Fail Britannia and other disappointments

The failure of Italy to advance past the group stage in the World Cup was one of the top 10...

The failure of Italy to advance past the group stage in the World Cup was one of the top 10 disappointments of the tournament. (AFP PHOTO/FILIPPO MONTEFORTE)

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:12 PM ET

JOHANNESBURG -- In a tournament that so far has produced more disappointments than satisfaction, here is a Top 10 list of failed expectations.

10. Brazil - - There will be no samba in the streets until manager Dunga gets fired. The five-time World Cup champs never did hit their full stride. Dunga will be remembered as dulling down the Brazilian side. That might not have mattered much but when Brazil went out to the Netherlands 2-1, he will be forever remembered for taking the samba and making it into a waltz.

9.Ivory Coast -- This was the team supposed to be a threat for Africa, not Ghana. But once Didier Drogba was injured, the heart seemed to go out of it. It's difficult to believe with all the great players the Ivory Coast had, losing one player would take them out of the World Cup.

8. Quality of play -- Not very good. There is hope that the Brazil-Netherlands game is a sign of things to come. But until then, you'd be hard-pressed to pick five memorable games. Please, please, let's find some passion and fire for the last few games.

7. Kaka -- He may be a great player but Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite needs to show a little more than he showed. Without the Brazilian old guys who weren't selected by Dunga, this was a chance for Kaka to become a leader for Brazil. He didn't do it. He is very stylish and talented, but this isn't a fashion show.

6. Italy -- Mama mia, it was bad. Not a lot was expected. But it was disappointing because it didn't produce a lot of good moments. One would have expected the Italians to have at least advanced in a weak group. If only the Italians had played the entire tournament as they did the final 15 minutes against Slovakia.

5. Fernando Torres -- The Spanish striker was hurt going into the World Cup and he hasn't had time to play himself into shape. But Torres has only been able to go in brief spurts and hasn't looked as if he has much fire. The Spanish are fortunate David Villa has stepped up and delivered a champions' response. Torres has three games to redeem himself or no big contract for him.

4. Wayne Rooney -- He was a miserable sot. Going into the tournament, the England forward was being hailed as one of the best strikers in the world. He went home having done nothing and being labeled as moody and truculent. England manager Fabio Capello may not have used Rooney properly but great players somehow find a way to respond. Rooney's response was unintelligible.

3. France -- France 2010, soon to be a soap opera coming to a television near you. It is difficult to comprehend how the 2006 World Cup champions could have fallen so far. The team has been slowly coming apart at the seams with Raymond Domenech in charge but the way it imploded was impressive. Players were arguing with each other, with the manager, with their own association. The players went on strike and their own physical therapist got into a battle with a player. Their performance may be a first for this level of competition and not in a good way.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo -- Once again, the world's most expensive player flopped. You could understand if he had been taken out of the game by great defending but when the going got tough, he became part of the scenery. As usual, he refused to accept any responsibility. It was either the coach, the referee or something else. Hey Cris, it was you. You were brutal.

1. England -- England rates the No. 1 spot because it came in rated as a Top 3 favourite in the World Cup and left without showing anyone why. England was terrible in its group stage and flamed out badly against a young German side in the first knockout round. In the process, it provided little entertainment and only brief moments of quality football. Fail Britannia!

morris.dallacosta@sunmedia.ca


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