The semis are here

Finally close to the end of a wonderful journey with the top football teams of the world. Today it will be Uruguay taking on Netherlands. Spain will attack Germany tomorrow.

For the first match I will be supporting Uruguay. I think it would be a wonderful for a country like Uruguay if they are in the finals. Could make South America more than just Brazil and Argentina. Also while the Dutch team has been competent I personally have not enjoyed their game (as opposed to say, Germany) Also it will be a long shot for sure (with the way The Dutch are playing + the red card on Suarez). So Uruguay it is for today.

Tomorrow’s match will be my finals. Germany is playing a beautiful game on the offensive and are their normal efficient self defensively. They face Spain who have in their own way been getting better over the course of this cup. The odds being with Germany I will support Spain 😀

Really my choice is the childlike hope of an amateur who wants to see two first time finalists. Let’s see if silly dreams come true 🙂

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Brazil crashes out again

There goes my dream of watching an Argentina-Brazil finals. In fact seeing the debacle of Brazil in the second half I would not be surprised if Germany wins over Argentina tomorrow making it a final of Netherlands v/s Germany. That would makes the stats go for a spin would it not, 4 South American teams in the Quarters and an European team takes the cup.

Coming back to the match what happened there ??? The easy answer would be Felipe Melo – he has the potential for being the fall-guy for this one. Self goal which allowed Netherlands back into the match followed by unnecessary frustration resulting in a red card when Brazil needed all 11 players !!! However that would be too easy would it not? I mean this is the number 1 team we are talking about. We are talking about Kaka the golden boy, who once again could not find the net. We are talking of Fabiano, where was he in this match?  In fact forget all the names and let’s talk of the team. They are 2-1 down with at least 20 more minutes. Time for a world cup winning team to prove their mettle. Sadly this team disintegrated – they never looked like they could equalize. Maicon kept running and Kaka and Robinho kept trying but there was no winning attitude that was visible. In fact the only person who seemed to think they had a chance and who did not waste time with things that could not be changed (like referees decisions) was Lucio. The refereeing was very weak again but that’s no excuse for Brazil’s game. There can never be an excuse for such a game.
‘nyways, football experts and fanatics who are much more knowledgeable than me will surely come up with the reasons in more accurate detail. As a simple fan I am dejected that this team let me down again 😦
And for the record Netherlands defeated Brazil 2-1. Great play by Netherlands (and I guess an Oscar for Robben will be much deserved)

Argentina wins, Hernandez notwithstanding

Again a fun match for the neutrals, again a bad bad decision by the referee (albeit his linesman)

First the result – Argentina wins 3-1. The match was much more fun and closer than the result indicates. Mexico played quite well but were unable to convert their chances in the final yards. The one time they did it was a magnificent move by J. Hernandez. Poetry in motion.

On the Argentine side, the first goal was a refereeing error and the second was a defensive blunder the final goal was a blinder of a shot by Tevez. Could the Mexicans have hauled Argentines over the coals last night if the first goal had been disallowed as an offside? They very well might have. However like the match before I believe that the Argentine’s would have won it any which way.

Any chinks in the armor for Argentine? Hell ya! I felt they will have two chinks going into the game with Germany:

1. Messi. Stop! Before you throw your rotten tomatoes hear me out here!

Messi is a master on the field and brilliant – no doubts about it, But he has not scored yet and the pressure is building on him to put the ball into the net. I fear that pressure could make him act more selfishly than is good for the team. Even yesterday in the beginning quarter there were some chances he took which I felt would have been a sure goal if he had passed to either Higuain or Tevez. Maybe I am wrong about my read of the matter but this is one worry for Argentina, in my opinion.

2. Shifting to a lower gear when ahead

In last night’s match once they were ahead Argentina visibly slowed down and tried to play a containing game. This is a very dangerous strategy for them. I do not think they are that great defensively and playing a containing game when ahead could hurt them against teams like Germany

Finally the refereeing. FIFA needs to get some technology into play and some referral system. I think this is nor more a debatable issue. It is an absolute must unless they want to see a referee dead or badly injured due to a bad decision given. I think a max number of challenges allowed would be good enough, like in American football (and I believe in Hockey too). I personally feel that after the first goal the Mexicans were so frustrated that it showed on their game. They were limp till half time. In fact they dangerously skirted getting multiple cards with their protests and were lucky that the referee understood the situation and did not reach for the cards. Also the shameful scene at half-time could have been avoided if the referee was allowed to change his decision.

