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Saturday, June 26, 2010

FIFA World Cup 2010: The real battles have begun....

Just finished watchin'  Uruguay and Ghana win their Round of 16 matches against the South Koreans and Americans respectively. Have to commend the Goal-keeper of Ghana.....Wow! What a feat! It looked like he was single-handedly defending the goal everytime the Americans targeted his precious post....Must say this African Nation has come really far!

The Group Stage has been full of surprises. The big guns haven't really played like big guns. Ofcourse most of them made it to the round of 16, but most of the matches were not quite like what you would expect from some of the best teams in the world. What's all the hype about Premier League stars? I am yet to see an extra-ordinary performance from them!

On the contrary, the second-rung teams have really blossomed on the world stage. Most of the group stage matches have been about under-dogs this time around. They fought every match to the nail. It doesn't matter if most of them did not qualify for the Round Of 16....what matters is they fought hard!

These so called lower ranked teams gave their all to the matches and made life difficult for the top-rung teams....It must have been frustrating for the top ranked teams to get rattled by teams, almost 100 ranks below them. Now thats soccer for you....full of surprises! :-)

I am delighted that most of the teams that I thought would make it to the RO16 have made it, with the exception of France and Italy, who I thought, looked outrageously pathetic in all their matches. It was a pain to watch these former champions of the game go out in such a mediocre way. Neither did they fight nor did they play like they should have. Now this is what happens if you think 'Consistency' is only a word in the dictionary!

I enjoyed watching some teams play this time...Especially Chile! My God! They define the word 'Agility'! They move with so much speed and pass the ball so well that if you blink an eye...you just might miss a goal! Like-wise Mexico was awesome too...never quite thought they would make it to the RO16.

Yes, my favorite teams are still the ones who define the game of soccer like Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Spain, England etc but yeah am happy that the under-dogs are not making it easy for them! :-) (Now, who wouldn't wanna watch a nail-biting game...didn't somebody say 'A win isn't sweet when there is no challenge'!

The RO16 has 6 European Teams, 5 South.American, 2 Asian and one African...Now isn't that commendable considering that Europeans or S.American have always dominated soccer...I hope this beautiful game picks up in other continents and we have more of them challenging European and S.American supremacy!

The best part of the group stages has been the way the goals have been scored in most of the games. Every game, you had a different player scoring a goal for their nations. It has never been a one-man show so far...and yes am glad it isn't 'coz thats what makes a good team.

You cannot bank on just stars to run the show for you 'coz its obvious that the star would be the main target for your opposition. Rooney, Ronaldo, Messi--->All cases in point! (I must commend Messi tho'....he might not have gotten the goals but this guy has definitely stepped it up for Argentina, he has been instrumental in setting up the goals for his team! Definitely lives upto the title of 'Most valuable Player'...love the way this guy plays soccer! :-))

David Villa was awesome too...loved the way his goals came about! It requires great talent to score like that!(Torres needs to stop tail-gating and start scoring too :-)). Am curious to see as to who might win the golden boot this time around...there have been no great feats from any single player so far...Hoping to see some real action in the forthcoming matches!

Uruguay and Ghana made it to the quarters...now am all set to see how the action unfolds in the next few days....Will new stars be born? Will soccer be taken to another level? Let the drama unfold!

Three Cheers,
Amari.....

Friday, May 21, 2010

FIFA World Cup 2010: 20 more days to go.....

FIFA World Cup 2010 is here! Rise and Shine people, its that time of the year again when the crazy action, the madness, the drama and above all the mind-boggling brilliance of the players and their antics on the field unfolds!

With less than 20 days to go.....the excitement is building up for one month of pure revelry. With 32 teams making the draw, a lot of action is expected to take place on and off the field! With mighty stakes and   extremely highly-advertised matches, one can expect to witness a high-adrenaline, fist-pumping clash of the world's best players battling it out for supremacy!

The Draw looks interesting.....Out of the 32 teams, here is the list of who I think will make it to Round of 16 (Please Note: No offense against any team or country. This is purely my take from the 2-cents I know about following these teams. Ofcourse like they say anything can happen in sports so do not be surprised if all my choices turn out wrong, after all didn't some teams like Greece, Russia etc surprise us in the previous championships! I would love to be surprised :-))

Group A: South Africa, Mexico,Uruguay, France
My Pick:  France, Uruguay

Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, Korea Republic, Greece
My Pick: Argentina, Greece (Korea Republic, can you repeat FIFA 2002?)

Group C: England,USA, Algeria, Slovenia
My Pick:  England, USA

Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana
My Pick:  Germany, Serbia  (Surprise us Ghana :-))

Group E:  Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon
My Pick:  Netherlands,  Cameroon

Group F:  Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia
My Pick:  Italy, Paraguay

Group G: Brazil, Korea DPR, Côte d'Ivoire, Portugal
My Pick:  Brazil, Portugal

Group H: Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile
My Pick:  Spain, Chile

Now I know most of you would have your own say on who might qualify for Round of 16, differing opinions are very much welcome :-). It would be quite interesting to have a few other soccer-followers posting their views here. Maybe we can bet too ( Hope the Feds are not reading this ;-)...lol juz kidding! :-)

Some of the players to watch out for:
Italy: G.Buffon, A.Pirlo, D.D.Rossi
Cameroon:  Samuel Eto'o
Spain:  D.Villa , F.Torres, Xavi , Iniesta, Casillas, D.Silva
Brazil:  Lucio, Maicon, Kaka, Fabiano
Ivory Coast:  D.Drogba
Argentina: L.Messi, Tevez, Aguero, J.Mascherano
Uruguay:  Forlan
England:   Gerrard, Terry, Lampard, Rooney, A.Cole
Portugal:  C.Ronaldo, R.Carvalho, Deco
Netherlands:  Sneijder, Robben, R.V.Persie,
France:  T.Henry, Ribery,Y.Gourcuff, N.Anelka
Germany: M.Klose, Lahm, Podolski, M.Gomez (Gonna miss M.Ballack this time around :-()
Australia: T.Cahill
USA:  Donovan, Dempsey

Ofcourse the above players have kind of established themselves as assets for their respective clubs and countries. But well I will definitely be looking out for new stars in this edition!

Come June 11, and all the true-blue fans will be hooked to the beautiful game of soccer!
Hail FIFA World Cup 2010! The countdown begins.....

Note: For those of you who are new to the game of soccer, check out some of the beautiful moments of the game in my earlier posts under the 'Sports', 'Soccer' label during Euro-2008!
And juz so that you get into the right momentum before the World Cup takes off, check out this brilliant ad by Nike: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idLG6jh23yE

Le Souvenirs,
Amari.....