Alec Swann - Masters of their own demise

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

If neither team tries to win, do they both deserve to lose?

A ridiculous comment I know but a cynical mind dreams up cynical thoughts when watching the kind of dreary fare served up by the Netherlands and Argentina in the second World Cup semi-final.

In fact, I’m not entirely sure why I sat through half an hour of such flair deprivation given that a re-run of a Grand Designs was being given an airing on an alternative channel.

Perhaps it was a case of being spoiled after the humiliation Brazil were awarded by an excellent German outfit, after all why should anybody expect rich entertainment all of the time, and maybe this piece isn’t appreciating the tactical battle that was being played out.

But one way or the other, it was absolute dross.

Two sides, full of world class talent, doing everything in their power not to get beat.

Yes, part of sport, and especially tournament sport, is about playing the format and if the choice is to take a punt in a penalty shoot-out then so be it yet that smacks of lunacy.

Of all the chances to take, backing your own team to prevail from 12 yards when there is 120 minutes of opportunity preceding it always strikes as baffling.

Run through sides in the group stage, as Holland did to Spain, and then rein everything in when you would think a slightly more adventurous approach might bear more fruit.

The Germans showed exactly what could be done when tactical awareness collides with a willingness to attack whereas the Dutch and Argentinians served up a good example of the product of tactical nous coming into contact with the opposite.

I don’t actually mind a shoot-out as the tension makes for a good spectacle yet such was the lack of interest, I’d forgotten to even tune back in.

More’s the pity as it’s been a decent competition but some things just aren’t worthy of attention.

Now back to the aforementioned poser and whether or not defeat was deserved.

If it can’t be happen to both then one will have to do, so Holland, you got what precisely your actions warranted.