July 3, 2010

The African Tragedy

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , , — HarryCool @ 2:54 pm

For that very moment it was heartbreaking the way Ghana lost but the fact is they should have won this game much earlier than the extra time of extra time. The way Ghana played the entire match is the bigger reason of their defeat today then the missed penalty by Gyan. I have throughout the tournament criticized the Africans (all African teams) for their lack of finish, running out of ideas in the D or cold feet. They are physically strong, control the ball well in the midfield, extremely confident and play a Brazilian style which looks better than Dunga’s men did in this world cup. The fact is that Uruguay capitalized on the opportunity which were presented while Ghana could not on their own-created opportunities. So many chances were not converted throughout the game (and the tournament for that matter). 

Ghana reaching this stage of the tournament in spite of the ton of missed opportunities in the games before, in itself is a blessing; that they should not really call this situation unlucky now. At the very best, it is poetic justice for them. All the little strokes of luck throughout the tournament were undone by this one unlucky one.

I am actually a big fan of the way Africans play and really wish them well by heart. All my small little interactions with Africans in person so far have been very pleasant and so I like them as individuals as well. This liking for Africa is what frustrates me when I see them struggle near the goal after a great build-up from the middle. This behavior reminds me of the Indian Cricket team of the past when they were known to choke in close encounters. They still do, but only in the final :p 

Ghana looked like they finally had the touch in the game against the Yanks but it wasn’t enough for this one.

 Uruguay got the opportunity and they took it. They too fought hard but were not the better of the two sides. Any footballer worth his time in sport would have done the same thing as Suarez. His actions were absolutely in line with what happens in football in situations like that. In fact he wouldn’t have thrust his hands out deliberately for that matter. This was an instinctive handball. If you look at the footage carefully, had he thought a little more (wasted more fractions of seconds), he could have headed the ball out as well as it was not that high and looked within reach. But in a split second situation like this, it’s not the brain but the spinal cord that takes the decision which we usually call as a reflex action. It’s like slamming the breaks of your car in an absolute emergency. You don’t think, rationalize or look for other ways. You do what comes first. So he is safe from my criticism! 

Football is a team game and today it is more important than ever to remember this then to just blame Gyan for the defeat or Suarez for the victory. 

Missing the penalty was just one of the many opportunities that Ghana (and Gyan) missed today. The part that hurts is, unlike Uruguay’s game of luck, Ghana created the opportunities on their own and still could not finish it in. 

Ghana sure looked like a team that had the potential to beat the Dutch. I can’t say this much about Uruguay though. Ghana also is a team that does carry the fortitude to win the finals considering they were as far as semi finals already (almost). Ghana winning the world cup 2010, the fantasy which was actually so close to reality that it hurts to see the way it got crushed. It hurts. Yes it does even though I do not know where exactly they are in the map of Africa. This is how beautiful football is! 


The vuvuzelas choked into silence. Only Uruguayans couldn’t share Ghana’s pain.
“I think I made the best save of the World Cup,” Suarez said later, unabashed.

There was sadness in his eyes but he looked remarkably composed.
“I’ve nothing to say, you know? It’s part of the game,” Gyan said

Of Suarez, Gyan added philosophically: “He’s the hero now in his country because the ball was going in and he held it with his hand and unfortunately I missed the penalty, and they’ve come back and they’ve won … But football is like that.”
Suarez showed no remorse. He was just happy to have stopped what would have been the sure winner for Ghana.

With a squad with an average age of just 24 years and nine months, Ghana will get other chances.
Not that that was any consolation.
“We were so close to making it,” defender John Pantsil said. “It was very, very painful.”

“I think it was instinctive,” Uruguay Coach Óscar Tabárez said. “The player instinctively stopped the ball and was booked with a red card appropriately. He was thrown out and he’ll miss the next match. What else do you want me to do?” 

If you still insist that no matter what he should always stick to the rules, then you’ve obviously never played a real football match in your life

Our heart rates go up just from watching that scene; how do you suppose Suarez felt at that moment?


