Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Headbutts and World cup

A headbutt by Zidane to a certain Italian called Materazzi has attained more prominence after the world cup, over Italy's win. For those who dont know, just search the net. There are way too many theories floating around, and too many links for me to post here, to give a neutral view. A starting point would be this but do search for more.

Definitely, as far as I watched the games, Italy were definitely a better team. If you ignore the diving and playacting for a while (Every team does it including France, Italy did carry it a little too far), Italy were a skillful team. Much was expected from Totti and he did deliver to some extent. The surprise package was Pirlo, the midfielder who was excellent in making precision passes and setting up the attacks. He was quite good at carrying the ball to the front, and striking or passing to the striker. Maybe he wasnt a surprise package, it was expected of him. I say that because I havent noticed him playing earlier in any league.(Damned sports channels, not much spanish or italian league on TV).

For all that jibes being made at the Italian team, I say they were pretty good. Cameronesi and Pirlo were great. And while people are not supporting Italy much, thanks to the Materazzi Zidane incident, watch Cannavaro and Buffon in action in the Italian defense. Amazing work from Cannavaro, the captain. I had never seen him play, but now I realize why he is the best defender in the world.

The sequence (as far as I remember it, please correct me if I am wrong). Sagnol pass. Zidane sends a header towards a goal. This was great work. Definitely should have been a goal. A villain by the name of Buffon sends it over the net. Zidane looks pissed off. A corner kick. Materazzi puts his arm around Zidane's chest to stop him. Zidane should have appealed to the referee or moved away from his current position. After the corner kick, Zidane says - "If you want my Tshirt you can have it after the match" (or something to this effect. Swear words deleted). Materazzi responds with a comment - "I would rather have the Tshirt off your wife". And continues with the game. Note that Zidane started the war of words. Why did he have to say something derogatory to the opposing player, when he could not handle the response. Zidane turns back and headbutts him. Buffon appeals. And the red card.

This is not the first time Zidane has lost his cool. Says a lot about his temperament. But that does not deny his genius. When I thought Zidane is over, and Brazil are going to run roughshod over them, given the way both teams were playing, Zidane surprised everyone with amazing work in the midfield. That amazing pass to Henry which scored the only and winning goal. And much sloppy work by Brazil. Brazil seemed to be playing in a unidimensional manner, which did not help, and the coach did not seem to have much ideas tactically.

Now, sledging is a very common part of the game, if you follow games closely. Its much more common than in cricket. Whether racist or not, they are meant to be ignored, and the heat of the moment, the passion in the game makes one do that. This is not the first time, nor this will be the last time that not-so-nice words have been exchanged between players on the field. If Zidane had not reacted, there was a very slight chance that the game might have turned. I say "very slight chance" because Cannavaro and Buffon are not the kind of guys whom you can merrily roll the ball past. Neither do I think penalties would have changed anything.

Another grouse against the France team. They are very dull and boring on the field. Yes, they dont seem to have any imagination or creativity (except the Great Zidane, of course). Henry, the striker was usual. Surprisingly he plays quite well for Arsenal in the EPL. They have limited number of moves, it seems. Playing with them is like playing against a computer game, they seem so predictable. But then , you can still lose to a computer game, because it is so perfect at whatever limited it does. Same with France. That took them to the finals.

As far as I saw, France too were pretty much into playacting and diving, which hardly other bloggers in the desi blogosphere noted. Henry dived after stepping on Carvalho's foot in the game against the dark horse Portugal. And got the deciding free kick. Malouda dived in the final, against Italy, when he wasnt even touched by the Italian defender (guess it was Materazzi again). And got a free kick, which was duly put in by Zidane. Undeserved goals, both of them. Portugal was defeated, Italy was not. You cannot pressure the Italians with such things, they are very cool players. Pressure tactics dont easily work on them.

This post is not for taking credit away from the France team, but just to set things straight, since France is being considered an angel in World cup 2006.

Also, there were umpteen cases where French defenders were involved in fouls, but escaped. Sagnol and Malouda were particularly guilty. The only French defender who seemed to be an angel was Thuram. Great work, Thuram. And of course, the midfielder whom you would hardly notice, Makelele.

Ohh, by the way, Schweinsteiger was great in the game for third place against Portugal. Germany has two new wonderkids, him and Podolski. Hope they carry on their good game.


Blogger Mario said...

Zidane said in a press conference recently that Materazzi said derogatory comments about his sister and mother, and so he had to head butt Materazzi to protect the honour of his sister and mother.
I think everybody has lost their senses trying to show Zidane as an angel. The guy is playing has captain in the last game of his life and then he acts like a wild ass. This is the way he sets example to the younger generation.
Also by his childish act he caused France to loose this game. The coach had substituted Henry and two other players for fresh legs. The last ten minutes would have been an advantage for France if they had all players and Zidane had showed his leadership.
All said and done, What everybody should know is Zidane is not a team player and is selfish person( trying to protect the honor of his sister and mother, what bull). The only reason France lost was becuase of Zidan'es stupid act.

July 18, 2006 10:39 PM  

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