Category Archives: Sports

FIFA World Cup 2006,Quarter Finals Review..

Originally posted here on my ancient blog site.

Germany Vs Argentina:1-1 AET,4-2 PSO

Although my predictions of a German victory came true.The match was heartbreaking for any fan of football other than a German(I had predicted 2-1,but both played double my expectations;)).Germany should have won,thats fine.But Argentina Shouldn’t have lost.No doubt this should have been the final match.Argentina began in a fine fashion and had more of the ball in the beginning.But that never meant Germany were sleeping.The ball possession by Argentina was high,but it was in their own half.Neither sides created good chances for a long time.Defense was excellent on both sides.That left all the attacking chances to some free kicks,Corners or Long distance shots.Ballack had good oppurtunities but couldnt convert them.One header was not directed properly,and then a corner kick that caused quite a lot of panic in the Argentinian defense.But still they stood firm.German goalkeeper dint have much of a job to do in the first half.I think the ball had a tougher time than in any other match so far.Both teams struggled everymoment.Both teams had a nice way of stopping the attacks,screw up the supply,Requelme and Ballack were the most marked men unlike strikers in usual cases.

The second half was an even more exciting affair. Within minute from the kick-off Roberto Ayala sent the ball in to the nets from a Requelmecorner kick.I dont think the goalkeeper had any chance.Infact it wasAyala’s first for Argentina.The match grew hotter.Germany always seemed to be on the way to recovery from then on.But a Rodrigueztackle and shot had nearly managed to finish the game in favour ofArgentina.It hit the side nets and half the stadium roared thinking that it went inside.Amidst all the action,Klose Managed to injure the goalkeeper of Argentina(not deliberate though).so Abbondanzairi abandons;) and Franco comes in for him.Argentina missed Requelme too as he was injured and Cambiasso took his place.In the 81st minute,Ballack chipped the ball on to Podolsky’s head who in turn Flicked it towards Klose and Yo!!! Klose does it again.A header,I was really missing them since Euro 2004.His head seems better than his legs all the time.So Klose kicked the goalkeeper first and then a goal.The next 10 minutes dint yield,neither did the extra 30 minutes.Ballack was battling with his injury so as to stay alive for penalties.Finally Penalty shoot out was declared.Neither side had ever lost a penalty shoot out in World Cup history.One had tonow.The first 2 went smoothly,both sides scored.But Argentina missed the next two(Ayala and Cambiasso).while Germany scored both(Ballackand Podolski).So it was Boroswki’s turn now to finish it for Germany.Andhe finished well.

In conclusion it was heartbreaking exit for Argentina.I think the difference was that,while Germany took all the necessary risks,Argentina did not.Why the hell did Pekerman not get Messi on to the field?

Italy Vs Ukraine:3-0 It was a whitewash for Ukraine.Shevchenko alone cannot workwonders.Italy continued its Unbeaten run(23 now),they were all over Ukraine throughout the match.Bufon did not face any tense moments throughout the first half.In the second half had a scare or two.Italy saw the resurgence of Luca Toni.Scored 2 of the 3.But the best goal was ofcourse that by Zambrotta.A great run down the midfiled and then a seemingly impossible goal with amazing accuracy.The Goalkeeper did have a touch of his fingers on it,but that was not enough.After the first goal the match seemed to have got boring,I was wondering if I could stay awake till the end.Infact at half time i dozed off and missed 34 seconds of the second half.But the second half proved worth the wait.Yellow finally started to dominate.But kudos to Italian defense.They have not conceded any goal till date to their opponents in these finals(The only one they conceded was off the boots of Zaccardo their own boy).And in quick attacks they dispelled all doubts by scoring 2 more. But can they pull off another Italian Job against Germany?Lets see.

Portugal Vs England :0-0 AET,3-1 PSO My predictions for this took a complete turn around.What the hell was that??.Portugal were missing on a few players(including Deco).And yet England managed to play such hapless football.The first problem in their side was the 4-1-4-1 formation.A strong team full of stars(thier midfield star line up beats Brazil too) needs to play in a more attacking formation.Sven Goran Ericksson doesnt agree to this though.He thinks its the same formation that helped England win against Ecuador.I pityhim.If anything won the game for England,it was Beckham’s free kick and the English defense.

