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Gauls Versus the Romans July 7, 2006

Posted by samratsengupta in Football WC, Samrat, Uncategorized.

So a World Cup final straight out of Asterix Comics. Though the French team composition reflects more of the motley collection in  the “pirate ship” of Asterix (which by the way perpetually gets sunk) rather than the Gauls. I hope I am not being racist here as Monsieur Le Pen, who commented about the French team being uncomfortably polychromatic for his eyes. 

Italians and French are culturally close, both people are supposed to be argumentative,not workaholics( being politically correct here 🙂 ), expressive in love,  they have fashion twins in Milan and Paris. France also ruled over Italy for much of the 18th and 19th century, Napoleon even designed the Italian Flag. French team is a good ad for United Colours of Benetton. The team colors and nicknames are also Blue. Azzuri( from Azure) and Les Blues. Surprisingly even Uderzo (Goscinny and Uderzo creators of Asterix) is of Italian descent, still he surprisingly champions French chauvinism in the Asterix series.

French seem to have taken a swig of Getafix potion after their tepid group display. It also lulled the other teams into a false sense of complacency.  The French attacking midfield has been a revelation, they have a perfect trio in Ribery, Zidane and Veira. Operating at a dual level with the pacy Ribery and the languid and composed Zidane, with Viera adding the robustness. Opponents cannot gauge at what speed the French will attack, this multi-dimensional capability gives them the edge. For Zidane time slows down, he has so much time at his disposal( similar to Federer), though he is past his peak still he is one of the best midfield operators in business The only bad egg in the french basket is the egg-head Barthez, his blunders may sink the French ship.

The Romans are also well-organized as ever. The Italian team has the right blend of youth and experience. The icons Totti and Del Piero would also be as determined as Zidane as it is their “Last Supper” also. The hit men Luca Brasi(Toni) and Gilardino are sharp. Pirlo and Camoranesi add to the flair. Defence is impregnable with Cannavaro being the marshal, Nesta’s return would bolster it further. Gattuso is the wild cannon in the middle to thwart attacks. But most reassuring is the imposing figure of Buffon in goal.

Italians have the twelve year cycle in WC 70 (RU),82 (W),94(RU),06(W?) . But the French coach Domenech with Linda Goodman and MM Joshi as advisors, would have something in store to counter this.

Overall I expect a thrilling WC final, the best since 1986.  


First Impression June 12, 2006

Posted by samratsengupta in Football WC, Samrat, Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

The event has started with a bang, and has captured the interest of the world as expected. All the results so far have been to my satisfaction. The most heartening one was Ecuador beating Poland, this result was the most unpredictable, it was expected that the Poles being the neighbourhood team, having players with experience and familiarity of the conditions by playing in the Bundesliga , would beat Ecuador and bring them "down to earth"( as Ecuador mostly plays and wins matches only in their high-altitude capital Quito), but Ecuador pleasantly surprised everyone by giving a superior display. The Poles are going to come out all guns firing and Germany should beware in the next match.

T&T also came up with a gutsy and pugnacious display against the much vaunted Swedes, who would be ruing the result. Good to see Netherlands, England, Portugal and Argentina being victorious. The World Cup needs these pedigree teams to qualify, though the wins were not convincing. It is good in a sense because it shows they have not peaked and will prevent complacency.  Ivory Coast impressed me a lot, in the first half-hour against Argentina, the Africans were pressing hard, winning most of the 50-50 balls, making attractive moves; Argentina did not know what hit them. If Ivory Coast had scored a goal in that period, the script could have been different.

The new ball has made life tough for the keepers, as it is wicked in the air, but goals have dried up after the first match, hope to see more. Also looking forward to seeing the Czech Republic and Brazil in action.