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World Cup 2014

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Jordan Perez: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Jordan Perez hopes to be the Rock of Gibraltar, not Brazil.

What he said:

“Anything below seven goals and I’ll be satisfied as then we can say that we’re better than Brazil (routed 7-1 by Germany at the World Cup).” 

Amateurs Gibraltar take on world champions Germany in a mismatched battle in the European Cup qualifiers on Friday the 14th. Their goalkeeper Jordan Perez will be happy if they fare better than Brazil who lost 1-7 to the Germans in the World Cup semi-final this summer.

What he really meant:

“At least, our defence will be better (than Brazil’s) with me in citadel. We can’t just be torn to shreds even though our current record stands at 0-17.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Well, at least, our morale is higher than Brazil’s and we have no great expectations neither from our fans nor our press.”

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Luis Suarez: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Luis Suarez believes that a bitten opponent, unlike an injured one, is not damaged goods.

What he said:

“I know biting appals a lot of people, but it’s relatively harmless.”

Luis Suarez, in his book, “Crossing the line: My story” reveals his reaction to the four-month ban for chewing his adversary, Giorgio Chiellini, in the 2014 World Cup game against Italy.

Suarez writes:

“Had the ban stopped at nine Uruguay matches, I would have understood it. But banning me from playing for Liverpool, when my bans in England never prevented me from playing for Uruguay? Banning me from all stadiums worldwide? Telling me I couldn’t go to work? Stopping me from even jogging around the perimeter of a football pitch? It still seems incredible to me that, until the Court of Arbitration for Sport decreed otherwise, Fifa’s power actually went that far.

They had never banned a player like that before for breaking someone’s leg or smashing someone’s nose across his face, as Mauro Tassotti did to Luis Enrique at the 1994 World Cup. They made a big thing of saying the incident had happened ‘before the eyes of the world’. Zinedine Zidane headbutted Marco Materazzi in a World Cup final in 2006 and got a three-match ban.

I was an easy target, maybe. But there was something important I had to face up to: I had made myself an easy target. I made the mistake. It was my fault. This was the third time it had happened. I needed help.

After my 10-match ban in 2013 for biting Branislav Ivanovic, I had questioned the double standards and how the fact that no one actually gets hurt is never taken into consideration. The damage to the player is incomparable with that suffered by a horrendous challenge. Sometimes English football takes pride in having the lowest yellow-card count in Europe, but of course it will have if you can take someone’s leg off and still not be booked. When they can say it is the league with the fewest career-threatening tackles, then it will be something to be proud of.”

Suarez added:

“When Ivanovic rolled up his sleeve to show the referee the mark at Anfield, there was virtually nothing there. None of the bites has been like Mike Tyson on Evander Holyfield’s ear. But none of this makes it right.”

The Uruguayan star attempts to explain why he is cannibalistic on the pitch:

“The fear of failure clouds everything for me – even the blatantly obvious fact that I have at least 20,000 pairs of eyes on me; it is not as if I am not going to be seen. Logic doesn’t come into it.

Equally illogical is that it should be a bite. There was a moment in a game against Chile in 2013 when a player grabbed me between the legs and I reacted by punching him. I didn’t get banned for that. That’s considered a normal, acceptable response. When I called Ivanovic after the 2013 incident, he told me that the police had come to see him and asked if he wanted to press charges, and thankfully he had said no. I’m grateful to him, because the circus could have gone on for a lot longer. Punch someone and it’s forgotten, there is no circus. So why do I take the most self-destructive route?

The problem is that this switching off also happens when I do something brilliant on the pitch and, of course, I don’t want to lose that. I’ve scored goals and later struggled to understand how exactly I managed to score them. There is something about the way I play that is unconscious, for better or worse. I want to release the tension and the pressure, but I don’t want to lose the spontaneity in my game, much less the intensity of my style of play.”

What he really meant:

“It’s certainly harmless—for me. I don’t need my mouth to shoot goals; It’d be folly to bruise my feet,head or shoulders while foully taking my opponent down.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’m a man who believes in toothing my own horn.”

FIFA World Cup 2014: Germany triumph with Gotze wonder goal


Messi

Messi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During the Second World War, Brazil were the only South American nation to send an expeditionary force of a little over 25,000 people to fight the Axis forces in Europe.

In 2014, it was a group of 23 German footballers who lay siege to Brazil over a period of a month, finally seizing victory and the World Cup dismissing all opposition especially the two Latin American colossi, Brazil and Argentina.

At last, reunified Germany had its hands on the coveted trophy and the celebrations continue.

Mario Gotze scored the winning goal against Argentina in the 113th minute in spectacular fashion. It was but fitting that the goal that sealed the final was a classic beauty. The exhilarating goal-fest of a tourney ended in stellar style.

The best team triumphed. Lionel Messi, arguably the best player in the world, was disconsolate despite the Golden Ball award.

