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?


Blog at WordPress.com.