I Was Spot On, Then...
As usual, I was checking out the Football365 website and I realised they did an article on who's flopped at the World Cup so far and guess what, the names in the list was almost identical to the ones I have mentioned 2 days ago in my post about players that have flopped and disappointed so far. My list consisted of Ronaldinho, Lumpard, Henry, Ballack Toni, Ibrahimovic and Sven + Walcott (jokingly) while the F365 list consists of Ronaldinho, Lumpard, Henry, Toni, Ibrahimovic and van Nistelrooy (I placed him under surprisingly bad). So I might not get the scores right, I least I got the players right!
Football's Not About Just Kicking The Ball...
Joe Cole, Didier Drogba, Arjen Robben, Jose Antonio Reyes, Robert Pires and Cristiano Ronaldo. Oh and just to name a few. What has this guys have in common? Uhm yea, you should know it if you've been following football. The are players who have a special technique when playing football and are graceful actors on the field. The fall like flies when being touched and looks as though they got shot in the head when somebody had contact with them anywhere above the legs. Most of them made their names through their theatrics on the field and you have to wonder what has football becoming to.
To me, cheating and diving seemed to be seeping into the sub-culture of football and it's a real sad thing. They used it to get an advantage over the opponents and to trick the referee into believing something else. We might love the beautiful game but it's an inevitable thing that teams will use underhand methods to gain the advantage and bringing the beautiful game into utter disrepute. I was disappointed by the authority and referees so far, for NOT stamping out on cheating and outright diving. They booked players for time-wasting, minor challenges, but why is it that diving seemed to be a special rule where it seemed untouchable? Maybe it's really time to introduce the video technology. I'm not happy with the present way of doing things anyway.
Wondered why the players can dive so 'realistically' and could get away with it? Watch this video:
Indeed, they practice diving during trainings. What a shame....
The Performers Thus Far :
I've covered the flops and surprises for the World Cup already, so it's time for the performers. Every World Cup, there's always a shining light among the players, an inspiration among the team and the star of the show. WC '98 was Davor Suker and Zidane. WC '02 was Ronaldinho, Klose and Ahn Jung-hwan. Well, this time round?
- Xabi Alonso (SPA) - Liverpool's very own playmaker, his passing and overall composure has been great and also getting Spain's first goal in the competition with his head. Has been an integral part in the current Spain set up and Aragones said he's one of the players that will be the first on his list. I'm a keen admirer of this graceful player who seemed to have a radar on him whenever he plays because he knew exactly where everyone is.
- Luis Figo (POR) - He's 34 and before the tournament started, everyone said he's past his sell-out date. But this time, he showed everyone that he might be 34, but he still can perform up to his best. I don't really rate Figo very much, but seriously I thought he have been playing really well and deserved a spot over here.
- Rafael Marquez (MEX) - What on earth is his position anyway. He used to play as a defensive midfielder for Barca, then a centre-back this season. He seemed to have the license to attack when he's wearing the green Mexican jersey and the ability to lead an attack from behind. His performances have been immense, bar the match against Portugal where the whole team went misisng anyway. There is a lack of graceful sweeper like Beckenbauer in modern day football, but here he is. He's the person that Rio wanted to immitate but failed.
- Didier Zokora (CIV) - Apparently signed for Spurs after Ivory Coast's early exit, he have been impressive in the 3 games against the 3 deadly teams from Europe. Although small in stature, he's never afraid to stuck a foot in and get involved. Great tackler and good passer of the ball, Spurs, you got a great deal from him. Lucky you.
- Andrea Pirlo (ITA) - Famous for going for disappearing acts in his AC Milan shirt, but have been ever-present for the Italians since Day 1. Scored a beauty against Ghana in the opening game and was the source of inspiration when Totti and Del Piero failed to shine. Might be a little weak and his sh*tty dribbling skill, but he's one of the best passers of the ball.
- Fabio Cannavaro (ITA) - Once told he's too short to be a defender, and how did those words came to haunt whoever that idiot is. Yes he might be as tall as me, but he is no doubt one of the best defender in recent times. His reading of the game, tackling and his discipline is the key reason why Italians are so strong at the back. He's a captain for a reason, you know.
- Richard Kingston (GHA) - Who? Erm, the goalkeeper of Ghana. There should be European teams interested in this guy from now on I think. Although flaps at corners like most African keepers do, his shot stopping skills are quite good. If not for him, maybe Italy could've scored more than 2 and impressed me in the match against the Czechs.
- Mikael Essian & Stephen Appiah (GHA) - The midfield lynchpin(s) of the Ghana side. They were the ultimate source of inspiration for the Ghanians and should be proud of themselves for bringing them thus far. They seemed to cover every blade of grass when they play, excellent running off the ball and their energy never seemed to run out. Essien showed what he could do IF only Chelsea and Jose did not suppress his attacking prowess due to his role in Chelsea.
- Miroslav Klose (GER) - Once again the man who haunted those in WC '02 is back. I actually thought he's pretty average and jut another targetman who got lucky in the previous WC, but once again he showed his goalscoring touch and is currently the top-scorer of Germany '06. Linked up with Podolski seamlessly too.
- Philipp Lahm (GER) - Scored a brilliant goal in the opening match and have been performing at his best in almost all the games. Statistics doesn't lie when they say he had they highest success rate in tackling. He loves to go forward in support and isn't too bad defending as well.
- Willy Sagnol & Eric Abidal (FRA) - The wingbacks of the French team, they performed well in the games they played in and I was very impressed by Willy Sagnol in the game against Togo. Playing side by side with an ageing but experienced defenders helped them too.
- Ze Roberto (BRA) - Usually in the Brazil team, the attacking players are the one that shines, like Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. But the hardworking Ze Roberto is my pick this time round. He runs around to cover the ground left behind by the attacking players and allows Roberto Carlos to go on his bombing run. His passing and tackling stats are almost perfect and scored a goal against Ghana too.
- Roberto Ayala (ARG) - Rock solid defender from Valencia, he's the very reason why Argentinian attackers could attack without having the burden to worry about the defence for too much. Like Cannavaro, is getting on with his age, but his experience is invaluable and like a wine, it gets better as it gets older.
- Maxi Rodriguez, Juan Pablo Sorin & Juan Roman Riquelme (ARG) - The 3 inspirational players of the Argentinian side, they work really hard every game and have impressed me. Rodriguez coming into the World Cup as a relative unknown but scored 3 goals including that cracker against Mexico. Sorin the captain runs up and down the left wing and is hard as nails. Riquelme, the brain of the team, the playmaker. Although he has a chronic lack of pace, his brains rule over brawns and he's one of the best passers of the ball.