As a tournament, there is no equal to the World Cup. It’s a 30-day magical mystery ride for teams, players, fans and TV viewers at home.
That said, however, I disagree with many that this is the best tournament in years. The first round matches arguably have been the strongest in recent memory with some very entertaining games. However, the second round, quarter finals and semi-finals have been anti-climatic. The stars didn’t show up. 4-5-1 formations have been used too frequently. The standard of officiating has been disappointing, and there have been too few goals.
Consider this unpopular opinion, though: I believe the Champions League is more entertaining than the World Cup. Gulp, I’ve said it. Yes, I know. It’s sacrilegious. With so much of an international flavor in the top teams these days, clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea, AC Milan, Manchester United, Juventus and others have become “all-star” teams featuring the best players in the world on one team.
Take this year’s Champions League final, for instance. Read through these line-ups and remember how many of them had a great impact during this year’s World Cup:
Arsenal’s line-up was: Jens Lehmann (Germany), Sol Campbell (England), Ashley Cole (England), Emmanuel Eboue (Ivory Coast), Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast), Gilberto Silva (Brazil), Francesc Fabregas (Spain), Aleksander Hleb (Belarus), Freddy Ljungberg (Sweden), Robert Pires (France) and Thierry Henry (France).
Barcelona, meanwhile, lined up as follows: Victor Valdes (Spain), Edmilson (Brazil), Marquez (Mexico), Olequer (Spain), Puyol (Spain), Deco (Portugal), Giuly (France), Van Bommel (Netherlands), Van Bronckhorst (Netherlands), Ronaldinho (Brazil) and Eto’o (Cameroon).
It’s not just the “all-star” aspect of the tournament. As a whole, the Champions League matches appear to be played at a faster pace. Plus, the matches are played during the “prime” of the season rather than post-season when players are physically exhausted after enduring approximately 60 matches for their club.
What’s your opinion?