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Let’s put it clearly: sports are not about intelligence. Intelligence can, at most, help sometimes, but it’s not really where the emphasis is.

But, on the other hand, it never ceases to amaze me how much of a dumb sport soccer is. It might be worse in Brazil than in Europe or elsewhere, I don’t know. But, here, the thing is gross.

And I don’t mean the average IQ of the players. I mean, it is common sense that no soccer player ever said anything worth listening, but that does not constitute a dumb sport, as, you know, you don’t hear players talking.

First: rarely you see anywhere else so big a concentration of useless, meaningless, senseless statistics. “The last time team X won against team Y playing under rain with an Mexican arbiter was in 1967.” What?

Second: everyone knows that soccer is completely luck-based. Any two teams not extremely disparate will win or lose based on the whims of the day. It does not mean anything, really, that a team won, it is equally likely that next time it will be the other way round. And, well, this is not a bad thing, it means that the competitions are balanced and that the players have a consistent level. But it is strange that most everyone just pretends it is not so. Competitions without a final one-on-one match are criticized. It’s getting more common to have two-games finals, which is somehow better, but the number-of-goals tie-break rule make it effectively amount to one game with twice the time.

Third: in general, soccer strategies are more geared towards defending against creative offensive techniques than in attacking in unpredictable ways.

Last but not least, the unreasonable importance attributed to subjective factors. When a team is winning it is said to be “liking” the game. The importance of moral attributes of players (such as how much one wants to win or how he regards his adversaries) is vastly overvalued. And so is the importance of individual talent, where the best players assume hero-like stature. Under such circumstances it is understandable that most players are braggers. And there is also an completely unrealistic depiction about the relationship between fans and the team, which probably is good business and helps in keeping some forms of social control.

Obviously, that is not meant as an objective analysis of soccer, but merely as letting out a personal grudge.


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