Tuesday 12 December 2017

You know what? Football just makes everything better

Uruguay's Luis Suarez reacts after clashing with Italy's Giorgio Chiellini
Uruguay's Luis Suarez reacts after clashing with Italy's Giorgio Chiellini
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

This time four years ago, most football fans were in a state of mild despair. The first ball had been kicked two weeks earlier in South Africa and all the dire warnings of the potential problems posed by that tournament were coming true.

Thanks to the Jubulani, a football that flew with all the grace and aerodynamic precision of an inflated condom, we hadn't seen any decent goals, previously world-class players were becoming visibly enraged as each simple pass went 10 yards awry and, on top of that, there were the vuvuzelas to contend with. What could set the atmosphere for a match quite like the sound of a million angry hornets taking over a stadium?

Like many fans, I'd taken a few weeks off to watch the start of South Africa 2010 and, by the third day, that was becoming an increasingly pointless waste of holiday time. The football seemed to get worse, the sound of the vuvuzela had become almost painfully unbearable – although not as painful, or as unbearable, as the pointy beards who thought these cacophonous bugles were some intrinsic part of the local culture – and the whole tournament was in danger of collapsing under the weight of its own crapulence before it had even moved out of the group stages.

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