To those interested in football,this may be an interesting read where I,Mahesh and Chandan have done an analysis of the main countries that participated in 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Pradeep:They won unexpectedly, against all odds, especially against the backdrop of the betting scandal. Full Credit to Buffon, Cannavaro, Pirlo and their robust defence. The coach should be given a special mention for the tactics used-a strong defensive strategy with stretches of aggression when required (eg. Germany match). Not exactly everyone's dream team with their style of play- defensive and rough but efficient enough (no better example than Matterazi) and probably not the best team here. Cannavaro should have got the Golden Ball.
Mahesh: I am sorry to disagree with you on this. I though Italians were the better team in the world cup. This is proven by the goals conceded by then in the tournament ( Only 2 and that too one was a penalty and one an own goal). Also they have scored some 7-10 goals in all, which shows that the Italians deserved to win the cup. Also Materrazi was not rough. All defenders are rough and they ought to be. With Forwards of Portuguese falling like trees struck by lighting ( without any contact with the defenders), one cannot expect the defenders to be perfect all times. To give u an example Lucio ( Brazilian Defender) did not commit even a single foul until the match against France where when he saw that Brazil were loosing made a very bad tackle and got an Yellow card for that. I think that was the only foul he committed. Hence Materrazi is not to be blamed. And as far as the exchange of words between Zidane and Materrazi, it always happened in Football and is not a new issue. Zidane should have kept his head. Hence I pronounce Italians and Argentines as the best team in this world cup with special appreciation to Ukraine and Spain.
Chandan:The whole of Europe's betting markets had pinned their hopes on Italy. Surprisingly, even in India, total bet on Italy was to the tune of Rs.200 crore. I am not very sure of the the amount, just heard on the TV. But to me, Italian team was far more flamboyant than Germans. Perhaps its the only European team that demonstrates some amount of artistic approach to the game, rather than the normal mechanical approach of European soccer players. After Roberto Baggio's exit, never heard of an Italian player who can change the face of the game...Del Piero was just about okie, given his age...perhaps time to hand his boots...
Pradeep: Zizou’s brilliance and renaissance took them to the finals after a rather lousy start. He tarnished his image with that one act of idiocy (despite whatever the justification may be) and that was more depressing. Strong tactical game, ably supported by Ribery, Henry, Thuram and Makele helped them to almost pull off an impossible World Cup triumph. It's an end of an era for French football with most of them probably retiring after this.
Mahesh: France is good when Zidane is good. Let us see what happens now as Zidane, Viera, Makelele, Thuram, Gallas are all on the wrong side of 30's and are going to retire within an year to two.
Chandan : My second favourite team after Argentina...After some magical display on the field during the second half, I thought, France would be declared the worthy champions. To have defetaed Brazil so convincingly, I thought for sure that they have the cup in their hands...but as luck would have it...Azzuris lifted it. And by all means Zidane was much better than that...Sunday's match proves onething that there is a thin line that seperates the good from the great...within few seconds Zidane lost all the greatness...proved he was a mere mortal...
Pradeep: Klinsmann changed their style of play from German efficiency to flamboyancy and it brought in crowds. A team sans superstars (sans Ballack), played exciting football but were defeated by the Italian fortress. Klose and Podolski were supported well by Ballack, Lahm and Frings but then Klinsmann's inexperience in handling the opposition when he went defensive in the semis cost them a berth in the finals.
Mahesh: Germans were good with the crowd behind them. With Klinsman resigning let us hope they will still be good. Ballack is now plagued by injuries and the fact that he is going to join Chelsea( the second best club in football now after Barcelona), his chances of being the play maker will be put into real test coz of the all star team Chelsea posses ff.( Lampard, Makelele, Gudjohnsen, Drogba, Robben, Gallas, Carvalho, Del Horno, etc, etc etc)
Chandan : I never expected they would play the Semis...
Pradeep: Full credit to Scolari for taking Portugal to the semis. A hard-nosed approach to the game where only winning matters was his policy and it did not endear him to the connoisseurs of the game. Ronaldo is their best player but Portugal has a long way to go.
Mahesh:Portugal were a very good team. But they chose not to win any hearts after the world cup with their exceptional Diving. They chose to play diving rather than football. even after repeated criticism they were as they were. This makes a very bad impression on the team.I feel sorry for them. With Scolari going to retire and Ronaldo being booed away in any match they play from now they are going to be a sorrow team for the future. Figo, Pauleta, Nuno Gomesare all going to retire. The only bright spot is Deco, Costinha, Ricardo, Carvalho and Ronaldo.
Chandan : Deserved to get defeated. Am a little to harsh on them, I know....but they simply deserved too. Ronaldo is extremely talented, but he, along with some other team mates need to know that they are playing as a team and not individuals...hardly anyone seems willing to sacrifice their balls for the good of the game and the team. The best of all players are known beacuse of their play making skills and not for their goal scoring skills, barring may be Ronaldo, Batistuta, Romario and a few other players..Players like Maradona, Pele, Suker, Platini, Cryuff, Zidane...there have been so many times that they would have fancied their own chances...
