Monday, July 12, 2010

2010 Football WorldCup Matches and Paul

The final match is over and Spain is celebrating their marginal win over Netherlands. If you've followed the predictions of the psychic octopus named Paul, the result would not be surprising for you. It has 100% record, having predicted the results right 8 out of 8 times. No wonder, TIME calls it the octopus of the year.
Google doodle on the WorldCup Final Match Day

The worldcup final match was dull and silly, with most of the players on either sides getting a yellow card for foul play. I watched most of my matches with my wife and we could barely keep ourselves awake last night. In India, the match analysis starts from 11PM, the match starts at 11.50PM and stretches upto 2AM. With extra time and penalties, it could easily stretch upto 3AM. Thank God, there was no penalty shootouts in the final match, with Spain scoring the only goal of the match with about 2 minutes to spare at the end of the 30-minute extra time.

To tell you the truth, the worldcup was over when Germany thrashed my favorite team Argentina 4-0 in the quarter finals a week ago, with the first goal coming in less than 3 minutes. Argentina had no clue what defending meant and no game plan for the aggressive and the know-no-fear young Germans. My wife had actually predicted, including Paul, that Argentina would lose right after she was disappointed with her favorite team, Brazil, which lost 2-1 to Uruguay  the previous day. After the disaster, both of us lost interest in the semi-final matches, having witnessed the exit of our respective favorite teams.

Up until its exit, Argentina played like they were going to go all the way and win the worldcup this time. My all-time favorite football player since my school days, Diego Maradona (now coach) and my current favorite player, Messi, were both associated with Argentina and that clearly explains my interest in the team. Maradona and Messi are like the mentor and the pupil, the past and the future. Both wear number 10 T-shirt on the field and are said to have exceptional skills with the football.

The match of the tournament for me was the knockout clash between Germany and England where the winner would qualify for the quarter-finals. Germany scored in the first few minutes and the intensity that followed until the end of the 45-minute first half was electrifying. Both the teams were amazing in their defence and were in full strike force trying to score goals. Every minute of that first half was tense with several breath-taking attacks and counter attacks, in lightening speed and pin-point passing accuracy. England failed to keep up the momentum in the second half and were eventually knocked out of the match. But they can live with it in the knowledge that they gave their best shot, if only in the first half. What a match!

It has been a great 1 month of exciting football and I'll miss all the action. The next worldcup in due in 2014, but in the meanwhile, I'm looking forward to the next season of the European league matches, where most of the best players appear for their clubs (similar to the IPL clubs). I'll be specifically following Messi when he tries to score for his club, Barcelona.
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