A spectacle that takes place once every 4 years, what more can one ask for? The international exposure is beyond overwhelming. Countries do battle on the field for the coveted trophy they get to keep for the next 4 years. And it is a battle on the field.
The battle that immediately comes to mind is the England Vs. Germany match.
the English have squared off against their German counterparts on 4 separate occasions. The first being their meeting during the finals of the 66 Cup, which England went on to win, their sole victory, which was also shrouded in controversy. It seems Karma has returned for payback 44 years later.
1970, quarter finals, England 2 West Germany 3.
1982, second round, zero-all.
1990, semi-finals, 1-1. Penalty kicks, West Germany wins by a factor of 1, 3 to 4.
Many viewed their meeting during 2010 as Englands triumphant return, recapturing the glory of '66, even donning the same colored uniform as their predecessors. The only part of history to repeat itself on that fateful day was the controversial bouncing of the ball, from the top bar, onto the goal line, and beyond. Despite various camera angles signifying that the ball did infact enter the goal vicinity, the decision was made to ignore the goal. England went on to their most bitter defeat at the hands of Germany, 4 - 1.
This has sparked a fierce debate regarding the referees, visual impairment, and the possibility of using electronic sensors to alert the referee to things such as the ball crossing the line etc.
It is my belief however, that the game should remain free from Big Brother's watchful eye.
When the first players inflated a pigs bladder and kicked it around for fun, football was created. Little has been done to the sport since then; you have 5-aside football played indoors, and 11-aside football played on a pitch. Other than that, the sport is relatively stable.
During the games I kept envisioning extreme football, much like Vince McMahons now defunct XFL, having camera's on the players to give a real-life experience to the watchers, even a camera on the ball itself! Playing a game with a wider goal, and two goalies etc. The possibilities of messing with the game are endless, however, classic football has not changed.
Now, the very concept of controversy is that it harms one and benefits another. One team is angered, another is elated. Think back to when controversy served to make a people proud. The infamous "Hand of God" incident during the finals of '86.
Ironically, England was victim this time, 20 years after they "stole one" from Germany. Fate is a fickel friend, and despite believing that their cosmic payback was settled, once again, England is robbed.
We perform several silly acts in the name of superstition and tradition. Despite vehement claims of their audacity, we continue to believe in preserving the ways of old. It is the reason why people opt to throw a pinch of salt over their left shoulder if they spill the salt. It is the root for many flaws that in the end, reassert our humanity.
Human error is what makes the game special. If electronics were allowed to interfere with human judgment, what would be the difference between watching a live football match, and playing Winning Eleven or Pro-Evolution Soccer? What the lord giveth, the lord taketh. In a game that pits two opponents against each other, one will always walk away the beneficiary, whilst the other wallows in the pains of what could have been.
In order to perserve tradition, the game must be allowed to continue, in all its imperfection, as it is that imperfection that ultimately, makes it that much more fun to watch.