Less conservative, more goals
Miroslav Klose (AFP)
Cape Town - The Soccer World Cup is days away and before we feast on a month of ball chasing and hopefully less overly compact defending can we predict a tournament with more attacking flare and less drooling conservative football?
Let's face it, the beautiful game has progressed and football has changed. Tactics has deterred the game with teams playing a more conservative brand of football. We have seen it with Chelsea this past season on many occasions opting to “park the bus” but can we just leave bus and play some entertaining football?
Statistic shows that there has been a decline in previous SWC since 1998. Will this year’s tournament see lesser goals than the previous competitions?
Previous SWC stats
When France played host and won their first ever SWC scoring 14 goals in all their games, the tournament surpassed the goal tally record with 171 being scored in which Croatian player Davor Šuker scoring six goals as the tournaments top scorer. Four years later South Korea and Japan co-hosted the event. Brazil’s 2-0 win over Germany saw them being crowned World champions for the fifth time and racked in eighteen goals the entire tournament with legendary Ronaldo getting the golden boot scoring eight goals. Ten goals less than the previous tournament the first Asian SWC saw 161 goals hit the back of the net.
Although Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt on Marco Materazzi was one of the biggest highlights of the 2006 SWC hosted by Germany, it also saw Italy sneak a fourth SWC win with twelve goals being scored by the Azzuris in the entire tournament. The Fifa tournament saw 147 goals scored with German Miroslav Klose reaching the top of the goal scoring list with five goals. 2010 saw South Africa get a nine out of ten from Fifa President Sepp Blatter for hosting the world event. Spain won its first crown and it took the world number one team eight goals and one loss to claim the gold in a tournament which saw 145 goals scored.
Hungary still holds the record for the most goals scored in a single tournament with twenty seven in the 1954 edition.
Miroslav Klose has the opportunity to surpass Ronaldo in the goal scoring tally with Klose only being a goal behind the Brazilian legend on 14.
171 goals is the most goals scored in an entire tournament can Brazil 2014 be the year to see the record be broken?
What to expect
The record that Ronaldo is holding can either be matched or surpassed by Klose however Germany are in a very tough group and Klose being the only out-an-out striker it will be interesting to see how Joachim Loew will utilise the 36 year old.
The tournament has the potential to surpass 171 goals but I expect lesser goals than the previous SWC and reckon that 135 goals will be scored.
There are many goal scoring machines in this world event but who will get the golden boot? I’ve narrowed it down to five potential candidates to get the most goals in the tournament.
Who to win it?
The SWC draw has left us with some pondering to do. Each group is tough and the various nations are going to have to play out of there skins to reach the knockout stages.
Mourinho predicted his home country Portugal to reach the final along with England. The question I will raise is can Ronaldo shine having come from a severe troubling injury? The Ballon d'Or winner has had a fantastic season with Real Madrid helping Los Blancos to the Le Decima in Portugal last month.
You certainly cannot count Brazil out; the pressure is on them to win the tournament. Much has not been spoken about Italy or Netherlands but I feel they have a real shout. Spain and Germany pose the best challenge. Spain having won it four years ago will see them be favourite and if they win there group they will breath a sigh of relief as Netherlands will most likely face Brazil in the Round 16 assuming the host nation finishes top in their group.
If it all goes to plan and Argentina wins there group they will get a much easier way to the semi-final, where they are likely to come up against Germany.
So who is going to win it? I’ve no clue but I am hoping there will be many jaw dropping moments.
Am I playing it too safe on not giving an out-an-out winner? Have your say in the comment section on who you think will win the gold.
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Follow Tashreeq Vardien on twitter: @tash23vard