looked really good to watch, attacking the opposition (Japan) despite going a goal down and losing a man very early on.

Is it being coached out of young players now, no emphasis on individual flair and taking chances, everything about keeping the ball and getting nowhere fast?

There are a fair few very good players missing with the likes of Bale, Aubameyang and van Dijk seeing their countries fail to qualify, whilst Leroy Sane was left at home by Germany. You also have the likes of Salah  of course playing for teams who stand no chance, plus of course he wasn’t fully fit.

Maybe the key to it is that club football so dominates the game now, compared to the national sides.

The Champions League exerts a stronger and stronger pull as the biggest club competition in the World.

You look at the supposedly best teams at the 2018 World Cup and I find it very difficult to see any/many of them beating the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City, PSG, Juventus, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and so on.

You see France, the country with the side who have so many of the highest rated players and biggest transfer fees, yet together their team looks so average and devoid of inspiration.

Maybe we will see the 2018 World Cup kick on again, especially once we get to the knockout stages. However, for now I just don’t see it, and things are that bad/average, I honestly see England with a great chance now, judged on that first 25 minutes against mighty Tunisia!

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  • Big Al 1967

    Was watching Iran against Spain the other night and it hit me why the World Cup for me so far has been meh. With the odd exception most games have been attack against defence with one side trying to break through a mass wall of defenders which has been made worse by the quality of the final ball being garbage.
    Roll on the knock out stages

    • Leazes.

      Yes it has been like watching a ‘parked bus’ with a lot of teams…. its the awful realisation that the tactic can actually work in the long run and its being applied to mini league stages of the World Cup.

      Teams know their strengths and their odds of winning and try the ultra defensive stuff….hasn’t helped the spectacle of football as we know.

      • Dillon Tovak

        This is why I don’t go along with the great love affair with Iceland.
        Fair play, they’ve got to do what they’ve got to do, but I don’t want anymore than 3 of their matches on TV. 🙏

        • Rich Lawson

          Be nice to see them win thru’ (put Argentina out) and get totally stuffed in the 1st part of the knock outs.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    It started off well with the Russia and Spain games but has gone rapidly down hill.
    Only see the games if I am down the pub but yes most games and teams low on quality. Lets hope a decent team emerges to brighten it up for those who watch it.

  • Consett Mag

    Enjoyed parts of our game and obviously the Argentina game, with their defence being about as bad as in the battle of Goose Green.

    • Rich Lawson

      Not enough of them shot (obviously meant carded)

  • Carl Mcconville

    I think its grate cos of shocks and goals in evry game so far

  • Rich Lawson

    No,it’s been great to see so many of the ”big boys” struggle rather than the predictable march thru’ the group stages.Who didn’t love seeing Germany beaten by a better Mexico team or perennial cheats Argentina stuffed by Croatia,more from the underdogs please ?

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      The teams are of a poor standard,
      take Germany that must be their worst squad ever, Brazil aren`t that good and the Argies are shyte.

      • Rich Lawson

        Just makes it more open and exciting to think anyone can win

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          Even England`s got a chance with the rub of the green.
          It would be like Pardspew winning the Premiership.

          • Rich Lawson

            At least we’re in from the start for a change,down the pub on Sunday with mates,hopefully to see us crush Panama and go thru’ with out worrying about the result against the mighty Belgium (could be a draw I think ?)

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    The World Cup managers of the numpty teams are using Rafa`s Park ze Bus
    tactics.

    • Rich Lawson

      You can’t blame them tho’,why should they just come all that way just to make up the numbers and roll over.Lets see the favourites adapt if they have anything other than ”names” in the squad (How you doing Lionel ?)

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        we may get a shock winner like Croatia

        • Rich Lawson

          I’ve got great odds on an ew bet on Belgium.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            We`ll see how good Belgium are when they play us

          • Rich Lawson

            True,but they have an excellent squad,great pre tournament results and have hit the ground running.I think they will at least make the final (still quids in !)

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            we have some good players but i don`t rate our manager

          • Rich Lawson

            Who does ? Got himself injured just running around ! Now pictured with a sling on,worse than schteve’s umbrella.

        • thewildchimp

          They look sharp as always, but unlikely to win it all. Maybe semis.

        • Peaky

          Modric made Messi look 💩 last night….good.

  • Toon

    Just you, a miserable Nag writer

  • Peaky

    Not a massive surprise it’s krap to be honest….just look at the last Euros….Portugal were shocking winning that competition.

  • Dillon Tovak

    I kind of agree but close games that are in the balance until the end are better than watching Brazil win 5-0 in my opinion.

