Herewith the comments of Barney Ronay, when asked about the World Cup opening ceremony – a few lines that made me laugh on the Guardian football podcast this morning:
These things are always atrocious, aren’t they? They’re a complete waste of time.
They featured the largest tarpaulin I’ve ever seen; the entire pitch covered in this thing that’s just going to be rolled up and thrown away. And of course, the wretched Pitbull. He was predictably terrible and pointless. Which was a bit of a shame because I quite liked the other bits, the walking trees and things, because Brazil’s quite a weird country and that was quite weird.
And here, because I know you want my considered opinions on those three key refereeing decisions in the game that followed, are my considered opinions on those three key refereeing decisions in the game that followed:
- Neymar’s elbow: Deliberate (check how he looked at Modric before they clashed). An “orange card”: worse than yellow, could have easily been red. Referee bottled it.
- The Brazil penalty: If that was a penalty, everything else over the next month is also going to be a penalty. Player trips over tuft of grass on dodgy Manaus pitch: penalty. Captains shake hands before the game: penalty. I just tapped the space bar: penalty. Pathetic. Decision looked as dodgy as a Nigerian own-goal.
- The disallowed Croatian goal. Fair enough, I thought. The striker had his arm over the keeper’s shoulder as they jumped for the ball. It was a foul.
So, some flair, some controversy, some goals and a completely crap opening ceremony. Given that there won’t be any more opening ceremonies, I think we could be in for a cracker of a World Cup.