And to top it all the 1 in 4-1-4-1,Rooney managed to get a red card shoving his own team-mate in Man U-Ronaldo.Had the whole country prayed for his leg to see this?Very irresponsible behaviour from such a player.Vain Ruiny.He proved to be their Nemesis.The match then on was about the portugese attack and the English defense.England did try somesubstituttions.They dint work too.Beckham also missed out most of the action beacause of an Injury.Another waste fellow in the team isCrouch.The giant’s height nearly ensures him a touch in every free kick,but the conversion rate is pathetic.After 120 tiring minute for English defense and Robinson in particular,The match went on for penalty shoot outs.England continued their pathetic history of losing penalty shoot-outs.All the big names,Steven Gerrard,Frank Lampard(has had 24 shots on goal but scoresheet says zilch) missed.I had bet that Gerrard would score even if the ball were to be 10 more yards away!!.Ricardo did a fine job.3 saves proved he is one of the alltime greats at net.And finally Cristiano Ronaldo took the decider for Portugal and sealed their berth in Semis.So the English finally bowedout.And Scolari is one step closer to another final.

France Vs Brazil:1-0!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Never had I thought that the french would get a victory review.I had thought of an article on Zidane’s farewell.The so called Zizou never ceases to surprise.I have to delay my article by atleast another match.Orwho knows?if he will French kiss the golden trophy again.The whole thing seems to be too much of a deja vu.1998 finals seemed to be coming liveagain.All the same names,Henry,Zidane,Thuram,Carlos,Ronaldo…. Zidane was seemed like he was in his early 20s.what energy!!!He showed even the Brazilians a trick or two(the stuff that we usually seeRonaldinho doing)and whats more,they were not tricks for the sake of it,they were a part of some brilliant passes.Brazil never seemed to have got the better of France.There were no shots on goal for Brazil for upto 70 minutes of the game.That is easily one of the most pathetic performances by a Brazilian team ever.France had a few nearmisses.Near the end of first half,Viera seemed to be well on the way to a goal,but was brought down.But finally in the  57th minute,Thiery Henrydeflected a free kick from Zidane past Dida and yo!! France lead(In the replay we could spot Roberto Carlos resting his arms on his thighs!! he was supposed to be marking Henry,Henry had no marking at all when he got his leg on the ball).With still more than half an hour to go,things were definitely not going to be easy for France.Despite that,they were the ones who still seemed to be creating more chances.Brazilians never found their form.Robinho came in,Kaka was taken off,but nothing seemed to work.Atlast Referee blew the 90 minute whistle.I think if I were in a spacecraft I would have seen some place west of Germany suddenly erupting in brilliant colors.French continued thier brilliant record against Brazil in World Cup Finals.(they lost to them the last time in Pele’s times-1958).And Brazil go home!!.

Predictions for Semis…

Germany vs Italy–Germany will have a tough time beating the Italiandefense.But i think they should win.May drag on to extra time.

France Vs Portugal– Portugal will win,but I dare not say comfortably.France seem to be breaking all barriers.

FIFA World Cup 2006,Round of 16 review..

Originally posted here on my ancient blog site.

Germany Vs Sweden:2-0
The Game began in a very rigorous fashion.Both teams were all charged up.Germany as it has been throughout the tournament,struckearly.Whats more,The two basically polish strikers seem to be in competition.Podolski scores twice,just as Klose did in two of the group stage matches.
With 2 goals under six minutes,Germany seemed to be overwhelming sweden altogether.And whats more,by the 35th minute Teddy Lucicmanaged to collect two yellow cards and was frankly shown the exit.Oneof the main features of the match was Ballack’s frustration.This guy sets up goals and everybody else gets the credit.This time he wanted atleast one for himself.But that was not to be.Tried lots of shots from 30 and 40 yards but only managed to come Klose;).Larsson sweden’s favourite son couldn’t have asked for more when he was fouled in the box and was awarded a penalty.But fate had it otherwise,It was not be sweden’s day at all.Larsson missed it and joined the league of great players likeBaggio(World cup-1994),Beckham(Euro-2004)
etc.who missed critical penalty shots.
In conclusion,should say Isaksson had a tough job to do.But for his wonderful saves sweden would not only exit,but exit in shame.
Germans ofcourse were flawless.

