Friday, June 18, 2010

French Demise, Serbian fightback, bad refereeing, club vs coountry....etc

France's humiliation was completed when the 37-yr Blanco ran from some 20 yards (his run up was almost as long as Prasad's) and slotted the penalty past Lloris. Indeed, the French have, on paper, have some of the world's most talented players, players playing in Europe's elite clubs. But Club Vs Country is one of big debates in football. Do all players place/give equal importance to their countries as much as their clubs? When you saw the ease with which Barrera (the right-winger of Mexico) cut inside Evra and cut back out into the French "D" before winning rhe penalty, I was thinking to myself, "Would Patrice Evra allow any winger to do this in the English Premier League when he is paying for Manchester United?"....."HELL NO".....
Arsene Wenger, a couple of months back, said that it is the club which pays the player. And these players are being payed by their respective clubs even while they are playing in the world cup. But he said that in the context of who should decide if a player is fully fit to play in the international matches - club or country. In a competition, as elite as the World cup, it was sad to see a high-class defender give up the ghost. Actually, a lot people ask me "Why do football players (like Vander Sar, Scholes) retire from international football and continue playing for their clubs......the answer is simple-- because they are BS ManU players!....hehe......
Actually, it is simlar to asking why did Brett Lee and Flintoff reitre from test cricket and continue playing T20, ODIs and IPL.....It is human nature.....IT IS MONEY!!

Serbians, who were one of the most impressive teams in the world cup qualification matches, took on the Germans after having lost to Ghana. They were pretty much up against it and against a buoyant German side who had demolished the Socceroos 4-0! The referee, however, tried to hog the limelight and did not allow the match to flow.... He made too many stopages, brandished yellow cards for fun, and before you knew Germany were reduced to 10 men. Then, during half time, the referee thinks about what he did and comes out in the second half, tries to compensate, and allows players to get away with tackles which they wouldn't otherwise. "2 wrongs dont make 1 right".....they say. Klose, who always shows up in the world cups with goals from head or boot, would consider himself very unlucky. He will also miss Germany's important next match against Ghana. The Serbs went on to win, thanks to a Jovanivic (who has signed a contract with Liverpool) goal and Stojkovic (Wigan goalie) penalty save. The penalty was conceded after a moment of madness from Red DEVIL Namaja Vidic. There is no questioning the commitment of this "monster", but he does commit some outrageous fouls like this one- extending his arms out in the penalty box. Serbian victory setup a very intriguing finish to this group, which could be an alternative group of death, with only 30 spots seperating the 4 countries in terms of FIFA rankings. I dont think it will be as easy for Ghana against Australia as people think. The Socceroos, even though without Cahill, will come out and fight for their lives. An Aussie victory (unlikely, but possible) would leave all 4 countries on 3 points in the group and setup a mouthwatering final day.

Meanwhile, the Wimbledon draws have been announced. Federer's first major threat would be Tommy Robredo in the 3rd round. Andy Roddick faces Rajeev Ram in the first round.....Rajeev Ram is from the US :(.......But there is some hope for the Indian tennis fans. Harsh Mankad (with his Serbian partner Ilija) has qualified for the doubles. We also have Somdev, Bopanna, Paes and Bhupati (in the doubles).

Meanwhile does anyone know that Asia cup is on. Too many ODIs, too much cricket??
The first match, though, was pretty exciting. Shoaib Akhtar coming back and picking up 3 wickets, Afridi's century, Pakistan's collapse..... I want to watch a 5-match test series involving India.......the last time that happened was in 2002 against the Windies.......!

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