Tuesday, July 11, 2006

On The World Cup Final...

There are times in our lives when we must accept defeat.
It was my turn last night.

To call the France-Italy final thrilling is an understatement. If you have an iota of adrenaline in that body of yours, you spent three hours last night clenching your fists, dropping your jaws, jumping like jack, moaning like whores... the works.

To call it fair, would be an insult to sportsmanship. Players of both teams cemented there place in "football's most shocking tackles." Please exclude Gatusso on account of his honesty, spirit and sheer love for a good challenge. No Mr.Canavarro, for all your brilliance in the finals, your credibility must be put to test after yesterday. There are times when the means don't justify the end.

To call it fantastic, I would have to be Italian. To call it disappointing, I would have to be French.

But to call it memorable, I would have to love football. And for the benifit of my credibility, let's keep it this way.

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The match strategy was a no-brainer. It was always going to be a clash between the Azzurri wall and Zidane's prowess. The Italian defence jumped, dived, tackled and stole the ball at every opportunity they got. These 'opportunites' were mysteriously limited to everyone who's name was not Zidane.

I think the Italians got it wrong. They walked on to the field believeing if they stopped Zidane, they could stop Les Bleus.

Umm... Stop Zidane? If Pele was the master who conjured goals for Brazil and Maradona the challenger who battled his way to the back of the net, then Zidane is definately the mystic who's touches could give you and me a reason to score.

To add insult to injury, Zidane put a cheeky penalty past the world's most expensive goalkeeper in the 10th minute of the match.

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Italy equalized with a brilliant header from Materazzi in the 17th Minute. It was 1-1.
The halftime scoreline was no different.
Game On.
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As an ardent French supporter and a close follower of the team strategies, I knew Domenech would outsmart Lippi. France have been visibely better in the second half of most matches in these finals. Think Togo, Think Spain.

And so it was. The French set the pace in the second half, passing brilliantly and creating chances. They came closest to scoring with Zidane's header in the 80th, brilliantly saved by the Neo Nazi Buffon.

Italy had a couple of chances on the counter attack but nothing to write home about except Pirlo's free kick, perhaps.

At some point in time substituions were made.
Del Piero and Joaquinta on for Italy. Darra and Wiltord on for France.
I'm sure the Italians remember Wiltord, who scored the golden goal in the Euro 2000 finals.

90 minutes. Still 1-1. Extra time.
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The first period of exra time got over. Five minutes into the second, most of us were mentally readying ourselves for the penalty shoot out.

But what happened next was an unforseen aberration. A moment of madness, perhaps.
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For me, France lost the match the moment Zidane was sent off.
I cannot narrate, in words, the magnitude of disbelief I felt when I saw the replay of the incident.
I did not want Zizou to go off, but I understand that such behaviour is not permissible within the realms of an allegedly non-contact sport.
(Whisper: Louis Figo... Are you listening? I'm typing this in tiny font so that not too many people get to know about what you did against The Netherlands)

France, and I, was devastated. For a moment I almost thought of Zidane as just another man, capable of reaction.

France lost 5-3 on penalties. I couldn't sleep. Throughout the day today, I kept thinking of what happened in those few seconds.

When I came home in the evening, my brother mentioned that what Zidane did was, apparently, on account of racial comments.
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I guess Materazzi proved to be a better tactician than Lippi. What Lippi couldn't achieve with a combination of his team's skill and sheer willingness to play dirty, Materazzi achieved with a few, carefully chosen slurs.

Way to go Nazi Materazzi. I'm sure the joy of winning the World Cup surpasses any guilt that may have arisen from your disappointing display of sportsmanship.

As for me, I'm on my way to an arms and ammunition dealer and I have a one way ticket to Italy.
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12 comments:

Ujjwal said...

what an analysis..thinking of linking ur blog with mine

Ujjwal said...

Infact, I just added it..as a link from my blog..check it out :)

Anonymous said...

Dude, my contribution to your hallowed sport :

What made Zidane headbutt Matterazzi ???????


Its because, Matterazzi asked Zidane (while playing)

BHAIYYA HUM CHLOROMINT KYUN KHATE HAIN?????????????

Zidane:.(bang)........ Dobara Mat Puchna

Anonymous said...

achcha...it's me...Maxi

Viren said...

I remember before the world cup began I was rooting for Brazil and Tanmay for the escargots. My fascination for Brazil had its roots in a particular video tape bought by my dad when I was about 7. However I never really followed the team hence was never as ardous in my support as my good friend for the Blues. Unfortunately we could could not watch the final together, which was a good thing as I was supporting the other blues. The only thing I like about France is sharab and shabab. When the men with fast cars and good clothes won, I was pleasantly surprised but not thrilled. He switched off his phone. I guess the nostalgia overwhelmed him(blue sweater). Nevertheless I am happy to say that he has recovered from the trauma. Well written T-MAN BUT I still maitain that ZE french should stick to procreation and distillation.
Ciao

TS said...

Thank you Viren. Compliments are due, for the depth of your insight.
However, I must remind you of the match between Brazil and France when we were wasted at our good friend Awny's house. You do remember the disappointment you felt at the loss right? I'm sure you do... and I'm sure you CAN identify the level of disappointment I felt, considering the match was a title shot.
Let's hope for a more fair game the next time culture meets style.
Until Euro 2008 then...

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