Argentina Vs Mexico:2-1
Another game of passionate football.Mexico had nothing to loose.Theywere definitely the underdogs.But everybody in the team seemed to have found their class finally.They did play like the world no.4 team. Argentina was in for a shock as captain Rafael Marquez netted it for mexico of a free kick from Pardo.Within minutes Argentina recovered asCrespo(or may be Borgetti or both together,crespo’s feet did touch the ball,but it looked like Borgetti’s head gave it a better direction) scored from a corner kick by Requelme.(Mexico’s Requelme for a dream??;).
The rest of the match was as expected full of fireworks from bothsided.But both couldnt find their target in the 90 minutes.Extra time play looked a little slower to begin with.
But all flared up when Rodriguez drew home probably the best goal so far in the tournament.A chest and then his left foot kick from 30 yards bent the ball better than beckham in to the nets.

So finally Argentina scraped through.

England vs Ecuador:1-0
This was a sad exit for Ecuador.Atleast i felt sad for them.The side had done really nothing wrong to loose
the game.It was just not their day.Carlos Tenorio’s kick saw the ball hitting the crossbar early in the game.That definitely was the defining moment of the game. And no goalkeeper could have stopped the free kick that Beckham hit from going into the net.Bulls Eye.So finally after many matches Beckham finds his free kick working.Ecuador had more of the ball throughout the match.But sadly couldn’t convert the manyoppurtunities.Lucky England scrape through again as they have been doing throughout the tournament so far.

Portugal Vs Holland:1-0
The dirtiest match in the history of world cup football.The first half could be somewhat called a match.The second half would be more aptly called the rugby soccer.Personally I being a supporter of Holland felt they deserved a better exit.Van Basten fielded Dirk Kuyt instead of the much
experienced Ruud van Nistelrooij thoughout the match.I feel that in a match of this importance,experience would have served better.And that having known that Portugal has been the nemesis of holland a lots of times before.
Maniche scored it for Scolari in a pretty brilliant manner midway through the first half.And then slowly things began to heat up.More shots came from Portugal but Van De Sar was always there to save them.AndRicardo nonetheless
proved why he is the highest payed Goalkeeper(The commentator wrongly referred to him as the costliest goalkeeper,poor fella,thats all he gets for his wonderful job)
4 red cards were generously issued(broke all previous records).In all 20 bookings were seen in the match.Of all i was frustrated the most when this smart Deco siezes the ball in his hands and then everybody is fighting for the
ball like we used to do in our kindergartens.At one point even Figo showed immature behaviour(they are considering to excuse him,I wish they dont).
All in all it finally came to an end for everybody’s good.But Portugal will have a hard time against England in the Quarter-Finals as they miss 3 players.

Italy Vs Australia:1-0

Australia suffered arguably the the most cruel exit i n this worldcup.Italy showcased a fantastic defense in the match as they were only 10 for most of the time.The first half was an equal contest with both tehsocceroos and the azurris creating oppurtunities.But in the early second half,Marco Materazzi got a red card for something I think at the maximum deserved an yellow card.Another of Referees’ many blunders this world cup.Then on,it was the Aussies who made all the moves.Butfate had something else in store for them.With the match moving into Injury time,everybody assumed it will go into extra time too.In the last 10 seconds of the match,Grosso was fouled grossly by Neil’s tackle in the box,And the referee says penalty.Grosso acted his part well,the crook even smiled as the referee rised his whistle to his mouth.Totti had to do it,lest he would follow Baggio too.And he did it too with a powerfulstrike.The match ended with it and the Aussies couldnt even have one last counter-attack.I think half the Aussie spectators wept.Italy are through.

