My son (now eight and a half) has become an avid reader, so I have grown cautious in sharing impressions about him. Not unlike other kids his age, he adores Christian Ronaldo (CR7); consequently I have increased my admiration for Messi. It's not a question of identification: my boy is rather tall and his natural talent is at goalie (or basketball) [and I at bench-warming]. For him, the world cup so far has been a celebration of Ronaldo's skills [and Modric's], although Messi's heroics last night have redressed the balance a bit.
But I also have noticed that he finds the world cup games a bit boring--this despite the fact that there have almost been no scoreless and dull draws (France-Denmark excepted [this reminded me a bit of that shameful Germany/Austria match of you my youth]--but he missed that), many spectacular goals, and thrilling finishes. That he finds the games boring does not surprise me not just because ninety minutes of attention is a long time for a boy his age (or anybody), but also because even when he is playing his own matches I can see his mind wonder off at times.
It's not that he is bored with football as such. He is constantly quizzing my knowledge of the game, can rattle off any statistic about players, is completely up to date on the transfer-market, and is regularly caught practicing his skill-moves when he is supposed to brush his teeth (undoubtedly to the chagrin of the people living below us).
His babysit (who has been watching a few of the world cup games with him), a senior, offered an explanation. Your son's experience of football is shaped by fifa18. In the EA Sports world, the flow of the game is different. It's not just compressed, but the very rhythm of the game is altered such that there are no dull moments--you are given the illusion of full control.
I reflected on this a bit. I had already noticed that the probability of winning any game or a series of games is much higher in the EA world (unless you played against others online) than in reality. But it's also centered on play-making (rushes with the ball, skilled moves, and shots on goal). There is enormous amount of regular feeds of modest gratification (goals, wins, skilled play, etc.) in the game world. I wouldn't be surprised if they are timed and calibrated to create some kind of dopamine/reward habits. That is to say, viewed from the point of view of the rules, the EA game is the same game as football or, at least, a good model of it. But viewed from the point of view of experience it is not: not just in virtue of a different kind of embodiment [i ignore this], but also in virtue of the different kind expectations it generates.
By contrast, a lot of the tactics and strategy of a game in real life, even at the highest levels, involve moment away from and off the ball. This movement is easily perceived as fruitless unless you understand the significance of marking (zonal or man-to-man) and the utility of shifting positions to force (marking) decisions on defenders, etc. What makes great teams fascinating to watch is their ability to control the movement and tempo of the game against skilled opposition--Brazil and Spain (who play very differently otherwise) go through periods where they clearly slow down the game before they accelerate it again.
My underlying point here is not to castigate AE games. But the aesthetic and attentiveness it (as well as the youtube fan channels associated with them) generates creates both great familiarity with the strengths and weaknesses of the players and tactics in the real game, and at the time a kind of alienation from the rhythm of a match in real life.
These things are not fixed, of course. My son has been only once to a professional match. If he were to go more frequently, and see the game in its full range from the bleachers in a stadium, he would become more attuned to appreciating the aesthetic of professional tactics, which are in no small part very spatial and not fully appreciated on a TV screen unless one knows to project them onto the screen (which is what I suspect we adults do all the time). I see no reason to doubt that it's fully possible to enjoy both AE Fifa18 and the real game.
But it's also possible that a steady diet of AE Sports FIFA18 (19, etc.) early in life will shape the expectations of kids such that when they become adults -- players and consumers -- they will become a force to reckon with and nudge the rules-making bodies into changes to the rules such that the reallife game will be made to conform to the experiences of the gamer-footballgame.*