Brazil lost to consistency

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , , , , , — HarryCool @ 2:51 pm

Nothing much to crib about in the Brazil vs Holland game like it is in the one after. Except for the fact that Brazil played like anything but Brazilians and lost to a consistent Dutch. Why am I hung on to Consistency in this post? Because this was the first game I saw in this world cup where a team did not change its style of play with the changing score line.

Whether one goal down, level or one up, Dutch stuck to their boring lack luster, flat but effective football as compared to the missing Brazilian flow. Brazil on the other hand, just like any un-Brazilian team would do, seemed to be content with the 1 – 0 lead and rightfully got to pay for it.

This also incidentally is the first game in this world cup (the one after this one being the 2nd) where a team down by a goal came back to win the game. This little statistic in itself speaks of the not so exciting world cup. The only thing exciting about this world cup is the French, Italian and English elimination and of course the Vuvuzelas and Jabulani.

Except for the goal and one nice move, there was nothing Brazilian about the Brazil game today. Another un-Brazilian thing about Brazil today was once at level I thought now they will show the Dutch What Attack Is. I thought it would be fun now. Instead Brazil turned out to be cry babies. They did not come back onto Dutch as a true champion side would, they instead were whining and fighting and all that. That was sick to watch. After watching them for so long over the years this is the least you expect out of them. Yes, everyone knows Latin Americans do not take defeat well but one also won’t expect the Brazilians would buckle under pressure like this so soon. No Good Job Mr Dunga. No Good! They deserved to lose. That is it.

Italians coming back on to the Kiwis, Cameroon’s massive attack after a goal down against the Japanese and English blitzkrieg on Germans was so much more exciting than watching these Brazilian cry babies. So moving on to the more interesting observation of this game today albeit a personal one…

The first goal by Brazil reminded me of my days in school. This is a typical trick I and Pradeep used to do at kick-off. One of us will dash towards the opposing team’s D while the other one would kick the ball right through the middle into the front the moment game would kick off and you’d have a goal in the very opening second. We used to do it in strikingly similar fashion to the way Brazilians scored today. One pass and ne touch into goal – fox all. Even though it was scored in the middle of the game and not at kick off, the goal really made me nostalgic and actually proud (funny) that the idea we considered unique to us is actually a genuine international play! Ha ha , those were the good old days of football in school. No one used to like me and Pradeep being in the same team.

June 29, 2010

Technology is not beautiful

Filed under: Sports, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — HarryCool @ 2:16 pm

Germany wins 4 goals to 1 of England in the Stage of 16. However, 2nd goal from England when the score was 2 – 1 is not given even though the ball is clearly behind the goal line after bouncing off the crossbar. A few hours later the same day, first Argentine goal against Mexico is a clear offside but referee fails to notice. Before the World cup finals, France is able to qualify thanks to a double-hand goal by Henry against Ireland which is not spotted by the referee.

There have been many other smaller in scale bad calls throughout this world cup so far. However, does that merit including technology to assist the referee. Every other sport does it, then why not football too? Because no other sport is as beautiful as football is? Because no other sport has that smooth flow as football has? The answer is YES!

Referees are as much a part of the game as players are. Players do not have technology to assist them while on the ground. They make bad passes, they miss chances, and they at times do self-goals. Do we give them some sort of technological solution to take away their flaws? Do we make the game perfect? Life is not perfect and so is Football. Let the game be human from all aspects and it will remain beautiful just the way it is today.

Germany and Argentina would have won anyways albeit in a different manner. French got the boot and that too brutally. It is the 360 degree human nature of the game that makes it interesting. There are unfair calls but then there are teams that rise in adversity.

All other sport use technology this is the biggest reason football should not. This is what separates it from the rest. This is what makes it beautiful. I don’t want some geeky spooky jerk controlling the outcomes of the game sitting in some dingy room up in the stadium.

