The 2014 World Cup kicked off on Thursday 12th June and after 2 weeks England are OUT of the tournament following the loss of all three matches within the group stage against Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica. But what does football achieve? To me football seems like only luck can help on the day when some of the world’s best footballers play in the competition and can’t even score or defend. Along with this, some of the highest paid players have roles on teams and don’t even pull their weight and struggle to do the job they’re paid so much to do.

Leading up to the World Cup the England team were under scrutiny and speculation as to who will play, with immense pressure built for them to succeed. Now it looks like they will be coming home early after losing their first two matches of the tournament. The team have tried hard against Italy and Uruguay but with the likes of Mario Balotelli and Louis Suarez England couldn’t manage to draw or score more goals than their opposition after numerous attempts. Injuries have been acquired, including England’s physio Gary Lewin after Daniel Sturridge (#9) scored the team’s first goal of the tournament during the celebration.

In past years there have been problems due to footballers spitting on the pitch and how this can influence youngsters to do the same in football practise or on the street. In 2004 after the Euros, The Keep Britain Tidy charity produced a campaign to stop littering by showing images of ‘repulsive’ acts which spitting was considered to be. It was said that young people look up to footballers as idols or heroes which in turn can influence their lives in many ways. This still occurs today in 2014 and as I’ve watched the World Cup coverage, footballers still spit. There’s no known reason for it but it produces a picture of unprofessionalism and rudeness. The England team have spat and it isn’t pleasant and creates a bad impression on the players and country. The media broadcasted the story at the time, but in recent years the fact of footballers spitting seems to have become the accepted norm, which contrasts with the Euros where they came under a lot of scrutiny for it.

In comparison to 2004, the media give footballers some slack for the lives they lead. They portray them to the younger generations as living the high life with fancy materialistic items such as flash cars and yachts, a celeb partner and lots of money. This is seen by you and me and reveals both the good and bad side of the sport. On the positives, being a footballer is their job and the bonus is the money they earn but on the other hand, young people see this and think their lives are perfect. But in reality, footballers can be affected by all the normal things us ordinary people experience in everyday life, the difference being that we can keep these problems to ourselves but professional footballers will have their family and money troubles or just the littlest thing, plastered across the front page of top newspapers and magazines for  all to see. This can lead to bitterness, aggression and tears amongst the footballers, their fans, the general public and the media. This can make a bad name for the sport, which a lot of the time the media have themselves aided.

With rivalry and violence increasing on the pitch it reflects badly on the younger generation who look up to footballers. There are many disputes between players on the pitch which most of the time result in yellow or red cards except this doesn’t really solve the problem. Young people are influenced by footballers especially those who want to become professional football players when they are older or have an interest in the sport. Violence is shown to be OK, which it isn’t, for the vast numbers of people who watch football. The latest disagreement in the World Cup occurred in the match between Uruguay and Italy; it’s believed that Louis Suarez bit Giorgio Chiellini as the two competed for a free-kick. The Italian player fell to the floor and Suarez followed in tow. As it was an ‘off-the-ball’ incident, Suarez wasn’t sent off or booked but FIFA could punish him.

What I believe is unfair is the amount of money footballers are paid and how much allegedly they are worth. In many cases these footballers cannot score goals or defend, and there are many who view their earnings as outrageous. The volumes of people in the world that suffer from having not enough money for food, clean water and shelter, and then we have the footballers earning millions a year. In a week some players earn over £100,000 which amounts to a ridiculously high salary in a year, and this is excluding the extra earned for playing on more than one team or participating in advertising campaigns and other forms of media.

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