  • TheNutJob

    VAR works

  • Peaky

    Nee mare a penalty Neymar…..doon like a sack of 💩💩💩

  • SH.ER

    So after Mexico beat Germany you realized this’s “poor” stuff?
    Mexico actually delivered what they said they wanna achieve before the tournament
    to go far and try to win it and from what i saw they played better than Germany and didn’t park the bus like other teams do …

  • Tweed Mag

    I have enjoyed it so far. Not every game can be a 4-3 thriller. Good to see the smaller teams having a go, even if they have to be defensive at times. What else can they do?

  • SuperDesHamilton

    Football as a whole is terrible nowadays, no one can defend anymore it’s a lost art

  • TheNutJob

    the big ones at 7pm,
    geordiegiants with his Mitro shirt on. c`mon Mitro me old son bang em in i`ve got me wack on ya
    😂😂😂

    • Rich Lawson

      What’s your bet ?

      • TheNutJob

        2-2 then i`m off along the Quayside for a drink and watch the show

        • Rich Lawson

          Chancey ! I think Serbia might turn them over,what’s the price on Mitro to score 1st ?

          • thewildchimp

            Serbia has somewhat better players, but it’s probably who wants it more. Also, Swiss manager looks sharper, Serbian a bit tatty…

          • Rich Lawson

            I am going down to the market for more wine.couple of quid on our boy to score 1st,Harry Lime,”In 500yrs of democracy,what did they produce ? The cuckoo clock ?

          • benmagpie

            And cheese

          • Rich Lawson

            luv cheese,but i have abbreviated the full quote,which you really need to read.

          • TheNutJob

            that nutta from Monkseaton pops out like a cuckoo

          • thewildchimp

            Gratz!

          • TheNutJob

            I didn`t have time to look i just put the 2-2 on

          • Rich Lawson

            Staggered to the bookies (Ladbrokes),got 6/4 on him to score any time.

          • thewildchimp

            The ref robbed you, Nut… Would’ve been 2-2 if he gave that pen. :)

        • thewildchimp

          It’s a derby game, with so many players of Albanian ethnicity in the Swiss team and the majority of those hail from Serbia. So 4+ is a solid bet, probably a draw. Good chances with 2-2.

        • Rich Lawson

          You were robbed pal,Serbia should have had a penalty and that would have been your 2-2.

  • jonas

    Been thinking the same.
    whoever wins it is going to he the worst side to win it by a long distance the way its looking.
    there simply isn’t a good international team in the world now.
    possibly the worst Portugal team in 30years being European Champions and Russia, the worst team in Brazil and the worst team in France look the best testify to this.

    having said that, i totally expected it

    • TheNutJob

      you may be right at that

    • thewildchimp

      Russia has this new wunderkind, Golovin, who does massive job for them. Linked to Arsenal so far.

      • TheNutJob

        a few clubs are after him, good player

  • thewildchimp

    The problem lies in club football. Good players earn so much money there and don’t want to risk it all for glory. Because why have two yachts, when you can have four yachts? Plus, they are praised almost like they are some ancient pagan deities. So, let’s say, Neymar thinks he is gonna stroll through Swiss defense like it’s Dijon or Caen, runs past the first defender, runs past the second defender, then gets elbowed by the third and body-checked by the fourth one. Suddenly, he’s not so keen on entering the penalty box. Better to fish for fouls on the edge and preserve those 100m-euros legs. Fair enough, but the game quality suffers. You can get much more entertainment from simple-minded (not necessarily stupid) players like Mitro or the Mexicans, who are there to play football and nothing else matters. It’s easy to see if someone likes more to play, or the side effects like money and fame.

  • TheNutJob

    Nigeria v Iceland, do i not like that
    😠😠

    • Rich Lawson

      Sun and Ice,proper game.

  • Danimal

    Replacing bad refereeing decisions with bad tv refereeing decisions which take ten times as long to make and disrupt the flow of the game. A great step forward.

  • Scottie Chugger Dearden

    It’s not you cause I genuinely think ever since 2006 the World Cup has been on a steady decline,with Sepp Blatter and his fiddling house of cards people, overpaid players who aren’t that great what is there to get excited about? I bet it’ll be fixed for Argentina to beat Nigeria to sell more Messi shirts!

  • Mike Adam

    What is low in quality at this World Cup, the officiating!!!!!!!!

  • Peter C

    No you’re not wrong, in my opinion it is low in quality and entertainment. But it’s been getting like that for a while.

    I recommend watching the best World Cup and the Best Team ever, which is Mexico 1970 and the Brazil team which won the competition for the third time, and retained the old Jules Rimet trophy.

    Now that was some World Cup and some Team, I defy anyone to say different.

  • nufcslf

    Most World Cups are two teams shi**ting themselves not to concede a goal, so naught naught will do. This one has had plenty of goals with a few upsets. Can’t ask for much more really. Hope it continues with a Sweden win over zu Gormans.