Wednesday, June 09, 2010

FIFA Flashback and my best teams for 2010 World Cup Soccer


Nothing excites me more than that World Cup. Over the past few years, I have been but smitten by only one game- Soccer. The curve of smite was however smoothly undulating. Sometimes, I had the tremendous urge to write a blog post during a live match but never went to the extreme of staying up late night to watch Barcelona vs. Real Madrid at the Bernabeu stadium. I know a couple of my nearies do that, sometimes even to the extent of skipping office, working from home or going late to work or skipping classes. For the matter of the fact, Spanish or any other league never excites me as much as the EPL. Soccer was born in England like Cricket and the passion surrounding the game in that country is overwhelming. However, seeing an amalgamation of top class players at the world stage is even more fascinating.

In 1986, as a very young kid, I vaguely remember something that took our small town by storm. It was like as if the phrase “Paint the town red” had an edit and Kalimpong was painted all in “Blue and White”. Yes, it was the Mexican wave that did a Tsunami to everyone. As I grew up, I realized that a GOD was born in the year 1986 who could whiz everyone with his magical left footer and could even get an invisible hand to create a spell at desperate times.

Then came the 90’s, Italia 90. The God was still there but an old man in his last world cup surprised everyone with his last burst of youth and exuberance- Toto Salvatore Schillachi. I was a devout of the God and was surprised to see my father support Italy. But, to my sheer delight, the Azzuris were beaten by the eventual runners up in the semifinals. Lost but there was always this inside happiness that “my team” beat  “my father’s”.

1994 and the GOD was sent home so quick that we never realized what hit us. Then, it was the Roberto Baggio and Romario love story and what a cruel end to Baggio’s career. 1998 and 2006 was all about the birth and death of Zidane. 2002 was all about the big Ronaldo. So, what looks like in store for this year?

All of us have favorites but assumption is the toughest task amongst all. Who would have expected Davio Suker  and Oleg Salenko to take the golden boot and teams like South Korea and Croatia to reach the semis. These lowly’s nearly made it to the coveted prize. However, having said that history has shown that only one out of the four in semis have been the lowly’s. The rest have always been the big cats of world soccer.

Many have predicted that there is going to be an African song this year. But, I would like to rule that out. European and South American football is well too ahead in terms of exposure and the extra mental strength. Of course, the African continent has nothing to lose and can play their heart and soul out but I don’t see them going past the Quarters. I am completely ruling out the Asians here.

An obviously debatable statement but I would rank perennial favorites Brazil and the rejuvenated English team as the best teams for this world cup.

Brazil has always shown the uncanny ability to rise like the phoenix(Recall the COPA America tournament starring Adriano? and not to forget their WC qualification campaign in 2002). That’s what champions are made up of…veins of steel!!  A five time winner will always have the strongest team in any sport.

England is also a very strong contender and that makes them the dark horse for the tourney. Capello’s men look rock solid on paper. Its been a long wait for the red and the white who won their only World Cup in 1966. Can Gerrard be that inspirational leader? Most certainly, I think so. Ahh! Remember the Champions League final not so many years ago?

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image SRC: Wikipedia and Google Image Srch

People would certainly agree or refute my statement but that is what this WC fever is about..

Everyone will have their teams but in the back of the mind, the million dollar question lingers:-

Which country will be crowned the 2010 World Cup Soccer champions?

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