People who complain about the bad calls need to Man Up and get on with it. It happened to you today; it will happen to someone else tomorrow and level it out. It’s all in the game. I said before Life is not perfect, well it isn’t fair either. Football is life and I want it to remain.

endnote: I am ok if the use of technical solutions is immediate and applies to only black-white situations. The only one I can think of is the goal line technology. There should be something like an immediate red/green if the ball crossed the line or not. Offside, tripping, fouls/tackles etc do not qualify. Pausing the game for a few minutes to entertain player protests and reviewing the replay to take a call; or even waiting for just one minute to talk to a 2nd match referee who is in front of a monitor (the geeky spooky jerk I talked about earlier) is so very pussy like! American football for all of its macho image is actually a game for big overgrown pussies! They wear all that protective gear, they have communication equipment to talk to each other, they pause every now and then and whine; come ‘on – soccer is beautiful and a sport for men (no offense to women soccer. my comments are just a metaphor for the sissiness in using technology to resolve issues).

June 27, 2010

Yanks rub it in with last-minute goal

I was surprised by own feelings when USA won by scoring in the dying minutes against Algeria. A neutral viewer like me would in general not want americans to win irrespective of the side they are up against. While everyone in the world has their own reasons for not cheering for the Americans, I think broadly it is because of either or a combination of these two – american arrogance and/or jealousy. In my case, it is more of the later.

I come from a culturally richer and older civilization. Yet due to its own shortcomings the land I come from is nowhere near the prosperity and success of the americans. India being in dumps in spite of the fact that indians have as much potential if not more as the americans, makes me jealous of their success. While I look at all American actions with utmost criticism, I know fully well, had my country been as successful as the Americans, they’d have been just the same in their attitude and actions towards the rest of the world (eg fighting terrorism); and would have been worse if not the same on the arrogance index as the americans.

In spite of this clear admittance of jealousy towards the US, I still didn’t believe I would want so bad for them to lose. I think it was the fact that they pulled it off so dramatically that it just added to my feeling of loss just the way it would have had an opposite impact on an american. Well, my feeling of loss would not be as high in intensity (since I am not an Algerian) as the joy of an american with that last-minute goal, but similar concept.

The Yanks did fight till the end. Well, a Draw would have kicked them out just as much as a loss, so they didn’t have anything more to risk by going all out.

“This team embodies what the American spirit is about,” Donovan said. “We had a goal disallowed the other night. We had another good goal disallowed tonight (on an offsides call), but we just keep going, and I think that’s what people admire so much about America.”

See the way he goes on about the “american spirit” and all about how great America is and all that crap. We do that so much in India too. Indian culture, Indian diversity, India’s rich heritage, how great we are yada yada yada.

“We’re kind of like the cardiac kids at the moment,” Howard said. “That emotion, that passion is what American sports fans thrive on. Given the American sports psyche, this is probably going to be more amazing for them than if we played unbelievable and won 3-0.”

Again the same BS about “american psyche”. Which sports fan in the world will not find a dramatic end like this more amazing over a straight forward 3-0 win? It’s obviously more entertaining anywhere in the world and has nothing “american only” about it. The fact is that Howard is just looking inwards, absorbed in his own big well, unconscious of the fact that the feelings will apply to anyone anywhere in the world.


June 15, 2010


Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , , , — HarryCool @ 1:55 am


Really irritating noise. I initially thought it was the residual electronic noise of TV guys blocking crowd noise from there broadcast or something like that. Never imagined that it is a real noise coming out of that instrument … Ban the damn thing!

the ubiquitous narrow instrument that’s making every contest in South Africa sound like a ferocious swarm of radioactive bees—or a Hollywood publicists’ luncheon
… It’s apparently irritating TV viewers … you bet it is!
Besides, who are we in the U.S. to complain about vuvuzelas? We gave the world Twitter and Ke$ha. – yea, you got that right! Don’t forget facebook.

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