Argentina Went out yesterday, Brazil followed suit today. If it was heart break for pradip y'day, today i found mine in pieces. I don't even know who's the favorite to win the world cup anymore. The football fan within me wins over the Brazil fan and says - the teams in are not bad at all. With everything at stake - the football we get to see in the next 3 matches will be great, to put it mildly. Two of the large list of players i like are still in the hunt - Figo and Zidane (more on him later). So yeah - the interest is not lost. There just wont be any more samba :(
The first game today was lost the moment Beckham had to go out coz of injury. And whatever chances England had for scoring, they were lost in a moment of madness by Rooney. When will he grow up??? And then England knew they had to defend and they did that wonderfully well for the next 70 or 80 minutes. They put in all their efforts - gutsy, clumsy, whatever way it was, they defended and survived the 2 90 minutes and the extra 30 minutes. To be fair - they did have their chances in the Penalty shoot outs too. But there were some stupid shots and mistakes in strategy (for which Mr.Eriksson is not the top-of-the-charts). Why on earth wud someone ask Frank Lampard, who hasn't even looked like scoring a single goal in the entire tournament, to take the first shot??? And he dint score and that set it all - England were under pressure from the first shot. I still believe that England is a good squad and will do better under a better coach.
Now - the second game of the day. Simply put - Brazil were just not good enough. Again the coach to blame!!! Ronaldo, inspite of his goals in earlier matches, was dead wood. He hardly did anything in the whole 90 minutes and in the 8 minutes Robinho was in, he created about 3 chances. The stupidity of Periera cost him the match. He dint even pull him out after some time. So yeah - he deserves to lose for that single reason. Then, Ronaldinho hasn't struck form still, Kaka was not effective today, the forward attack was screwed up coz of Ronaldo - Barthez had one, may be two, saves to make in the entire game. That in a game against Brazil - come on.
But for France, Zidane was simply superb. I just saw the vigor in him to win, he played like a man possessed. Every aspect of the Zidane touch was back in view. And the entire French strategy was built around him and how well did he deliver. Whenever the team was in a corner, they passed the ball to him and he pulled them out. He created chances for players like Henry and Riberi. He controlled the ball so well. He just had an outstanding game.
Well - 4 semi finals and 3 of 4 the teams i thought would win have lost. Only Italy won, and i guess against Ukraine - any of the 6 other Quarter Finalists wud have won.
Germany Vs Italy; France Vs Portugal - then the finals.
That is all that is left of WC 2006.