The World Cup is drawing to a close with only 4 matches left to go! Those who are tired of reading my posts on football, bear with me for a few more days. Besides, chances are you are a woman and I've been giving you seriously hot eye-candy, haven't I? :)
Uruguay, Holland, Germany and Spain are the four teams that have made it to the semi-finals. Uruguay obviously cheated to get to this stage. One of their players - Luis Suarez - stopped a Ghana goal with his hands in the quarter-finals. He got a red card and Ghana got a penalty kick. Unfortunately for Ghana, they couldn't convert the penalty and were thrown out of the competition. Suarez is going around boasting about HIS "hand of God" (Maradona lovers and loathers will both be familiar with this phrase :). According to him, deflecting the ball with his hands was something he "simply had to do" to send his team into the semi-finals.
There's been a lot of debate in my office regarding this incident. Most people (men, who else) were of the opinion that what Suarez did doesn't qualify as cheating. He did what "he had to do" to help his team win the match, did it fully aware of the consequences and is paying the price for it. Besides, Ghana did get a penalty kick as a result and it's their problem they couldn't score.
I don't quite agree with this point of view. As far as I'm concerned Suarez cheated. That was not something he HAD to do. Imagine if all teams start blocking goals of the opposite team by their hands when they think they're losing the match!
In football, you can't rely on a second chance, as we saw in the Spain vs Paraguay quarter-final. Spain scored a penalty against Paraguay but it was disallowed because one of the Spanish players had crept inside the penalty area when Xaxi Alonso was taking the shot. On his second try, Alonso's goal was blocked by the Paraguayan goalie. The same happened with Ghana - they were denied a sure-shot goal by Suarez and they missed the penalty shot. I feel Suarez should've been banned for the remainder of the Cup, no less. There is something to be said about playing the game in its spirit.
Alas, I'm the only alone who thinks that way. But I really want the game to be cleaned up, and if there's one thing that football needs today, it's a hell lot of cleaning up!
Consider this...none of the teams today play fair. Not even Brazil and Spain, my favorite teams. Teams which play the most beautiful football, according to me. Players cheat and play-act (Arjen Robben, Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba take a bow) to fool the referree and win a free kick, corner or penalty. They push & shove players of the opposing team, tug at their clothes at the most critical moments, trip them, foul them intentionally... Every single team is guilty of it, the difference lies in the degree.
That's not what football is supposed to be though, and FIFA is being pig-headed about taking corrective action.
For one, they refuse to use video technology, leaving everything to the discretion of the referrees. This World Cup has seen horrendous referreeing errors - teams disallowed legitimate goals, players getting away with handling the ball... These human errors have proved expensive for teams and have even led to certain teams being ousted from the tournament!
The truth is that 3 referrees - one of whom is constantly running behind the ball - cannot keep their eyes on 22 players and the goal line at the same time. Only now, after severe criticism from several ex-players and outrage among football fans across the globe, has FIFA agreed to "consider" the use of video technology in football.
FIFA's refusal to evolve the game is also reflected in the way it allows players to get away with play-acting, pushing & shoving other players, handling the ball etc. The use of video technology along with clear rules regarding on-field conduct and apt punishment for players who break those rules is the only way to clean up the beautiful game. Without it, football will always remain a street game.
As far as the on-going World Cup is concerned, with the Samba having gone out of the tournament, I have little to look forward to. There's not much left to say regarding what I think of Uruguay. I'm not a fan of the Netherlands, nor a fan of Germany's brand of football.
I'm with Spain all the way. I know that the Germans, who have been winning mainly on the basis of their physical strength and speed, are going to go for the shots. The Spainish defenders might find the German forwards too difficult to restrain. Spain's game is a treat to watch. I'm not sure it would be enough to restrain the blitzkreiging Germans though.
A Holland-Germany final is the last thing I want.
Here's your eye-candy for the day, who is also a Rock Star and the man I'm banking on heavily to take Spain to the World Cup 2010 finals...