So while your mind is on footie……

There seems to be a nature/nurture issue here: Scotland and Denmark have similar populations, as do Uruguay and Wales. But only two of them are among the WC last sixteen in Russia.

Answers please on a Fray Bentos pie or a side of Danish bacon addressed to me. Thank you.

Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

15 thoughts on “So while your mind is on footie……”

  1. What I don’t understand is why the UK doesn’t field a combined team as world class players who are household names appear rarely in the ‘other’ teams, and even then it seems only one at a time. For example, Gareth Bale (Wales) is the only current one; George Best (Northern Ireland) and Sir Kenny Dalglish (Scotland) were others. By all means have the home nations competing in a domestic competition, but having a wider pool of players for internationals can only enhance the UK’s collective chances.

    Same goes for rugby come to think of it, just like the British Lions but without the ‘Irish’ bit.


  2. I suggest both nature and nurture have a large part to play. If you look at the very high proportion of non Anglo Saxon players in both the Premiership and the England team, it seems clear that people of West African heritage exceed quota-based expectations. On the other hand, Africa consistently fails to make an impact on the international scene. In the meantime, Europe is overly represented in the final 16 of this year’s world cup.

    There is a third element that I believe plays a huge impact on the success and failure of international teams and that is the involvement of the governing bodies. As Will Carling once said of the RFU, they were a bunch of ‘old farts’. And he was right. The politics, self-interests and bureaucracy of sports administrators can make or break a team. South Africa, with it political intervention at every level, demonstrates that better than most countries. Given their resources and passion for the sport, South Africa should be every bit as good as the All Blacks. Instead they are a shadow of their former selves.

  3. Janus: Uruguay, like Argentina, is a European dumping ground. They’re from the same basic stock as the Italians, French, Germans and Spaniards and brought much of that with them.

  4. So the evidence is pointing to nature! There are some genetic markers that predispose many guys and gals to want to kick round balls, feign injury, obsess about coiffures and argue with authority of any kind. Innit?

  5. My mind is not on footie and hasn’t been since our sons gave up playing (and I very thankfully gave up washing the team’s kit at regular intervals). I do wish England well however. But I was very interested to listen to the exchanges in Danish between the tennis player Caroline Wozniaki and her father/coach at the Eastbourne tournament. Odd language, Danish. All I could make out was the equivalent of “But Caroline…”. Her responses seemed to be more on the lines of “Go away and let me get on with it!” There would seem to be a mixture of nature and nurture there, as is the case with the Murray brothers.

  6. Sheona, indeed, the plastic Dane Caroline enjoys a grown-up relationship with her dad/coach.

  7. I have to confess, Janus, that I watched the second half of the England match last night and cheered loudly at the end. But as for the behaviour of the Colombian players … was that nature or nurture?

  8. Spending a lot of time these days with under fives, I can confirm that the human default state is feral, harnessed only by social reins – whose extent and success vary from culture to culture. The Colombians seem to have missed a few lessons.

  9. PS Sheona, the feral tendency is likely to be on display on Friday p.m. when Uruguay play! Street skills and street manners!

    I was amused to read that Maradona – the hand of God himself – is accusing England of diving in the box.

  10. Yes, Janus, I don’t understand why the drunken cokehead Maradona, whose team has already gone home, should have attached himself to Colombia. Presumably he will be there for the Uruguay game too.

  11. Sheona – The tubby, cheating, convicted druggie, as a high profile (and obviously still) consumer of Columbia’s principal export, is hardly likely to bite the hand that supplies feeds him.

    Given the murder in the nineties of a Columbian defender for scoring an own goal which got his team eliminated from the World Cup, and the current death threats issued back home against at least one of the swarthy thugs on display last Saturday, it is not surprising that the Columbians play as if their lives depended on it. They might.


  12. Sipu made the point that the politics of sport also affects the results on the field of play. And doesn’t Wimbledon prove that?! While so many countries consistently produce top fifty, even top twenty players, Britain has a handful – and the only one still in contention today is likely to fail! Why? It can only be the work of the ‘old farts’ at the LTA.

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