Monthly Archives: July 2010

World Cup 2010: Looking back

Spanish Triumph
Spain triumphed in the end, though they could have played a little more attacking football in the tournament. Though Netherlands also had their chances in the final, Spain played better and looked more civilised in an unusually rough match for a final. Iniesta crowned a glorious goal off the pass of our own Fabregas who played in the final,although only for a few minutes. Iniesta, Xavi, Villa, Casillas all had a good tournament and capped their european victory with the World Cup. A generation of young players are coming through and they will be strong favourites for the next Euros too.

Spain - Champions

South African hospitality
First of all, credit to South Africa for hosting a glitch free tournament. The vuvuzelas were maddening, but were unique to this edition of the World Cup and will be remembered for a long time to come. The crowds could have come out in more numbers, but nevertheless, it was a class act for this African country. Their team also did decent for their capabilities though they became the first host nation not to qualify for the 2nd round. But, well done South Africa! The 64 matches produced 145 goals at an avg of 2.26 per game. Not bad.

Germans impressed
Yet again, the Germans finished 3rd in a tournament in which they played well. They scored four each against a fighting Australia, a pathetic England and a out-of -sorts Argentina, who were brilliant till they reached that stage. The set of youngsters in this team will be the biggest challengers to the Spanish team in the next Euros. Klose scored in the World cup as usual, but it was his striking partner, Mueller, who stole the show with his scoring as well as assists. Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger were superb and the back four and goalie were solid till their semifinals. The best thing about this team is the way they play, the attacking style was one of the best in this World Cup. Hope Leow will keep up the tempo and they will deservedly win a tournament soon.

Forlan – The MVP

It is very rare to find strikers who are good with both feet, who can score from free-kicks and who lead their team by example. Diego Forlan is one such gem of a player and rightfully the most valuable player of this World Cup. He was instrumental in taking his team to the semifinals. He was ably assisted by a team which wanted to make a point at the world stage. Uruguay was an example of team spirit and not of individual stars.

Forlan - MVP

South American Dominance
With South America contributing 4 teams in the quarter finals, questions were raised about the continental berth allocations by
FIFA. For once the Europeans took a backseat, though they crowded the semi-final stage, by upstaging some of the European teams, teams from South America, especially Uruguay and Paraguay have shown to the world that there are teams other than Brazil and Argentina who can hold the South American torch. Not to mention, Mexico and USA who both had a commendable show in this World Cup.

Slovakia, US, Japan, Korea and the undefeated New Zealand

There were a few teams which impressed me from the low-ranked teams in this World Cup. Slovakia is right there for fighting it out against the mighty Italians and beating them. Credit also to US to put on a gutsy performance despite being disappointed. The Asian teams Japan and Korea got to the second round and played decent football, I am sure there is a lot that these two teams have learned which will go a long way in the progress of their country’s football. And New Zealand was the only undefeated team in this edition of the World Cup. How strange is that?

Brazil and Argentina – Two different styles, both succumb

Argentina and Brazil were the favourites when the World Cup started. Both playing under ex-players, Brazil under the defensive minded Dunga and the Argentinians under the great Maradona. Argentina was definitely the more attractive side with a full out attack and a very bad defence. Brazil looked rock solid till about 60 minutes into their match against Holland and then they lost the plot to some brilliance from the Dutch. The Argentinians were ripped apart by the skillful Germans, no complaints on that.

Italy disappoint and France degrade

Last years finalists crashed out of the World Cup in the group stage itself. Italians didn’t look like they had a good team in the first place and age caught up with them. France had all sorts of problems even before the World Cup started. Differences with the coach and his staff, players boycotting training and what not. It was a shame to see this team wither away like this. Now that Henry and Gallas and co have all had their last match in a French jersey, hope some sense will prevail and a new generation of players will take over. All the best to Laurent Blanc.

