Defeats, Death and Diego
HOW did the Fates transpire to deceive millions of people worldwide? With four South American sides in the quarters, the humiliating prospects of one-continent representation dangled in the faces of all the silent observers. Then the games began and the twists and turns that make football so intriguing came to the fore. The soul of Samba, the ghost of Ghana and the Death of Diego will now fully haunt the games remaining.
The mouth-watering clash between the unpredictable Dutch and the classy Brazilians was considered a foregone conclusion. The Netherlands was always given an outside chance, but few could claim they would give the Brazilians a run for their money. And then, Felipe Melo happened. Robinho may have dispelled all remaining doubts, but Sneijder didn't let go and the Samba kings never really managed to hurt again. Kaka cut a forlorn figure once again while Melo handed the Dutch repeated lifelines. Of course, the Dutch took it, with a vengeance. Robben proved to be a constant menace while Champion's League winner, Wesley, was in class of his own. Brazil was literally crying for some creativity from a certain over-looked midfielder, but sadly nothing more was to happen. Dunga stood on the sidelines contemplating what could have been while somewhere far away 'Dinho smiled almost traitorously. What a difference Elano could have made is certainly a discussion for another day. For now, the Dutch progress 2-1. World Cup 2010 was handed its biggest shock. Bangladeshi fans even made it to Dirty Tackle following the defeat. http://g.sports.yahoo.com/soccer/world-cup/blog/dirty-tackle/post/Bangladeshi-fans-take-Brazil-defeat-too-seriousl?urn=sow,253355
Then came Ghana facing Uruguay. Africa's last representative was never going to have it easy. Especially not when they had to contain two of the World's most daunting strikers in the mould of Diego Forlan and Ajax supreme, Luis Suarez. Well, even with all that, it really was Ghana who shone through. Gyan hasn't been linked to a host of top clubs for no reason and he did justice to the possible price tag he will command in the future. Sadly however, this match will be remembered for the last few minutes when Suarez was sent off for clearly handling the ball, spiking it right off the goal line. A straight red and a missed penalty followed and then came the decisive penalties where Ghana really floundered. Two tame penalty shots followed in succession from the Africa's and both were saved, knocking out Africa's final hopes. Many will point figures at Luis Suarez and FIFA is now looking into lengthening the ban to exclude Suarez from featuring in the finals, if they overcome Netherlands, that is. However, this will be a ridiculous decision, since Suarez did what he had to do. Furthermore, such a rule cannot be made suddenly and Ghana was given a spot-kick chance, as the rules dictate, which they missed. Plus, they didn't fare much better in the final kicks as well, so who is to say that Ghana had anything more to add to the tournament? And if such a decision is taken, then let us strip Argentina too and bring up the Hand of God into play once more. FIFA needs to focus more on better referees than making stupidity a regular habit. Uruguay go on to meet the Dutch, after all is said and then.
And saving the best for the last, it was 2006 all over again as Germany took on Argentina. The war of words started before the match with Bastian claiming that Argentineans try to influence the refree too much. Maradona than proceeded to ask if Germany were nervous before the encounter, after which Lahm added that they would see how Argentina behave after defeat. What happened next is truly history. As 'ball-boy' Muller scored the opener thanks to Argentina's slack defending, Klose went on to add a second and then two more followed. Argetina had no response whatsoever. Try as they might, they never had the tactical nous to overcome the German. As Loew celebrated, Maradona stood on the sidelines contemplating bankruptcy in a retirement home. Suck on this eh? The much hyped attacking trio of Messi, Tevez and Higuain could not as much as ruffle the Neur's hair, credit to breath-taking performances by Lahm and co. Arne added insult to injury while Bastian pulled all the strings. Messi and Demichilles would have been the man of the match had they played for Germany. Argentina was neutralized to say the least. Germany was the best thing since blue jeans and that too would be an understatement. Well, in conclusion, Argentina were taught a lesson in 'how to play football without Messi', while Maradona finally proved that he never had the tactical mettle to take on a big team. His accomplishments to date? A win over Mexico, Nigeria, Greece and South Korea is a laudable accomplishment, if you are the manager of Montserrat. Did everyone forget Zanetti and Gabriel Milito? So Argentina got what they had coming and now Germany and Paul are up against Spain. We enjoyed all the goals although Messi DID NOT score, but the show must go on.
As the final twists begin to take shape, followers all over the world will now begin to drift away from their sets as they take off the Argentina flags off their roofs. Nothing but the suddenly born bhoktos' sad faces can make this writer happier. So as Samba, Stars and Suckers rue their demise, we can only leave you with this one thought: All Hail the Germans.
Graduation ceremony at our school
On 16th June 2010
Strict you were sometimes,
I miss you so much, Mama-
Your love was so blind
Suddenly, God took you away,
By Nazel Raiyan Chowdhury
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