Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

If you were wondering when the quality of matches in the knock-out stages would really shine through, I think that has already been answered. The first semi-final between Germany and Italy that was won in the absolute dying moments of the match and quite deservingly, Italy prevailed.

One of the fastest games of the Cup so far, Italy always held the upper hand and also created more chances. That their keeper was up to it when it came to thwarting any German attempts was also proof that Italy was the better team. Let’s hope they can keep this up for the finals.

As for the second semi, I think Portugal have a better chance and will also be able to fight Italy better in the finals.

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Withdrawal symptoms

There was Super Saturday/Sunday. And then there is dull Monday. And not just because it’s Monday. Sure I hate Mondays irrespective of the facts I am about to mention, but the kind of action-packed Saturday we just had, makes this Monday even worse.
Check this out: There was the F1 race (the US Grand Prix, eventually won by Schumacher, senior), then there were the fabulous World Cup quarterfinal games, then there was the Cricket match between India and the West Indies (and India won!), there was Wimbledon and Agassi’s retirement and the incredible ODI between England and Sri Lanka that Sri Lanka won rather convincingly and I hope I have not missed out on anything!
As I write this, the only thing I have to look forward to are the matches at Wimbledon (hoping that there is no rain).
Withdrawal symptoms are setting in already and this is a sign of what life would be like post July 9. For that is the day on which the World Cup ends, Wimbledon ends and the Indian team are back home. So all we have for about a month thereafter are the occasional F1 races, the odd Tennis game and England v Pakistan. Not that Eng v Pak is bad, but it’s not exactly India. Who would the whipping boys be?
Alas and alak, there will be no more sport of this frequency for a long time to come. Someone, gimme a pill to overcome this.

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Some of the best photos from the 2006 FIFA World Cup…
Fans, Stars, Round 2, Plays of the Day and even Quarter finals.

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Germany v Sweden (June 24).
Result: GER 2-1 SWE
Key players to watch out for: Ballack, Klose, Podolski (he now has a goal!), Ljungberg, Ibrahmovic, Larsson.

Argentina v Mexico (June 24).
Result: ARG 2-0 MEX
One-sided. Also, too many Argentinians to mention to watch out for!

Italy v Australia (June 26). Result: ITA 2-1 AUS
Will be a tight, physical match. Italy will pull through thanks to past experience.
Watch out for Viduka, Kewell, Moore and Totti (if he is mentally fit!)

Spain v France (June 27).
Result: ESP 1-1 FRA (Penalties: ESP)
The best match up at this stage… could also be the first matcht to go to penalties. Raul v Henry, Zidane, phew! Quite a match, this!

Others:
ENG 2-0 ECU
SUI 2-0 UKR
BRA 3-0 GHA

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Mr Sportolysis has some interesting World Cup photos. Wish there were actual people photos of this, though!

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Four matches, two almost-knockout and we are nearing the do-or-die stages of the 2006 FIFA World CupTM

Group A is pretty much sorted with Germany and Ecuador on 6 points each and no chance for anyone else to go through. Their match would in effect be important in deciding who they play in the second round. And that’s where it gets tricky.

Germany would start favourites in this match and would therefore finish top of the group in a position to play the second placed team in Group B. This would depend on how the two matches in that group-to be played after the Group A matches-turn out. England should beat Sweden and end with 9 points. As a result, Sweden would end up with just 4 points and be at the mercy of the result from the Paraguay v Trinidad & Tobago match. On current form, one would have to bet their money on T&T. A win would take T&T on to 4 points and put them on level terms with Sweden. And then it comes down to goal difference. Sweden would come out top on that. So considering this to be the worst case scenario, Sweden are well placed to go through, unless they lose so badly that their goal difference takes a beating.

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Check out a piece written by yours truly for Hafta Mag, the new online super-mag!

Cheers.

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Just about 10 matches and the World Cup is well and truly kicking! The best matches so far would be a close contest between Germany and Costa Rica and the more recent Mexico v Iran one. Yes, the Swedes got an early shock being held to a 0-0 draw by lowly Trinidad and Tobago, and even the much fancied England had a close match against Paraguay. Portugal too, did their best, but Angola held on for a respectable 1-0 scoreline.
Can’t wait for Brazil to show up now!

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So the action kicks off today! And who will lift the cup? Brazil? I don't think so. It's actually more like I don't hope so. I've had enough of Brazil is this and that… they may be all this and all that, but frankly, it's time someone else lifted the cup. Three consecutive finals (94, 98 and 02) is enough. Despite that, though, I would put them as one of the favourites and good enough to make the semis if not better.

So here is my second round line-up. Get the sheet to play this yourself here.

Round 2
Germany v England
Argentina v Mexico
Italy v Croatia
France v Spain
Sweden v Poland
Portugal v Netherlands
Brazil v Czech Republic
Ukraine v Switzerland

Quarterfinals
Germany v Argentina
Italy v Spain
Sweden v Netherlands
Brazil v Switzerland

Semifinals
Argentina v Spain
Netherlands v Brazil

Final
Argentina v Netherlands

Winner: Netherlands

I really do want the Dutch to win. But this is really based on how good their team looks right now. Unfortunately, knowing their luck, they could just cop it in the semis! They have a weak spot against the underdogs!

Any takers?

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Leander Paes reminds me of the Duracell ad (or was it the Energizer one?) where the bunny (I think it was Duracell) just keeps going on and on and on (or maybe Energizer…). 17 years he’s been there and will be around for some more. One hopes. Either way, he has more then outlasted both Energizer and Duracell together!

And Hesh was right in saying that “It had to be Paes”.

Greg Chappell has introduced a way of ‘capping’ new players. Commendable and I agree with this report that Sunny will be happy!

Unfortunately, Indiatimes.com seems to have no respect for the nations sporting (or other) icons. Take a look at this slideshow and you will know. More specifically, this line [from here]: “This sporty siren is sure to get you all worked up in the bedroom. The spunky gal will not be a passive partner so get ready for some fireworks!” is what has me up in arms.
Rather distasteful considering it’s 20-year-old Sania Mirza they are referring to. She is the one sportswoman who has worked hard and made the country proud. This is no way to write about her as if she were some bimbette. In very poor taste.

And where was I when this happened? Last I checked, I was discussing the Sri Lanka – West Indies Test with dad!
Jokes apart, I wish this were true. At least then, players (and not just stars) like Sania Mirza would get their due. In a post-match interview after she progressed to the quarterfinal of the Cincinnati Open, she is quoted to have said "The focus in India has turned from cricket to tennis, so that's exciting."
She's young and has moved from No. 400 in the world to 70-odd in a year (and probably better now after this tournament). Her fan following has grown humongously but let's face it… cricket still rules.
I am a huge fan of Sania's and would watch all her matches but cricket remains the religion it always was.
Maybe she can change it… ?

Pic: Tournament