Sunday, August 8, 2010

Takeaway from this world cup !

I have been thinking to write a post-World Cup article for quite sometime now and
its not surprising enough that I have finally started jotting it down around one month after the event is long gone. The 2010 FIFA World Cup was undoubtedly the most-followed event in the history and these astounding numbers tell the whole story. Its is estimated that around 23 billion people followed it via broadcasting and around 3million lucky people witnessed it live on stadium.

Though I was not lucky enough to stay back in SA when world cup started, I do visited Soccer city where inauguration and final was played. Believe me seeing soccer city from outside was itself an experience. In this I am going to jot down some of the takeaways from this once in a lifetime African extravaganza.

Paul the Oracle : It was only after its third prediction, Paul the so called soothsayer Octopus was in craze and remained so till the end of the cup. I distinctly remember a 'breaking news' flashing on TV, while I was standing in a queue at airtel office saying, 'Paul again picked Germany'. I silently giggled thinking how on earth young Germans are going to tame all mighty argentines. Rest as they say is history. The brutality with which Germans butchered Argentina will be covered mostly in Maradona section. Paul went on a complete rampage there after and predicted all the results correctly. No wonder that Madrid zoo has bid for Paul to bring him to Spain.

Vuvuzela: The weird hum during the games in South Africa was a 2010 staple. Whether you found them annoying or affable, I didn’t expect them to be a part of Brazil 2014. If anything, the horns would remind the proud soccer power of its early exit in 2010.Incidently some days back, I heard the same noise while catching up a ManU –Chelsea Sheffield shield cup in a non-alcoholic pub at Riyadh. As Mexican Wave has been part of sports folklore since 1986, Mexico world cup, Vuvuzela could be part of soccer folklore from now onwards. In spite of a probable FIFA ban for vuvuzela during matches, I am pretty much sure vuvuzela is here to say for long time.

Spain: Spain has been one of the unluckiest team so far in world cup history. A country which hosts two of the powerhouses of football at club level had a very dismal show at world cup stage. Before this world cup they have managed to qualify for semi final only once and that too half a century ago. But this time story was about to change. The team looked quite fresh playing best players at each and every position. They had 7 regular playing for Barcelona and style with which they played very much resembled Barca. Its ironical that Barcelona, who have been trying hard to have their own existence in the form of Catalonia, had players playing for Spain out of their most coveted symbol Barcelona FC. Spain, whose economy was in doldrums since recession, has undoubtedly got the best boost possible for revival.

Maradona : Without doubt Maradona is perhaps the best player ever to have played this game. Such was his intensity he managed to uplift the feeble argentine team single handedly to world cup glory in 1986.Perhaps no other player, including Pele and Cryuff ,has so much impact on team performance as Maradona had on argentine team in 1986.But history was not to be repeated this time. The game’s bad boy committed some of the blunders which resulted in all-mighty Argentina’s sad demise from World cup. Not selecting Cambiasso and Zanetti , both Champions League winner, hit Argentina very bad. I somehow have a feeling 1st goal free-kick against Germany would not have taken place had Zenneti played the game in place of Otamandi in right back. The planning loopholes in the midfield were easily visible once Germany took one goal lead. Incidentally Maradona wrote a tweet in the morning of Arg-Ger game ,’Today is Maradona day’ which was being retweeted for many more days after Germany dusted Argentina 4-0.No wonder Maradona was dropped from argentina’s coach after world cup .Also it has to be said on records that , Maradona looked amazingly funny in Suit.

Young Germans: Germany was the real surprise in this WC. Not many thought Germany could reach semis in world cup initially. An untimely injury of Micheal Ballack before the WC start led everybody to expect an early German return from SA.No wonder Germans stuck gold with the likes of Ozil,Khadira(Both joining Real Madrid eventually),Lahm and Muller.With the current crop of players so talented,german football surely looks very much in safe hands.

Yet another Hand of God : Suarez will always remain a villan in Africa for generations to come.Had Asamoah Gyan scored that last minute goal against Uruguay,Ghana would have become the first African country to have been qualified form world cup semifinals.Inspite of some of these setbacks,the spirit of africa soared amazingly high in this once in a lifetime WC.

Running Naked Craze : Paraguayan model, Larissa Riquelme surely become the face of the world cup with her off the field exploits at stadiums.With her running naked craze after world cup win,paraguay World cup team surely increased its fan counts in notime.By the time Paraguay and Arentina both routed out in quaterfinals,someone said it very aptly that,'with this quaterfinal thrashing we dont have to witness the ignominy of seeing Maradona and grandeur of Larissma running naked '.

Netherlands :Netherlands,perhaps the unluckiest team in the world cup history, has proved out to be unlucky in this world cup again.But the combined performance as a team they have shown was truly something.Sjneider continued his club performance form in this world cup and scored when its team demanded the most.With Arjen Robben at front he formed a lethel pair capable of cutting through the most tighest of defence.They were very unlucky in not converting some of the vital chances they got in the final against spain.Personally I was gunning for Netherlands in this world cup after argentina crashed out and I do believe it will not be long till netherland will be kept away from world cup glory that has been eluded from them for long.

Mayanti Langar :Perhaps a big reason for popularity in india for this world cup owns to this suave and stylish anchor for the world cup called Mayanti Langar.She has been a part of NFL for long and perhaps no other anchor would have done the job so well.

This was truly a memorable world cup that happened in African Soil for the first time.When I was in Joberg only few weekes before WC was about to start,there were lot of concerns about crime rate which could jeopardise the whole world cup.The grandeur with which they conducted this WC was truly magnificiant and will be itched in people's memory for a long time.It was truly once in a lifetime World Cup.