Switzerland Vs Ukraine:0-0 AET, 3-0 PSO

Nothing much too say about this match.Both the sides were equals in almost all respects.Only that swiss were more of a team and Ukraine was more of Shevchenko.Neither teams gave way in the 90 minutes+the 30 minutes of extra time.So for the first time in these finals Penalty shoot out was played.Ukraine missed the first as Shevchenko missed.Yet again a hero fails to deliver.So the swiss looked better to begin with,but then they missed the first one 0-0.And not only did they miss that,they missed the next 2 too,while Ukraine scored the next 2 in succession.Gusev took the decider for Ukraine and scored and its game over for the swiss.

Brazil Vs Ghana:3-0

Referee frankly should have been declared the man of the match in thisgame.Ghana missed Essien,but the still played brilliant football and fared better than Brazil for that matter.They had greater share of the ball (58-42),they had more vigour in their movements,they had a better teamgame.The only thing they they lacked was referees favour.The first goal by Ronaldo was ofcourse a perfectly crafted one and I have nothing to argue about that.But as far as the second goal was concerned Adrianowas clearly offside(not once but twice)I think the Assistant Referee along the concerned boundary was busy enjoying Brazil’s movements that he forgot what he had to do with the flag in his hand.Really sad.This site–Official Match Report
doesnt even make a mention of whatever I saying here.MorevoerRatomir Dujkovik the serbian coach had to be at the stands for the second half.So ghana was in lack of inspiration.They went in lack of a man too late in second half when a long overdue red card was shown. In the second half Brazil played like cowards.Very different from what one would expect from such a high profile team.And seemingly out of thin air they pulled the next magic trick,Ze Roberto scored the third for Brazil after some 25 passes and a good run(beats the one Argentina did a few days ago by 1 in number but not definitely in class).So finally Brazil made it to the quarter-finals.

France vs Spain:3-1

The most exciting one of the Round of 16 matches.The match looked like going pretty much the spanish way in the beginning.And convincingly enough Spain scored first from a Penalty.The foul by Thuram ofcourse was so unnecassary.But the Referee got it right and it continued to be so.I think this was one of the fairest matches played.All decisions were spot on correct.France seemsd to have been jolted off their slumber by this.I have never seen them playing like that since they won their world cup 8 yrs against Brazil in the 1998 finals.Frank Ribbery scored his first goal for his country and such an important one at that.It was infact one of the most energetic movements with Viera that lead into a goal.In the second half,Spain dint look the part they were when they began their campaign in Germany.While France definitely seemed to have got back their confidence.The second goal came from Viera aided by a nasty free kick from Zidane.Finally when Spain was looking for an equilizer,Zidanefinished it with superb run and tackle and finding the net himself thistime.The goal was definitely worth the man.Soon Referee signalled the end of the match and the raging bulls headed home.France goes on to meet Brazil.

My Predictions for quarter finals

Germany will beat Argentina 2-1(this one is a little biased coz Germany is the only one among my favourite teams that still survives.The other two being Spain and Holland).

England will beat Portugal 1-0(coz Portugal vs Holland proved too dear for them)

Italy Will beat Ukraine 1-0(I dont see any reason why they should not)

Brazil will beat France by atleast 2-0.(Coz I dont think France will be twice lucky)

FIFA World Cup 2006.. group stages review

Originally posted here on my ancient blog site.

My busy friend Nikhil asked me to be his Harsha Bhogle, Now that i have done so much to compile this,i thought i will make it available to everyone.

here it is…(excuse me for my unprofessional approach,I mainly wrote it for my friend)

Favourites before the stage began..

Brazil,Argentina,England,Germany to some extent.
Favourites after..

Spain,Holland,Argentina,Germany.. Brazil and England dint perform as expected.

Group ‘A’:

Germany vs Costa rica,9th june:

The world cup festival began with a great match.. Germany crush Costa Rica 4-2,but the Germans had lots of questions to answer.. Why Llehmann Jens instead of probably the best
goaley of our times Oliver Kahn?After the Costa Rican second goal,stadium was filled with a roar
“we want KAHN,we want KAHN,we want KAHN”.
Klose as usual began in a great fashion finding the net twice.but the best goal was probably that by Torsten Frings that curved into the net from 30 yards.

Poland vs Ecuador,9th june:

The first upset comes on the opening day itself.Tenorio Carlos,Delgado Agustin score for Ecuador and Polish
hopes crumble as they still have Germany to play with.