On the move I heard that Louis Figo was also in the team! Where?
Pradeep: Probably the best team in the championship but they did not deliver their best when it mattered. Coach Pekerman had all the weapons but choose to hide them in the closet instead of using them. In the QF against Germany , he rested Riquelme, Crespo in the 2nd half and did not play Saviola and Messi (the team's best strikers) and was duly rewarded with a knockout punch by Germany . The defensive approach probably cost them the trophy which was sad considering they scored 2 outstanding goals â the remarkable 24 pass goal by Cambiossa (against Serbia-Montenegro) and the brilliant left foot goal by Rodriguez (against Mexico). They are a very young and talented side and would probably play many of the same guys in the next World Cup.
Mahesh: Argentina have always been the best side in a world cup whenever they play ( Except 2002). They are going to go places and being a very young squad is going o help them I think I will forgive Pekerman for his mistakes and hopes that he strings the team together and lead Argentina to lead to glory in 2010. I am on Argentina for 2010.
Chandan : My all time favourite team...Argentina seems to be heavily inspired by the European football style. Till the times of Maradona, Ortega, Batistuta, football was still an art form...but the current team somehow prefers the 'European Mechanical' approach to the game. Do whatever you do best. If I am putting it correctly, even the way the penalties were taken by the Argentina players some 12-16 year back were different than the way they are taken now...
Oh Maradona!!! Where art thou my lord?
Pradeep: The media made them demi-gods and they played in a way which was a disgrace to the Samba style. Ronaldinho and Kaka were disappointments; Roberto Carlos, Juninho, Cafu were over the hill in terms of age and Ronaldo, well, weâll say he broke the record and leave it to that..A set of great footballers played and partied but never really remembered that there was a World Cup going on and they were rightly shown the door by a resilient France . Hopefully, they will introspect and come back with a bang the next time. World Football needs Brazil .
Mahesh: Like France Brazil were deeply dependent on Ronaldinho. If he performs then Brazil will be glorious again. Brazil have an able replacement in Adriano for Ronaldo. I predict a Quarterfinal for Brazil in 2010 unless an outstanding player develops into he four years who can lead Brazil to glory. Every world cup have produced an outstanding player for Brazil who has become the talisman for the next world cup. Unfortunately there happened to be none in this world cup. I hope good for them.
Chandan : I do not know Pradeep if you have noted,Ronaldinho has some serios issues with Ronaldo. He would put the ball to Ronaldo only when he had no one else to pass the ball...One thing is certain too much of ego on the ground. I wonder how does the team manager manages the team. The only find of the team was Robinho (the young lad who really put his heart and soul...I hope I have got his name correctly)
Pradeep: The media did the best they can to hype them up and they came down crashing. Sven’s tactics were roundly criticized and their defensive game did not bring cheer even to the die-hard English fan. They struggled their way to the quarters and the only time they entertained was when Rooney was sent off against Portugal for blowing his fuse. Owen was injured in a freak accident; Gerrard and Lampard struggled throughout and the poor lad Rooney could not handle it all alone. Sven’s finally gone having burnt English pockets with his exorbitant pay and never tiring libido.
Mahesh: Hope to see Rooney to cool his head and play along well. With Beckham almost certain not to play in Steve Mclaren's Side from August, we will get to see a lot of Aaron Lennon and Shaun Wright Philips ( another talent not included in England squad). Also with Owen Hargreaves doing good it will be a stiff competition to Lampard and Gerard. I though Gerard was the outstanding player in the England squad even though he was not near to his performances. Incidentally this was the first match that England lost with Peter Crouch playing in the team. Crouch is going to be real good. With Owen's career almost as good as gone it will be Crouch and Walcott who will be coming up. I give them a semi-final in 2010 world cup and a final in Euro 2008. But if Rooney plays well with Lampard and Gerard then only GOD can stop them from winning.
Chandan : One moment of brilliance...the Beckham goal....Utterly dissapointing perfromance by the Gerrards..the Lampards and the Rooneys (again a selfish player like Cristiano Ronaldo)...Poor guy Owen, after Beckham the only sensible member of the side...or so it seemed
**Crouch should have been born in the Shakespearean era, and acted the motley fool in those plays.
Thanks for improving my knowledge on Football... It was nice to read, but you guys missed another important team... JAPAN Yes though they did not perform well in the league matches, but the samurai blues definitely require some analysis.. As far i know there are some young talent like Nakamura, Oguru, Tanamada, who if performs well can take the team to higher level... But with the star studded Nakata announcing hi retirement at an age of 29, is definitely a major setback for the Japanese team. I would definitely expect the samurai blue to reach the semi final in 2010... Not an expert in analyzing, but these are the information I see on Japanese TV..