Okay, it’s been a few days since the German drubbing of host-country Brazil in the semi-final of FIFA’s World Cup 2014. FIFA has long touted their support of fair play, particularly at its flagship event. They call it the Beautiful Game, and some supporters have been known to look down their noses at sports that involve physical contact, as if those who participate are somehow less than human. For the introduction of players before each game in Brazil, players are accompanied by “mascots”, not over-sized furry characters, but boys and girls who are obviously thrilled to be escorting their role models.
But tell me, what part of fair play, role modeling, and Beautiful involves running up the score to 7 goals?
Given the defensive nature of the game, by the time Germany had taken a quick early three goal lead, the game was pretty much over. With a five goal difference at the halfway point, no one was seriously thinking Brazil could come back. I think once the score hit 4-0 the thing to do was put any sort of offensive foray oh hold and just kill-off time. Teams have been known to do this with the scored tied and hoping to survive to penalty kicks where as they say anything can happen; so I have to believe the Germans could have gone into a serious defense shell and held the Brazilians to a 4-0, or even a 4-1 final score.
It seemed to me to show a distinct lack of class to run-up the score; Brazil, like Germany, has a long and successful football heritage. A little respect was in order. Would an NFL team with a similar lead continue an aerial attack, throwing long passes into the end-zone? Or would they run the ball and play out the clock? Would a baseball team up by seven or eight runs steal bases? An NHL team with a healthy lead would concentrate almost solely on defense.
Of course there are those times when teams, or players, try to rub their opponents nose in it by running up the score. But usually there is a price to be paid for such unsportsmanlike conduct, if not at the moment, then some time in the future. So perhaps members of the German National team, once they return to their club teams in other countries, will be getting a message.
But then maybe not, after all, it is the Beautiful Game.