Anyaway, all in all it was a fun match. Loved the Mexicans but my heart was with the pint-sized Maradona and his jolly men. Hope today’s matches are as much fun but without the unnecessary stress of bad decisions.

Aged England loses to Young and Fit Germany

If one keeps the score aside we were witness to a cracker of a match in Mangaung/Bloemfontein today, with both teams playing many levels better football than they played in the group stages. As my good friend @subhadeep_c said “This is the World Cup”. 


However one of the things this match will be remembered for will the controversial denial of goal to Lampard. FIFA needs to work out a resolution for such situations in the future. I agree that football is a fast game and stopping the flow is not a good idea but this is ridiculous! Countries are not going to put in so much money and effort to play and then leave it to a bad referring decision – that’s just unjust. Some kind of challenge scheme like they have in American football (and maybe in hockey too if I am not wrong) might be needed here.

Having said that, in the end that denial did not count in the final scheme of things, unless there was some psychological impact. After all the final score was 4-1, and one does expect international players, living in the limelight day in and day out, to be more tough mentally. I am sure the pundits and guru’s will find the real reason for the sorry debacle of the English team this time (*cough* Capello *cough*). However through my amateurish eye I can see only one overriding reason and that is SPEED. The English team were bloody slow – Rooney’s movements were a pale (and slow) imitation of his form years ago. It was almost like he was playing in slow motion. And if that was the case with him what do I say about Terry – he epitomized super slo-mo today, both physically and mentally. Let’s face they were an old team and it showed. They were nowhere near the speed of Ozil, Muller or Schweinsteiger. In fact even Klose was faster than the majority of the English playing 11. 

So in the end I do not think any of Lampard’s shots mattered. Whatever the situation Germany always looked that they could attack back and the same confidence did not exist on the English side. It is kind of sad seeing the English side losing in such a fashion, as I believe a whole generation of English stars will have played their last match here. Time for them to buckle up, take it on their chin, and create a younger, fresher team for the next set of qualifying matches aimed at Brazil 2014.

About the Ger-Arg match? If Arg win and play Ge I believe it will be more or less more equal than people think. Though I would love Argentina to go through I do not think it will be a cakewalk 🙂

Final stages prediction for 2010 World Cup

Since I am playing silly clairvoyant I thought why not go ahead and make predictions all the way to the end. So here goes nothing. (and in case you are wondering how I know who is playing in the quarters please check my last post)

Quarter Finals:
QF1
NED NED – BRA BRA
If Brazil reach this stage there is no way they are going to lose this one, unless people in team fall sick like in a certain final!!! The game should be enjoyable though.
QF2
URU URU – USA USA: Uruguay wins, cause I want them to. However this one will be a tough one again as USA seems to be one team who play to their opponents weaknesses rather than a preset plan. I think Uruguay has more raw talent though.
QF3
ARG ARG – ENG ENG
Again like Brazil I expect Argentina to win this straight forward whoever be their opposition. England will not stand a chance. They may restrict Argentina to a smaller score but that’s about it.
QF4
PAR PAR –  POR POR
This one is a difficult one to call. I will go with Paraguay just to see a South Americans in the semis.

And if things go according to my plan what we will have is a fantastic south American semi-final.

Semi Finals:
URU URU – BRA BRA
Should be a good match with Brazil winning. Again this will be a tough one in my opinion but I want Brazil to reach the final 🙂
ARG ARG – PAR PAR
This should be easier than the other semis. If Argentina play to current form I do not see how they will be defeated.

which then brings us to the dream pairing for the final

Final:
ARG ARG – BRA BRA
This one, I fervently pray, will not be war of cards but rather an ode to the beautiful game as played in South America. While this match promises to be tight either way, I think Argentina can win it. This is because in addition to the team Brazil will have Maradona to content with and that is no laughing matter. So for now I believe it will Argentina picking up the Fifa World Cup.

( Also in case you are interested Uruguay will take third place :))

So that is how the matches are going to play out according to me. Will add edits and posts to adjust for any changes 😛

Statutory Warning: If you have still not got the fact that I know zilch about football then just keep this in mind, I am not putting any money down on basis of my clairvoyance.

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