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Rising Stars, Fallen Giants

THE first week of the World Cup has come to an end. The verdict on the quality of the tournament is already being whispered in closed corridors. Popular belief is that the Jabulani and the vuvuzela have possibly ruined the greatest show on Earth. If the first week is anything to go by, this may be a pretty low scoring affair. However, brushing off the goal shortage, this tournament can be considered to be extremely exciting so far. Close contests, evidence of sheer dominance and slain giants are all ingredients for a very exciting climax.

Neither the flair of the South Americans nor the dominance of Europe is very evident in this showpiece. The lack of a sure-fire favourite, along with the emergence of the underdogs, has kept all of us glued to our seats. Who would have thought that USA would be given a run for their money by Slovenia? A pulsating 2-2 draw raised expectations from the neutrals, while elsewhere nothing could separate any team from England, as the English drew two out of two. Of course England played their natural game, by which we mean Robert Green did what England keepers do best. Argentina may have amassed 6 points already, crushing Korea 4-1 while winning 1-0 to Nigeria. Of course Heinze's goal against the Nigerians should have been disallowed due to a clear obstruction, it seems the 'Gods' are with the Argentineans yet. However, nothing can be taken away from the fact that Argentina has really livened up the tournament with the most beautiful brand of football so far. The numerous 'bhoktos' of this team, who actually can't name more than one player of the white and blues, are already dreaming of World Cup glory.

Argentina's counter-parts, the former-flamboyant Samba boys, Brazil, haven't really lived up to their favourites tag. Labouring to a 2-1 victory over North Korea, Brazil displayed an ineffective defensive line-up and a below-par Kaka marshalling the midfield. Robinho was the only star to shine in Brazil's galaxy. The lesser known teams such as Chile, Mexico, Serbia and Greece have also provided some really close and exciting games and now fans can't really decide which team to watch!

Apart from Argentina no team can be said to have been dominant. However, without a recognised mid-field, Argentina will no doubt have trouble negotiating the tough route ahead, when they clash with the giants of the football world. Honestly, Nigeria and North Korea could not have been asked to expose Argentina, however the ruthless European trio of Germany, Spain and Italy (if), cannot be expected to go down without a fight. Higuain may have scored a hat-trick but it is Messi winning all the plaudits. None of the other famed stars have done much either, with the likes of Torres, Ronaldo and even Drogba failing to find the target so far. The much promised Total Football from perhaps one of the Dutch's most talented squad has also not come about. Though, Super Sneijder may have saved the Oranje some blushes, 2-0 and 1-0 victories are not what we have come to expect from the land of Total Football. And before we forget, it is time also to turn some of the limelight towards the brilliant Diego Forlan who may have finally transformed his club form onto the International stage and if this continues, expect nothing less than seeing Uruguay overcome even the second round of clashes.

Finally, let us indulge in one of the beauties of the game; unpredictability. When the Germans crushed Australia 4-0, they became the darlings of a much dour tournament. Did anyone really expect a 1-0 reversal to the Serbs? Loew probably got his tactics wrong when he let Badstuber be run ragged and especially when he pitted the diminutive Lahm against the towering Zigic. Klose sending off helped to demoralise the German warriors and just when things couldn't get any worse, Vidic did what United players normally do and handled the ball in the box. Podolski then proceeded to do what Chelsea players normally do and fumbled the penalty. A famous Serbian victory was thus ensured. On another part of Africa another fallen giant fell even deeper, as France found themselves 2-0 down to a much-spirited Mexico. Hernandez, Vela and Dos Santos proved too hot to handle and thus demolished the Frenchmen. The cries of French fans were drowned out, not by vuvuzulas but by the laughter of the Irish, who could extract some measure of revenge from this. Anelka was then shown the door a day too late and now it's likely that France may be the first big name casualty. This casualty was followed by the exit of Africa's jewel, Cameroon. Rogger Milla was apparently right when he said Eto'o didn't have the stomach for this. However, the biggest news came from an altogether different group. Spain, or rather Barcelona Part II, went down to Switzerland. No, seriously, they went down 1-0 to Switzerland. As Xavi, Iniesta and perhaps even Bosque looked for Messi to play the ball to, they realised too late that Messi plays for Argentina. By then the match was almost over and so of course sending on Torres didn't really matter. The biggest giants of them all had been slain and in the process the World Cup was finally blown wide open.

Indeed, this World Cup, though lacking in goals, doesn't lack in drama. As Ronaldo’s complaints about the ball were joined in chorus by England, they continue to be drowned out by the vuvuzelas, this first week has put to bed all doubts about whether South Africa was the ideal location for 2010 or not. During times when unpredictability is the norm, this writer's faith firmly lies with the Germans. Despite what the so-called bhoktos might say.

By Osama Rahman
P.S.- David Beckham is not England's coach and that is the dumbest question to ask ever.

Billboard Hot Top 10

CALIFORNIA Gurls (Katy Perry ft. Snoop Dogg) A bit cheesy, fun, classy, with a nice beat and tempo. No doubt it's the best of the top 10 overall. 4.5/5

OMG (Usher ft. Will.I.Am) Redundant music, beat, and sounds way too much like previous records by same artists. However, the lyrics have a sense of uniqueness; therefore it gets a 3/5.

Airplanes (B.o.B. ft. Hayley Williams) The chorus is the tugging-at-heartstrings kind, but B.o.B and his bad rapping with worse lyrics destroys whatever was built up. 3/5

Billionaire (Travey McCoy ft. Bruno Mars) Hey, I want to be a billionaire, but Oprah and the Queen will have no part in my rich life. The lyrics don't sound real, which should be an essential for a song with this theme. However, for the theme itself it can be given a 4/5.

Alejandro (Lady Gaga) You can actually hear her voice and that's bad enough, but whoever can understand the song deserves a medal. Figure out the music video and you could win a Nobel prize! Gaga fans can sue me 2.5/5.

Your Love Is My Drug (Ke$ha) The love-drug concept is wearing out, but the song has a good beat. Ke$ha should keep the singing to a minimum and keep talking she'd go far. 3/5

Break Your Heart (Taio Cruz ft. Ludacris) It's a sweet song, with a rather different concept going from break my heart. Okay for listening to on a hot day when all you want to do is sleep. 4/5

Not Afraid (Eminem) Once again Eminem delivers. Excellent lyrics, brilliant rapping, and real because of the references to his own life. 5/5

Rock That Body (The Black-Eyed Peas) The beat and tempo can only take you so far, and here neither is good enough to cover up the fact that there are no lyrics. My least favorite on the list 2/5

Find Your Love (Drake) Not enough soul, not enough music, and not enough lyrics. However, certain parts of the song are good enough. 2.5/5

You'd think the top 10 songs in the U.S. would be at least good, if not great…

By Professor Spork


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