Well, I just managed to last through a full 90 minutes of a World Cup football game for the first time this tournament. England 2 Tunisia 1. Yay. The atmosphere at work tomorrow will be positive and productive, and there won’t be too much complaining about the rugby tackle Kane suffered which didn’t lead to a penalty.
One good thing: Football has finally joined the 21st century and is using video replay for penalty and goal decisions. More than 25 years after Cricket did so. Not that it makes that much difference, or that it’s being used consistently – from the evidence of this match, and the France / Australia one earlier, they still have a lot to learn about how to make the most of it. But at least it’s one step closer to a more enjoyable game. But there’s still a long way to go.
So here are my suggestions, as I’m obviously a world-class authority on the sport, and my opinions should be heeded forthwith:
- If a player is judged to have dived in an effort to win a free kick / penalty, it’s a yellow card offence.
- A yellow card is penalised by a 10-minute suspension from the field. Two yellow cards remain a red.
- Let the video team be headed by an official, experienced referee.
- If a player argues with the referee, play moves 10m closer to the goal. If the player argues again, it’s a yellow card.
That should remove the acting, pretending to be mortally wounded, the rolling on the ground, the time wasting, and the endless remonstrating. I mean, one of the Tunisian players held up the game for about two minutes after getting a ball kicked into his ribs. Seriously?
Actually, here’s an extra remedy: All footballers should be forced to play 80 minutes of rugby at the beginning of each season to find out what it’s like to play a real contact sport. That might reduce the amount of time they spend as cry-babies.
Edited: And another idea, as a tweak of something that was tried in the 1994 World Cup: any player remaining on the ground for more than 10 seconds after the whistle has blown will be required to leave the field: either to be substituted (if they’re genuinely injured) or to undergo a mandatory 5-minute medical examination (to ensure that they’re not).