Messi could not carry his early form into the knockout rounds and his strike partners were much too wayward.

Jubilation for Germany and its fans; a tragedy for Brazil and Argentina.

The world awaits the next edition of the World Cup in Russia.

Sharapova knows not her Tendulkar; Neymar’s back’s out


Football player Neymar

Football player Neymar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar (Photo credit: ali_pk)

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova (Photo credit: D. Piris)

Its the 6th day in July; the semi-final line-up for the FIFA World Cup’s finalised and Petra Kvitova reigns supreme at Wimbledon once more.

In Brazil, it’s Brazil versus Germany and Holland versus Argentina.

Will it be an all South American final or an all European one?

Or is it to be a fifty-fifty split? Only the soccer gods know for sure.

Neymar’s horrendous ouster from the World Cup—kneed from behind by his Colombian opponent Juan Camilo Zúñiga—left a sour taste in the mouth.

Is this the end of Brazil’s World Cup?

Earlier in the week, Indian trolls had a field day hurling online invectives at Maria Sharapova for her insouciant response, “I don’t know who Tendulkar is.”

Does it really matter? Did Sharapova need to know who the demi-god of India cricket is to win her five slams?

For that matter, does Tendulkar need to be aware of tennis heroes and heroines to score on the cricket field?

Or do you and I need to know who the President of India is to do our jobs? Not unless your job needs you to know this trivia. But I digress.

Do you think Tendulkar cares that the ruling diva of women’s tennis does not recognise him or his name or his lauded achievements? He will probably breathe a sigh of relief that there’s one less bothersome fan in the world.

Is Sharapova to blame for her ignorance? Does it not have to do with the insular sports coverage of Western media specifically in Russia and the US? But why blame these states? How many Test-playing countries are there? Barely a handful.

Should Maria worry? Only if she’s seeking to package, market and sell Sugarpova in India, right?

Till next week. Adios, for now.

FIFA World Cup 2014: Suarez exits and so do Uruguay, It’s Brazil versus Colombia


Luis Suarez celebrates his Gol to put Uruguay ...

Luis Suarez celebrates his Gol to put Uruguay 1 – Netherlands 0 – Take 2 | 110608-6714-jikatu (Photo credit: jikatu)

It’s official. The first quarter-final of the FIFA World Cup 2014 features 5-time winners Brazil and winsome Colombia.

Escobar’s ghost be damned—the mafia don, not the footballer!

The rest of the line-up will follow over the next three nights.

Suarez! Talk about Suarez!

What about Luis, the man-eater of Salto, Uruguay?

The man sure has bite in him; both in front of goal and while gorging on all things edible.

His cannibalistic tendencies came to the fore in the final league game against ItalyGiorgio Chiellini, the victim of no love bite.

“A small bite for Luis Suarez, a giant one for Liverpool”. Indeed!

Soccer took a backseat while off-field jibes at Suarez hogged the world headlines.

Perhaps, some semblance of order will be restored this week when play on the football field returns to centre-stage.

Uruguayans, meanwhile, will mourn their country’s ouster from the World Cup; their favourite son—both saviour and devourer.

Till then, have a great week!

World Cup 2014: Ten days of Spanish haze and English daze


English: Joseph Blatter announcing 2014 World ...

English: Joseph Blatter announcing 2014 World Cup will be held in Brazil. 한국어: FIFA 회장인 제프 블래터가 2014년 FIFA 월드컵이 브라질에서 개최됨을 표시하고 있다. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

State Flag of Costa Rica

State Flag of Costa Rica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Messi

Messi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ten days into the soccer (or as the world prefers to term it, football) World Cup 2014 and it’s been a tale of upsets and surprises galore.

The Group of Death has witnessed sudden death for England; Costa Rica wielding the surgeon’s knife without actually playing their victims yet.

The defending champions, Spain, have done anything but defend; their citadel torn to shreds by the Dutch and the Chileans.

(I have not caught up with the games live; the interesting games are played early in the morning by Indian Standard Time (IST) but then there’s always the highlights capsule on Sony Six.  A time-saver indeed and less onerous on my beauty sleep and my health.)

What else?

France appear ominous and are the current favorites by anyone’s reckoning; the Dutch struggled against the Aussies. The socceroos were plain unlucky not to have a draw on their hands. They faded out of the tournaments gloriously indeed.

Costa Rica are the surprise of the tournament; can we anoint them ‘neo’ dark horses ahead of Belgium?

Argentina and Brazil have been less than impressive; Argentina faring slightly better with Messi performing the star turn on both occasions. Neymar is no Pele yet, is he?

That’s about all for now. Enjoy your World Cup! See you again, next week, maybe!

The 2014 FIFA World Cup logo is announced in J...

The 2014 FIFA World Cup logo is announced in Johannesburg during a ceremony with with CBF president Ricardo Texeira, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and FIFA president Joseph Blatter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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