WC2014 France 3 – 0 Honduras

Crunch Time! The Hondurans demonstrate their 'robust' tackling style on Pauvre Petit Pogba

Crunch Time! The Hondurans demonstrate their ‘robust’ tackling style on Pauvre Petit Pogba

Oooof! That Was Painful

Well it’s not as if we hadn’t had some kind of an early warning about this. Engerland’s ‘friendly’ with the Hondurans gave ample insight into their sadly not unique playground brutality, not least when the Ox was taken out of the tournament after a particularly petulant encounter.  And while some may pine for the era of Chopper Harris and the legitimate ‘welcome’ from behind, this kind of behaviour has no place in the world of dilettante multi-millionaire playboy soccerstars.

While there might, just, be a case for shoulder to shoulder action, à la the Chiellini/Gerrard penalty area action, there is no place for the sort of kicking, dead-legging, stamping physicality of the Hondurans. It’s something that has been successfully removed from European football thanks to the Champions League, but which seems to be alive and, literally, kicking in Southern American football.

No surprise then that the two sending offs so far have both been from the Americas. It seems to reflect the unsavory side to South/Central American football, the view that cheating is somehow ‘clever’ and that physically incapacitating tackles are somehow masculine and worthy.

The French demonstrated the simplest way of dealing with this. First, you brutally stuff your opponents, dominating them in possession and comfortably winning the game. Second, you ensure your opponents have at least one man sent off (goodbye the thoroughly thuggish Wilson Palacios). And, thirdly, when everything has been done and dusted and the game is won, send on your second striker to put his elbows in the faces of your two central defenders, as if to say, “we’re happy to play it your way if that’s what you want”.

On the evidence of this, we won’t be seeing the Hondurans after the group phase. The Swiss won’t put up with their tactics and the Ecuadorians will beat them too. France, however, have set down a nice benchmark for the future. Sadly it doesn’t look like they’re going to implode like they have on the last two World Cups.

Things We Have Learned

  1. Kicking isn’t class
  2. The French have got themselves together
  3. The Hondurans will run out of players if they keep this up
  4. Pauvre Petit Pogba is a very lucky boy

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