2010 FIFA World Cup: The World's Greatest Sporting Event Comes Up Short

George MarkoulakisContributor IJuly 9, 2010

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 27:  Mexico players complain to Referee Roberto Rosetti  that the first Argentina goal was offside, during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Argentina and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 27, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Africa's first World Cup can be deemed disappointing, but certainly not boring.

Most disappointment stems from the topics people have discussed pertaining to the 2010 World Cup.

There has been a significant amount of controversy and talking points surrounding the 2010 World Cup, whether you look at the vuvuzela debate, the refereeing blunders, or the negative tactics that many coaches have favored.

That is exactly why this World Cup has been disappointing!

The talking points do not include great games we have seen or astonishing performances on the pitch, but most discussion includes problems that don't pertain to the players' performances.

Unfortunately, much focus has been put onto the referees.

Prior to this event, I was behind FIFA in their decision to not implement any sort of instant replay or goal-line technology. I, like FIFA, felt that human error was one of the many characteristics that makes football so unique. 

But the 2010 World Cup has persuaded me to believe that the officials need some sort of assistance. I simply hate to see the officials' poor decisions overshadowing the beautiful play that the beautiful game entails.

I do not support any significant breaks in action, like many American sports, to help the referee make a decision, but I feel that the goal-line dispute in the England vs. Germany match, along with the horrific offside call in the Argentina vs. Mexico match, both scream for change. 

It is not only those two incidents, though.

Diving has turned into a real problem that calls for an effective solution. It has been gut-wrenching to see awful calls made in favor of the diver, many of which have been match-changing or momentum-swinging decisions.

There is also the officiating in general, which has resulted in bad call after bad call. The only time I can remember commending the referees was after the majority of the first round of matches, but after that, the officiating has been a horror show.

Then, there's the vuvuzela question. Should they stay or should they go?

Before the tournament, I felt that the instruments were part of the atmosphere and were unique to Africa's first World Cup, which convinced me that they deserved to stay. 

As the tournament progressed, more and more people complained about the terrible "buzzing", which I felt was exaggerated (especially after ESPN implemented a filter).

One thing I do fear is that maybe the vuvuzelas are taking away from the game.

On-field communication has become increasingly difficult and many mistakes have been made due to communication errors. Hopefully the vuvuzelas have not been taking away from the game, because I still feel that they deserves to remain in football.

As for the much-debated Jabulani, I feel it is a load of crap and hardly deserves mentioning. The best players in the world should be able to adapt to a ball after significant training time.

Lastly, there are the tactics implemented by the coaches.

For the most part, the approaches to matches have been negative, as teams look to "not lose" instead of going for the win. 

That negative approach makes the playing field amongst teams seem level.

It has almost become typical to play with two holding midfielders, as the 4-2-3-1 formation seems to have dethroned the 4-4-2 as the typical formation in international football. The 4-2-3-1 has become so common that three of the four teams that made the semifinals use it (Germany, Spain, Holland).

In my opinion, coaches are showing too much respect to their opposition and feel content sitting back and absorbing pressure. 

The Germany vs. Spain match is a perfect example.

Joachim Low obviously felt that his side was inferior to the Spanish and did not have the same confidence that Gerardo Martino of Paraguay had against Spain to press high.

As the match progressed, it was evident that Low's tactics were failing. Low was too stubborn to change formation, as he stuck with his 4-2-3-1 even without a suitable replacement for the suspended Thomas Muller. 

In contrast, the coach I can commend for not being afraid to throw numbers forward in an effort to "win" rather than "not lose" is Marcelo Bielsa.

Although Chile did not score too many goals, the team frequently showed no fear and Bielsa's attacking mentality was satisfying to many spectators after watching defensive football from other squads.

I am not sure whether modern international football has become defensive-minded or whether it is that coaches do not have the confidence in their squads to play free-flowing football, but the negative tactics have surely contributed to a disappointing World Cup.

Of course, there will always be controversy, but there has been more in this World Cup, which frustrates most football purists more than the casual viewer.

Like I said, no one can rightfully deem Africa's first World Cup as "boring." But the talking points consist of subjects outside of beautiful, positive football.