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Monday, July 12, 2010


A goal is the only method of scoring in the game of football and the just concluded 2010 FIFA World Cup did leave us Kolkatans, who are known to be crazy about football, yelling "goal-goal-goal" seated in front of our television sets, way past midnight for all this while! And we did get our thrills and chills witnessing the brilliant goals all through the World Cup matches that saw 32 nations fighting for the ultimate honour of emerging the world champions. As much as the exultations, and the ecstatic screams, there were the heavy sighs, the tears and the chuckles too, whenever we witnessed the near misses at scoring the all-important goals.

Like every other World Cup, this time too there were the surprises and the upsets, the controversies and the challenging hurdles, be it for the teams or for individual players, or for the tournament itself. This time the tournament was held in South Africa, the Rainbow Nation - which meant the carnival-like atmosphere at the matches, with the vuvuzela drone making us extra-jubilant or working as an irritant, depending on one's preference. The Jabulani ball that was used in the matches also made headlines as there was much fuss over its unpredictable spin and many blamed it for the deficit of goals.

Our favorite star players like Messi (Argentina), Kaka (Brazil), Rooney (England), Vella (Mexico), Ronaldo (Portugal), and Torres (Spain) couldn't shine to their fullest. They left us fans disappointed. Many of the players seemed jaded, especially after their earlier stints in the various league matches prior to the World Cup.

However, Vincente del Bosque's Spain are deservedly the new world champs.
In the final match, the Euro champions, Spain, beat the Netherlands in the extra-time, with the sole goal being scored by Andrés Iniesta. Iker Casillas, the goalkeeper-captain, and his brilliant teammates David Villa, Xabi Alonso, Cesc Fabregas, Puyol, Ramos, Carlos and all others became the Spaniards-in-our-discussions, as football-mania gripped us completely.

Our hearts bled for the ouster of Brazil, Argentina, France, Italy and England.
Kolkata demonstrated its bias for Brazil and Argentina, as Kolkatans largely seem to be polarized between these to nations that boasted of some of the best skilled footballers.

However, Germany's not making it to the finals was perhaps the biggest setback for us in the later stage.
Thomas Mueller (Germany)being crowned the Best Young Player, and also the winner of the Golden Boot, has made us very happy though.

We were also privileged to witness the rise of several stars who became household names overnight; they include Wesley Sneijder (The Netherlands), Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina), Miloslav Klose (Germany), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Arjen Robben (The Netherlands), and Lucio (Brazil) to name just a few.

Other than the players, two names that made it big as headline-hoggers were definitely Howard Webb the English referee, at yesterday's final match for his stern stance as the boys in orange went ugly in their tackle tactics,
and, last, but not the least (one of the BIGGEST, in fact!), Paul - the Oracle octopus, its 100 per cent correct predictions with respect to each game and team made it the biggest international celebrity during the World Cup.

Endnote: It pains me to note, just as many of my fellow citizens, that despite our enthusiasm for football we are still rungs below the international standards of football-playing nations; isn't it high time to re-evaluate our goals as we attempt to develop and groom local talents?


Satyaki said...

In India, barring Kolkata, Goa, and parts of Kerala, we are hardly mad about soccer....
even while the World Cup was in full swing, more Indians tuned in to the proceedings of the Asia Cup cricket tournament than football's biggest event that comes only after four years!
No wonder, all that the officials of the football federations are busy with is making profits for their coffers failing to make it a national priority to hone talents for the national team and making it match up to the international standards.

Sunny said...

I was really upset to see Brazil crash out of the tournament and England's performance was ridiculously dismal.
David Beckham did a lot of cheering from the sidelines for Team England, but in vain! Same goes for all the spirited rallying of Diego Maradona behind his boys, I am sure his enthusiasm wouldn't have gone unrewarded had the players' strategising not gone all wrong.
Anyways, Spain - under the captaincy of Casillas - did get its dues after the initial brickbats when they had lost to Switzerland.
But who would have thought that the Netherlands would not be able to score a goal in the finals after all those consecutive wins in the run-up to the final game? Not me! Many would say that the final game was drab, but I tend to disagree.... I even wondered if I have to stay awake the entire night with the possibility of the match rolling goalless to a penalty-shootout clincher....
Iniesta's goal in the 116th minute ended all that!

Indravadan said...

The World Cup final was exciting but at the same time it was so very toxic in nature! The fact that Spain and Holland had so much similarity in terms of its strengths and weaknesses left them with no choice but attempts at forceful ball possession and frustrated attempts lacking finesse.
However, I am happy that the Spaniards won, as they were my third favorites after Germany and Argentina. Incidentally, Germany bagging the third place was a consolation, and the match between Uruguay and Germany for the third spot was one of the very best in this World Cup!