Post-World Cup Letter - Liberty

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Post-World Cup Letter


Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

For the better part of six weeks, this number has been inexorably increasing, and the angry red icon in the corner of your inbox indicates the urgency of the situation. There was a flood of messages after the World Cup ended, and a steady stream once the holidays began.

Many of the notes were generous and poignant messages of appreciation and support, while others contained thoughts, ideas, comments, and questions. in their void.

Well, new year, new me: Finally, a chance to sit back and catch up on all the passionate, intelligent, funny, and sometimes downright resentful correspondence that has flowed into my inbox over the past few weeks. Thank you to all of them. Even the ones that are wrong, as outlined below.

It has been argued that December's World Cup final was not only the greatest final of all time but may have been the greatest game of all time.

Perhaps, as many have suggested, this article was written at that moment...a long month of deconstructing Qatar's unreality and FIFA's vision of a future Snow Crash. It was so loud that sometimes I couldn't think clearly. Could the effect have lasted longer?

"Your judgment and perspective are usually spot on, but 'the best World Cup final'? Really?" cried Richard Firthland. But is the best game the one that starts 80 of the first 90 minutes one-sidedly and ends with a penalty?"

Lionel Messi has won the award he has been chasing for 20 years. Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.

Stuart Forbes, on the other hand, gets straight to the point. “You drink FIFA Kool-Aid,” he suggests, inadvertently offering for free the kind of sponsorship advice FIFA would be more than happy to pay the consultant a six-figure fee.

“That was very entertaining, but surely Argentina dominated the first 75 minutes against a colorless France? Was the move for Ángel Di María's goal any better than the one for Carlos Alberto in 1970?”

See all this in the cold light of reality and benefit from a few weeks of perspective - there's no colder light of reality than Yorkshire in December.

As the novelist Christopher Priest said, magic tricks have three parts. The first is a pledge. Mediocre and unremarkable, such as the first 80 minutes of the final. The second is the turn: Kylian Mbappe's devastating two-minute intervention.

But they're both building their fame, and it's an epic unity that keeps audiences bogged down. Slow burning and sudden ignition are all part of the same trick.

Admittedly, there is only one improvement for this year's Finals. A quick and ruthless penalty decision shouldn't detract from the majesty of the match, but either Randal Colo-Muani or Lautaro Martinez scored in the final minutes of extra time. Indeed, somehow, it's proving to be more satisfying.

Still, it's hard to find a convincing answer to Robert Lanza's question. "Which other final would be the best contender?" He asked.

But it wasn't quite the final. The tournament was not an outright knockout. Brazil would have won the World Cup just by avoiding defeat, one could argue 1986.

Is it even possible to compare iconic moments from different eras? Anne-Christine Poujoulat/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.

As in 2022, both finals had an overarching story. Diego Maradona is looking to prove himself the best player on the planet in the latter. Perhaps the answer is time, age, The situation is... After all, the World Cup means different things to different people. Lionel Messi is the player of my life. His victories, his glory, resonate with me in another way than Bobby Charlton or Maradona.

There needs to be more room for mitigation and interpretation when it comes to goals. Mary Rock may not have seen Di Maria's strike as the best of the game — "I think Mbappe's second was the biggest goal of the final," she wrote — but I tend to accept Yurek's counterarguments.

"Anytime, anywhere, I want to show a goal with six one-touch passes in a row and challenge anyone," he wrote. "And this was the grandest stage possible."

Having re-litigated all of that and no one changed their minds in the process, I can keep complaining.

The answer is yes. If anything, Qatar has effectively provided a blueprint for what FIFA wants its future World Cup to look like. It's a South American tender that includes Uruguay. That means Tyranny is incredibly wealthy and can offer the same kind of fantasy land that we enjoyed in Doha.

The three men who had it all at the World Cup in Qatar.Dan Malan/Getty Images.

Gunnar Birgisson is interested in future tournament formats. He worries that 32 teams are too few, but the 48 teams scheduled for 2026 and beyond see teams that "do not really have the quality to participate" as seat padding or cannon fodder. , which means "northern entitlement"...and South America is mostly irrelevant. ”

It's an idea FIFA sidestepped as part of its ongoing Big Thoughts approach to growth, and it has some merit. Some extension is possible while maintaining the symmetry of the current setup. The downside, of course, is that it takes time, and teams that have to go through additional qualifiers are placed at a disadvantage in the final tournament itself.

Considering that FIFA admits that the original plan of 16 teams for three teams was so bad that anyone would immediately understand if it was mentioned, an idea of ​​this kind is expected to be ready in time for 2026. By Jacob Myers.

"What will it take for American football fandom and Major League Soccer to take off after the 2026 World Cup?" He asked.

The problem with this question is that I asked a similar question on the other side of the Atlantic, but I'm not quite sure what the bar should be like. Does America have a popular national league? Attendance is pretty high, is it? Is youth participation booming? Is your TV schedule filled with endless football coverage that was unimaginable ten years ago?

For all of the above, it's very true, isn't it? Of course, M.L.S. can continue to grow in popularity. The displayed value may be larger. Things like the World Cup final can help bring in new fans. But from thousands of miles away, football seems to be hardwired into America's sporting consciousness. In that sense, 2026 is not the year football breaks new ground. If anything, it's a coming-out party and a showcase of how much it belongs.

If you are still not convinced, stop here. From Paul Bauer. “I live in a senior citizen condo in New Jersey and have neighbors who understand football.” The rest will follow.