The World Cup: From Round 1 to the Quarters

July 2, 2006

by Rahul Misra

The first match of the soccer World Cup had 6 goals being scored, one of them is still on the top-5-goals of the tournament list. If instead of a tourney, this was a book, you could easily break all proverbial rules and judge it by its cover… because the first match was just a small glimpse of the magic that would follow.

Let me remind you of what we’ve seen in the past fortnight. We’ve seen Germans playing a very uncharacteristic game, for once they’re not afraid to attack (it might have something to do with having a star striker as your coach!)… there has been a heavenly strike from Beckham playing in a team that’s drowning in mediocrity… Ronaldo, the joke of the first week, has come back to break the oft-spoken-about record… and of course, the 14-pass goal that Argentina thumped in. This has not been a World Cup where people defend before they attack, and by the way the matches have gone, this is a World Cup that will be won by goals scored and not goals saved.

And let’s not forget the Samba magic in the second half of Brazil Vs Japan… where every yellow shirt on the field seemed to be chanting…

“You’ve had your share of the fun,

Now let us show you how it’s done”

Their defence is porous, but then I’ve never seen a Brazilian team with a strong defence. They’ve got more of a “if you score 2, we’ll score 3” strategy going for them. And well, as they’ve shown on 5 previous occasions… it works!!

Even the minnows, the Africans and the Australians have played with grit, showing everyone how passion can translate to finesse. They’ve impressed us so much that we have Indian ministers citing their performance to further the reservation policy!! More of that somewhere else though, this is not the forum to start on that.

We couldn’t have asked for a more thrilling QF lineup: Germany and Argentina coming together for what most call the match-of-the-tournament, a resurgent France against Brazil lineup, the Italian defence pitted against Shevchenko’s magic, and a depleted Portugal (who played a 16-yellow-cards, 4-red-cards match to beat Holland) against England.

One thing’s for sure, some absolutely awesome matches await us, and one shouldn’t miss it for the world. After all, this fiesta happens only once in every 4 years, and when it does, the world stops.

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