The rest of the matches in group A went as expected.Ecuador swept past costa rica 3-0.
Germany came out on top by beating Ecuador convincingly 3-0.all debates about germany being a sloppy team,etc, end.They are hot favourites next only to argentina
after group stages.

So group ‘A’ standings…
Costa Rica

Players to look out for..

Klose(4 goals,top scorer in this finals so far),

Ballack(yet to score but has been the architect of many)
Podolski(strangely Klose and Podolsky,the key strikers are both from poland by birth)
Lehmann(For wrong reasons.he is the biggest blunderer Germany has on its side)

Group ‘B’:

England vs Paruguay,10th june: 1-0
A Lucky goal from a Beckham free kick converted by an ***h**e from Paraguay into his own net(Gamarra Carlos).Strangely enough he almost put paraguay in another
fix in the same match.Seems like he was playing for England.
Otherwise England aren’t having a good time.Lacklustre performance.

Trinidad and Tobago Vs Sweden,10th june: 0-0
Another short it was 1 vs 10 game. Hislop(the TNT goalkey,he was the substitute goalkey coz the main one was injured!!!!) vs the 10 swedish attackers.
I think he will be up for grabs in the coming years for his Goalkeeping.Seriously,The best I have seen.

Sweden vs England,20th june: 2-2
Lots of fireworks.Coz the one that loses plays germany next.England top the group even if they draw.Joe Cole the young prodigy of England gets his goal and a good one at that.
But Marcus Alback pinched one in the last few minutes and
they drew the match.England lead twice but were equalled both the times.

The rest of the matches went as expected.

Trinidad and Tobago

Players to watch out for..
Steven Gerrard(In full form)
David Beckham(Cant rule out his free kicks)
Frank Lampard(The fool hasnt scored even one despite having some 15-20 shots on goal)
Rooney(hype has killed his game to some extent,gets screwed by his markers)
Henrik Larson(not so reliable)
Marcus Allback(Good Striker)
Group ‘C’:

The tightest group..

Nothing much to speak here Holland and Argentina were too good for Ivory Coast(CIV),Serbia and Montenegro(SCG)
SCG is gonna split its team as the country got split this is their last tournament together.
Anyway it only means that serbia lose out on just one fellow in the main 11.

Both Holland and Argentina are full of youngsters.Although Nistelrooij(Nistelrooy) still plays,
He gets substituted every now and then.(btw i found out what that “van” means.. it means “from”. so Ruud van Nistelrooy is ruud from Nistlerooy and “van de sar” in “from the sar”
No wonder they have so many of them.

The best team-goal ever was scored by argentina with 24 passes.Cambiasso finished it.Eventually argentina Crushed SCG 6-0.The highest goal difference in these finals.

Holland-Argentina match was very boring.. ended in 0-0 draw.Not at all worth the trouble of waking up till 2:30.Although both the teams tried a lot and came close,they couldn’t finish well.

Ivory coast
Serbia and Montenegro

Players to look out for..

Lionel Messi(pekerman’s(coach) favourite believed to be the next Maradona.Maradona it seems is a fan of Messi already)
Riquelme(Argentina’s Beckham,rather the other way round.poor guy has to take all the free kicks has a role in almost all sexy passes and crosses.Holland marked him instead of marking the forwards and did well)
Tevez(messi’s partner in finishing the goals)

Van De sar.. The 197cm goalkey is the key to defending
Arjen Robben.. Striker
Van Persie.. Sets up goals nicely.

Ruud Van Nistelrooy.. Not ruled out yet.

Group ‘D’:

Too easy for Portugal. Dont go by the FIFA rankings.. It says mexico is 4th.Atleast it dint perform to the expectations.Filip scholari laughs his way to the knock out stage.

Mexico vs Iran:
Iran scored a stratling goal to give the lead in the beginnning.substitutions in second half
proved to be the winners.Mexico won 3-1.”Goal”Mohamadi scored for Iran.’
and Bravo scores twice.

Portugal(got full 9 points.)

