The vuvuzelas are too loud. The Jabulanis are too light and round. The altitudes are too high. The weather is too cold. The grass is too slippery.
After just the first round of games in the 2010 Fifa World Cup, some of the fancied teams have a ready list of reasons to explain their indifferent performance. Everything is at fault, it seems, except the fact that many favoured sides have played uninspiring, even boring football.
This is just a playground version of the unconventional wars being fought in the world today. Well-equipped, well-trained forces are being frustrated by smaller, more committed outfits fighting to survive.
Eventually the big boys will stop complaining and start winning, but only after bleeding heavily. Brazil, Argentina or Spain could all still lift the world cup. But not before North Korea, Switzerland or Ivory Coast make them pay dearly for complacency.