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World Cup is over

Courtesy: The Hindu 12 July 2010

And Spain won the cup in a boring final…I am travelling and hence will write a detailed post when I get back to Delhi. Meanwhile enjoy this beautiful cartoon by Keshav from The Hindu

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Yugoslavia vs Spain FIFA World Cup 1990

While reading one of the Sports websites on the second semifinals I came across this article on Ivica Osim, who was the coach of a an extraordinarily talented Yugoslavia team which lost to Argentina in the Quarterfinals that year. It was another case of what could have been…

And guess what he mentions the match against Spain, which was probably one of the best World Cup matches I have ever seen in my life…very entertaining and I am glad that I could read this bit…a decent read, putting it up for senti value more than anything else.

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Semi-finals

Germany-Holland-Uruguay-Spain: Who will make the cut? courtesy Getty images & SI

As we reach the penultimate round of this edition of the WC, we have the four contenders for the two slots in the finals fighting it out over tonight and tomorrow night.

So it is

Uruguay vs Netherlands

Germany vs Spain

I hope the underdogs Uruguay do well despite missing Suarez and the Germany vs Spain match will be a classic semifinal. Will write a separate blog after the World Cup on the debacle called Argentina and the surprise result in the Brazil match. Till then enjoy the semifinals wherever you are.

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Quarter Finals

So it is that part of the time when there is a break in the world cup with some heavy-weight quarterfinals lined up over the weekend.

Brazil vs Netherlands – 2 July 2010, 7.30 PM IST

In one of my earlier blogs I had mentioned about the traditional rivalry of these teams and the wonderful matches they have produced before in the earlier editions of the world cup. This one might not be as exciting is what I believe. Looking at the way both teams played so far they have never shown their attacking instincts in the way they traditionally play. So for all we know, it could go to the penalties and then it is anybody’s game. But on paper, the Brazilians are the favs to go through to the next round. Robben is back for the Dutch and that should provide them with a lot of attacking flair, but the efficient way in which the Brazilians have been playing I can’t see them losing to the Dutch.

Uruguay  vs Ghana – 3 July 2010, 12 Midnight IST

The winner of this tie will be a fresh face in the World Cup semis. Ghana would be making it for the first time and Uruguay will be making it there after a long long time. The South American teams have impressed everybody and I still remember reading Tim Vickery’s blog in BBC where he boldly said that this time the South American teams will do really well. Uruguay is one such team and they deserve to be where they are now. With Suarez and Forlan in the front this team will definitely take their chances. I feel this is their time to shine and they will beat Ghana but not by a huge margin. Ghana has done themselves proud by reaching here. Essien was injured even before the World Cup started and Appiah and Muntari also had their troubles throughout the world cup.

Argentina vs Germany – 3 July 2010, 7.30 PM IST

I would not want to see this match now. I love Argentina and wanted them to win this World Cup and the way the Germans have played has also impressed me, so this is a match that is happening too early for me. The Germans are too clinical and might just pack off Argentina but lets hope Messi and gang do a miracle and win this match. As far as I am concerned, Germany would be the favourites knowing how bad the Argentina defence is. Ozil has been a revelation for the Germans and their forwards have also delivered when it mattered. Higuain is competing for the Golden Boot and should be looking to score a goal or two and Messi better break his duck.

Spain vs Paraguay

Riveros, Barrios, Villar, Alcaraz are not players who appear on newspapers in the football columns regularly. But they are the ones who are holding up the Paraguayan flag and ensuring they will bring cheer from the guys if Paraguay win the World Cup. There is a very interesting statistics on the FIFA Statistics page

After keeping Japan at bay, La Albirroja(Paraguay) have now gone a record 327 minutes without conceding a FIFA World Cup goal.

But I think Spain have now reached the mental state of putting it past unheralded opposition and should win this match, but after a bit of struggle. Torres had a few decent touches before he lost steam and was subed. David Villa is the man of all seasons and will soon overtake Raul as Spain top goal-scorer.

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