Players to look out for..
Maniche(1 goal so far but lots of potential)
Deco(basically brazilian,so lots of magic)
Ricardo(highest payed goalkey)
Christiano Ronaldo(selfish ***ho**,can prove detrimental)
Luiz Figo(captain,still in form)

Bravo(bravo! bravo!)
Borgetti(Captain,experienced,good at tricks)

Group E:

U can call it the upset group.
Usa:rank 5,czech:rank 2.both kicked out of the tournament.

Czech republic vs USA..3-0
USA screwed thoroughly in their opeining match.
Czech seem as confident as they were in EURO 2004.

Italy vs Ghana goes as expected ..2-0 so ghana start as underdogs.

Italy vs USA.. very dirty match.3 red cards(equal to the record)
Italy scores 1st.but Zaccardo the fool scores an own goal deflecting a free kick(it was a tough one.
dont know how he managed to score was tough even if pele stood there and actually tried to convert it) so its 1-1.Whatever happened afterwards was not football.lots of quarrel.

Brian McBride of USA got elbowed so badly that he was bleeding profusely,Rossi got a RED card.In the second half USA followedsuit.more clashes,2 were sent out.
so it was 10 vs 9 in the end.

Czech Republic vs Ghana:0-2(no not 2-0)

Overconfident Czechs rested Milan baros,Jan Koller and gotCzechmated.This Essien from Ghana comes close to matching Messi.Wonderful play by him.
USA vs Ghana :2-1
So Ghana is in the last 16 and USA is out.
As Czech lost against Italy.


Players to look out for..
Francesco Totti(good old fellow still in the reckoning)
Del Piero(striker)

Michael Essien(could well go on to be the favourite youngplayer)
Appiah stephen(both midfielders)
Forwards unfortunately are not as good.
Otherwise the team rocks.

Group ‘F’:
Brazil scrapes through the first 2 matches against croatia and Australia.(1-0 in first and 2-1 in the second)
But they come back to form against japan.4-1.
Japan scored first.but the backlash was irresistable.
Ronaldo scores twice(the fool somehow gets a good pass)I dint see anything gr8 in those.(equals world record of Gerd Muller(a german gr8))

Australia vs Japan:
Japan scores a controversial first goal.Goaley was fouled when the ball went in. Referee screwed it up.
But thanks to some late substitutions. 3 goals in a span of last 10 minutes and Australia crush Japan 3-1.

Guus Hiddink is all smiles.Thinks he can redo what he did
with the underdog of underdogs in the last world cup,Korea(they reached semis,beat England on the way,
albeit with help generous help from referees)

Australia vs Croatia
the last match was critical for both Aussies and Croatia.. The winners would be thru..draw was enuf for Aussies though.
Aussies trailed twice in the match.but came back both the times.


Players to look out for..
All of them in the team.Though Ronaldinho is still
in search of his form.He jumps arnd like a monkey.Concocts wonderful tricks,but then gives the ball away.The rest are no good,all of them selfish.
too many stars is a problem too.


Tim Cahill(midfielder)

Group ‘G’:
Anything could have happenned in this group.close contests.I think what mattered was only luck
so wont speak in detail.But the arsenal striker Thiery Henry has disappointed many.Zidane is fine.

Switzerland(the only team that has not conceded a goal in these finals so far)
France(disappointing,only win was against korea,the rest were draws)
Togo(togo or not to go??anyway it goes)

Group ‘H’:
Spain vs Ukraine:4-0
Splendid start for spain.Bulls raging.
Become hot favourites.Later matches though make germany and Argentina favourites.
the team again is young.lacks nothing.

Ukraine vs Saudi Arabia:4-0
Ukraine is back.anyway Saudis are all worn out and aged.
they cant even stand there for full time.

Tunisia vs Saudi was a 2-2 draw
(they were in there own league,but it was interesting)
Sami al Jaber(captain) joins the league of ppl like pele,cruyf to score in 3 world cups!!!!
Ronaldo joined the league a few days later though.

Spain(full marks to them)

Players to look out for..
fernado torres(Name says it all,Torres the charging Ram(though a bull would be better))
Raul(experience matters,he proved it in match vs tunisia)
David Villa( young and energetic)
Cesc Fabregas(midfielder)
Pernia(another slightly old fella,good at free kicks)
so thats a gr8 league of players and unlike brazil,working in tandem too.