With match day 5 action currently underway in South Africa, the tournament is starting to garner a reputation for the costly decisions the coaches are making rather than for the goals and exciting play some of the nations are exhibiting.
So far, the three nations that have impressed me by producing play worthy of the tournament’s standards are, South Korea, Ghana, and Germany. Hosts South Africa also put up a very spirited fight to earn a draw against Mexico (and i give them full credit for this ) however, it is South Korea, Ghana and Germany who proved that they mean business.
Favourites England and Italy seem to be reaping the fruits of disastrous decisions made by their coaches. So are Nigeria, Cameroon and France. If you watched yesterday’s game between Japan and Cameroon you most definitely know what i am talking about.
I personally hold Paul Le Guen responsible for Cameroon’s undeserving 1-0 loss to Japan. Whatever inspired him to experiment with a relatively unknown squad against Japanese is something we will never know and something which might have cost them a ticket into the second round.
Leaving out experience in the form of Kameni, Alexander Song, Iddrissou, Achille Emana and Geremi Njitap, Le Guen took a huge gamble by fielding players who to be honest i only heard of yesterday with the exception of Mbia. It’s not that Ekoto, Matip and Stephen Mbia played an awful game, no, its just that they were not ripe for this kind of setting.
Le Guen had all the time in the world to experiment with his squad and he picked the worst stage, their opening group game. It will now be very difficult for them to progress to the second round . Fabio Capello’s decision to field Green instead of James cannot also be excused. Green’s blunder’s cost the English dearly however, the blame lands squarely on Capello.
I cannot even imagine what would happen if they were to exist the tournament in the group stages. Again this is another case of wrong decision making by a coach.
Nigeria’s Lars Lagerback also opted to bench the country’s brightest talent Peter Odemwingie for an entire half and i know he is probably thinking just how costly that decision was. Domenech’s exclusion of Benzema, Dunga’s exclusion of Ronaldinho, Pato and Adriano, Lippi’s exclusion of Toni, Rossi, and Grosso goes to show you just how much these teams are suffering or will suffer.
It remains to be seen how these team will recover from such disappointing setbacks.