Saturday, June 17, 2006

some thoughts on the world cup

1) In the land of Oktoberfest and 1300 breweries, the official beer of the world cup is Budweiser!

2) Why doesn't Fifa clamp down on all the fake injuries and theatrics? Can't they impose bans or suspensions after the match based on TV replays? Watching these tough guys writh in agony and then get back on the field the moment there's no red card is frustrating. They're highly paid athletes representing their country in the biggest tournament in the world but have no qualms coming across as a bunch of wimps. Remember Rivaldo in the 2002 World cup against Turkey? These guys should be made to watch some American football. If they see the kind of pounding the average NFL quarterback takes from a 350 pound defensive lineman they'll probably realise how ridiculous they look sometimes.

3) The Dutch put on a sick display yesterday against Ivory Coast. One of the halftime commentators called it cheating for all the theatrics and shameless fouls. The Ivory Coast team was vastly superior and it's a pity they're out of the tournament.

4) France, England and Germany have put on the most boring displays in the tournament so far. Though I have a feeling that their tight defense will carry at least one of England or Germany through to the final.

5) Ghana is (till they're knocked) my favourite team now. Their domination of the Czech republic was fascinating to watch and I loved the way they kept attacking and didn't fall back to defend like the Germans or the English.

6) Ever noticed how a goalkeeper behaves when he makes a save? He rushes out, shouts at his players and then waves his arms around. That's his moment in the sun. But after he lets a goal through it's a shrug of the shoulders, nobody to blame and a feeble kick at the football.

7) Are the Italians more concerned about their hairstyles or the game? Each one of those players seems to take a lot of time adjusting their hair the moment they're not near a football. Maybe that's why teams like Brazil and Germany do well - most of their players have short, cropped hair unlike the Italians.

8) The Italy-USA game was pretty dramatic and very open. Maybe referees should hand out red cards more regularly to reduce the number of players on the field and make it more exciting. It also gives the players who are sent off a break towards the end.


Anshuman said...

Looks like 'The summer of Pondy' is in full flow.

It sucks that, at best, only one of Ghana and US can move to the next round. I hope Italy wins against the czech.

Even in basketball, these european players are head and shoulders ahead of the american players as far as flopping goes. Though the likes of reggie millers have done well to immitate them.

Oh, btw did you read about Rothlisberger's accident?

Tabula Rasa said...

ghana vs brazil -- who will you back?

bandafbab said...

read about big ben's accident. what a stupid thing to do.

ghana vs brazil - definitely ghana. brazil looks very shaky right now.

Mrinalini said...

all i have to say is Forza Azzuri!!

Mrinalini said...

Screw the world cup, tell us your views on the rahul mahajan scandal.The best gossip i read somewhere was that he and vivek moitra were lovers and took frequent dips in the hot tub together!!!!!

bandafbab said...

i heard the rumour about mahajan and maitra being lovers. apparently they used to sit in the jacuzzi very often. also that papa mahajan was shot because he was having an affair with his brother's wife.

Anshuman said...

If being nude in a jacuzzi with another man implies homosexuality then all scandinavian men are gay.

MiddleRoad said...

Have to put my thoughts in there now Pondy because you mentioned the greatness of American NFL -

1. Not denying that american football is ridiculously athletic, but most of them are on some sort of pain killer or the other.
And their bodies resemble the bodies of 80 year old when they hit 50. Is that really the sort of stuff that you want to see?

2. Yes, I wish that soccer could be more aggressive, it is tiring to watch better teams just run the clock down. But hey, cricket can be excruciating too. I think that you and Anshuman have achieved the nine second attention span of the Americans now. You guys need your burst of excitement for nine seconds, followed by advertisements of nearly naked women telling us to buy beer, cars, shirts, food, medicines etc. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

3. Rahul Mahajan - does it matter if here gay or not, does it matter if he did drugs or why his father was shot. I am not going to judge him from a higher moral ground somehow implied by extra marital affairs, homosexuality and drugs (hell, two of those belong to my life if it were a beautiful dream!). My problem is that the party his father represented judged everybody else and tried to force morality down our throats. How the mighty have fallen!

Anshuman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anshuman said...


Who gets to decide what an acceptable level of risk is that a sport should involve? Seven people have died running the london marathon in the last 25 years. Cheerleading is the second most dangerous US collegiate sport as far as catastrophic injuries go. The long term effects of Beer Pong I needn't even list.

More than the neck injuries and the constant battering that the NFL players get, the main reason why their life expectancy is 55 is obesity and related heart problems.

I agree that outside of base jumping, supercross and other X-sports, football is probably one of the more dangerous sports. But I am not sure why it is morally reprehensible to watch adults choose to play a sport and potentially make lots of money off of it.

Pondy and I were only complaing about flopping and defensive play. Sitting on a lead and faking injuries are against the spirit of any game. The issue was never one of constant excitement.

Finally, the BJP is full of shit!

bandafbab said...

middleroad, anshuman summarised my main grouse nicely. watching teams fake injuries and waste time is what pisses me off. and what surprises me is that fifa has done nothing inspite of TV replays being available. what the dutch were doing against ivory coast was cheating. and they're not alone.

test cricket (and even baseball) can be very dull and boring but i still love watching both for all the subtleties and stragies. if you get hit on the head or the body by a hardball at over 90 miles an hour you still don't collapse and act like you're about to die. and in almost every sport except soccer, timeouts, breaks, etc make sure you can't waste time like soccer players do.

MiddleRoad said...

"I did not realize that this game was so boring"

- Homer Simpson watching a baseball game sober.

MiddleRoad said...

Not only BJP, the entire political class is regressive and reactionary. Congress spawns, and BJP reaps the politics of hatred, intolerance and mud slinging. I am tired, tired, tired of what passes as discourse in the Indian polity. Tired.

MiddleRoad said...

Beer Pong is a sport? I must have missed the bus when civilization decided to call a frat boys' excuse to drink a regular sport.

But to come back to NFL - no, I was not decrying it or degrading it any form. I was just saying that some injuries might not look serious but are - especially in the case of NFL players. Have you noticed how many base ball players are on D/L due to sprained groins, hamstrings, thumb injuries, chipped NAILS (I promise that I did not make this up). There is definitely a lot of acting involved in soccer, but unless they get replays in the sport, it is going to remain ridiculous. And in my mind, they should have a format that is similar to basketball goals - 1 point if inside the d, 2 if outside, and 3 from some established distance etc. Will make it more fun, and competitive - no team would be assured that it is leading ever.

bandafbab said...

football rules shouldn't be changed. just clamp down on faking injuries and time wasting.

stretcher a guy off immediately if he's down for more than 30 seconds and don't let him back on for another 5 mins.

allow rolling substitutions if players want a breather or are injured and want to get back on. allow up to 2-3 such subs so that it's not misused.

finally, there is no D in football. in hockey, yes. in football it's called the penalty area.

btw, middleroad the world has moved on and you're stuck in a posting almost a week old.

MiddleRoad said...

Yes, the world does tend to pass me by, I am the proverbial tortoise to young hares like yourself.

Yes, the d is in hockey not football (glad to see it not being called soccer!). I threw the change of rules just for the heck of it, one has to recall that college basketball was in a slump once and the rules got changed, and now you have one of the most exciting formats.

But as you said - this is now a week old.