Kanakagiri Siddhartha

World Cup Football 2014

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It's like it was only yesterday that WC 2010 ended. I still remember the beautiful theme song from South Africa.

Here it is:

I remember predicting Spain winning the event and being elated when they eventually won it. I vividly remember the most exciting team in the event, Argentina, with Leonel Messi having a great time though he did not score any goal. I remember the heartbreak when Germany ran through them in the quarterfinals. I remember the disgust i felt watching Netherlands resort to street fighting instead of playing real football. I felt doubly happy for the beautiful game when Andres Iniesta scored the winning goal and i remember Dani Jarque, though i never saw him play. I also remember the celebrations in the streets of Croydon when Ghana beat USA. Ghana and USA are drawn in the same group this time.

Of all the favorites, Spain got toughest draw, with Netherlands being their first opponents and a potential clash with Brazil before quarterfinals if they do not top their group. They should avoid it thought and with Xavi and Iniesta playing what could be their last major, it could be their swansong. I am sure they have been saving their best for a potential crack at the "All time Great" tag. I am looking forward to see them pass the baton to Koke, who is the most exciting young talent i am looking forward to this season.

I long to see a Spain vs Argentina final with Argentina winning it. Though the odds are long for it. Argentina remain the most exciting squad this season, with their strike force unmatched by anyone. Their defense remains vulnerable and it all depends how they manage their playing eleven.

Germany have always been big event team and they should go through to quarter finals without breaking sweat. Their efficiency will be severely tested from there on but they should get through to Semifinals with some luck. I am also looking forward to them keeping the tradition of giving the young player of the World Cup fro their assembly line which produces Klose, Podolsky and Muller.

And then we have hosts themselves, the football mad nation of Brazil. To put things in perspective, imagine how mad Indians are of Cricket (well, at least until 3 years ago). Now multiply that by 100. That is how mad Brazilians are about football. They still haven't forgotten their loss in the 1950 World Cup final, unlike we Indians who only remember the latest results, what if they won five world cups since then, the most by any team. Will they be able to handle the pressure of expectations ? I am not really sure. They surely have the talent to make quarterfinals.

Then there is Netherlands, Italy and France, who given their recent form, may not be able to challenge the four top contenders . France have the easiest draw of them all and they could make the most of it with some luck and more pluck.

So, my prediction ? Spain...no Argentina...no Spain....no it is ARGENTINA!!!!

I have a word for the players who missed out. Zlatan Ibrahimovich, after his brilliant Henrik Larssen inspired hat trick in 2006 WC, will miss out his second and probably last chance at world cup now. I feel sorry for him.  Gareth Bale might yet get his chance.

 

 

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December 14, 2018

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