Saturday, July 10, 2010

FOOTY MANIAC: World Cup 2010 Finale - The Cruyff Legacy

Hmmm..baru aku perasan..dah lama tak tukar skin untuk blog yang hambar ni. Patut la tak nampak menarik. Kosong...

Eh, ke aku yang dah lama tak update blog?? Hahaha....Last update January?? Smirkk...

So the last entry was about 32 teams completing the list after gruesome qualifying round for 2010 WC. And now it's down to the last 2 between Spain and Holland for the most coveted trophy in the world. The 2 teams that have one thing in common : Johan Cruyff's blueprint. Cruyff as some of us know, is the inventor of the so called 'total football' where it is a game of rapid one-touch passing, whirling, overlapping, top-paced thinking symphony and players endlessly swapping positions in search of space. Before that, the game was too direct, the striker was just a striker and the fullback was just a fullback. After that, every player has to be a playmaker. It was first introduced in Ajax Amsterdam and then Barcelona when he became the coach for those 2 clubs during the 80's. And the same philosophy is now implemented in both national teams' playing style.

The only different for both teams is that Spain has some advantage in implementing that kind of philosophy - the engine or the midfielders. While Wesley Sneijder is the only Dutch midfielder that can be architect or engineer for such style of play, Spain has 3. With the midfield axis of Xavi, Iniesta and Alonso - well known as the best passers in the world, it's easy to imagine which team will dominate the game. As Cruyff once said "If we have the ball, they can't score". For those who want to know how the philosophy can be put in great effect, just look back at the goal scored by Spain against Portugal. And as always, I'll put my bet on the current no 1 national team in FIFA ranking.

So back to the World Cup, all I can say, it's been a tournament full of dramas, contoversies and surprises. Herewith my pick for the moment best remembered from this year's edition:

1. Vuvuzelas and Jabulani - The 2 things that many people wish should never be invented
I can't understand how 'ordinary' people can stand the sound of vuvuzelas while watching football in the stadium. While worldwide viewers who watch live football from the TV think it's the most annoying thing in the world, the goalkeepers have different opinion- it's the Jabulani, the unpredictable, hard to handle ball created by Adidas. And NASA is considering to use the ball for scientific research....Wow...

2. Paul - The octopus who received death threat for picking-up his meal from a box.
Forget technology, forget mathematics, forget human instinct. Now there's another way to predict the outcome of a game and it come from a sea creature called Paul The Oracle. The octopus who was born in England and raised in Germany, received death threat from Germans fan for predicting Spain win over Germany. And now Spanish Prime Minister is offering political asylum for the poor octopus...

3. Luis Suarez's Hand of God ver 2.0 sent Ghana packing
It's regarded as 'the save of the tournament' but it's actually not from a goalkeeper, it's from a striker. It's the last minute of extra time and with the goalkeeper stranded somewhere on the pitch, it's now up to two Uruguayan players to save the ball coming towards the goal. The first try to make a safe with his left hand but he missed the ball. And then come Luis Suarez, with using both hands, managed to keep the ball away. The ref saw it, give him the red card he deserved, Gyan took the penalty which should definitely sent Ghana into the Semi Final, he shoot the ball straight to the bar and off to heaven, and the ref blew his final wistle for penalty shoot-out in which Ghana lost. Owh what a match...

4. Holland beat the (not so) mighty Brazil
In the first half, it's all about Brazil's Joga Bonito. In the second, it's all about pathetic Felipe Melo - Labelled as Italian Seria A flop of the season. He first conceded an own goal and then a red card. He failed to listen to his father's advice to always keep his temper down and he even ignore Ronaldo's warning to not come back to Brazil. When he landed in Rio and expecting warm of applause from awaiting fans, it's only Julio Cesar who got that, and the whole batalion of Brazillian army was deployed to protect him from the raging crowd.

5. Maradona mistakenly recognized Thomas Muller as a ball picker.
England beaten by the Germans 4-1 in the last 16. And then come Argentina expecting to slay the young Germans in Quarter but eventually conceded the same number of goals. And the first goal scored by the 20 year old boy Thomas Muller, who he thought just a normal ball picker during a press conference prior to the match. The boy must be having the last laugh....

6. The mysterious North Koreans
North Korea came to Africa as the weakest team in the tournament and also as the least known team. In the first match, they shocked the world when some of the players were filled with tears when listening to their national anthem and then they shocked the world again by scoring against Brazil in their 2-1 defeat. In the second against Portugal, they gave the audience some entertainment by allowing seven goals went into their net. Against Ivory Coast, they conceded 'just' 3. There're some reports saying all the players have been sent to coal mine upon arrival at their homeland for humiliating Kim Jong-il.

7. The tale of two captains.
After the final wistle blown during the game in which Italy lost to Slovakia that denied them a spot in the last 16, some of the Italians went to the ground in tears. Then come the captain, Fabio Canavaro trying his best to console the heart-broken Italians while at the same time trying his best to keep his tears from pouring down so that nobody will see him as a 'weak' leader. On the other story, after the final wistle blown during the game in which Portugal lost to Spain in the last 16, some of the Portugese did the same as the Italians. But the captain, Cristiano Ronaldo never bothered to give them some motivation, and walking alone instead. When he came across a camera, he looked straight at it, and spit at the other side. What a loser.....

8. Rooney against England
What would you do if your favourite player did not perform at his best? A. Give him a standing ovation B. Sing his name C. Boo him... For England fans who forked out a lot of money and spending a half day journey to come to Africa, they obviously chose C after the game against Algeria. And what would you do if you were booed by your own fans? A. Give apologetic gesture. B. Pretend not listening C. Confront them. Apparently Wayne Rooney has other solution. He sent the message to the whole of England by shouting to a live camera "Nice to see your own fans booing you. If that's what loyal support is ... for f***'s sake." Obviously he didn't care whether the Queen is watching the game live.

9. France fall to pieces
They were the champion in 1998. In 2006, had it not because of Zidane's headbutt, they could've won it again. But this time around, getting past the group stage can be considered as their best achievement only that they didn't. It all started during the training camp in Swiss where they spent the whole training session climbing mountain resulting in Lassana Diara suffered bad stomach and missed the whole tournament. And then after two uninspiring result, Nicholas Anelka thought he's had enough and gave his honest opinion to Domenech that the coach is a son of w***e. He eventually been sent home before the final game against South Africa, and the rest of the players show their support to Anelka by didn't show up during training for that crucial game that could send them into last 16. And the rest is history.....

10. Why on earth do the final game scheduled on Sunday night (Monday 2.30 am Malaysian time)??
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