The World Cup
Well, any football fans will look back at 2006 for non other than the FIFA World Cup held in Germany. It attracted attention of millions of people all around the world, gathering football fans and non football fans alike. It was a month where things outside football seemed to come to a standstill and everyday (or night for us Asians), we stuck ourselves to the TV watching matches, re-run and analysis. I personally covered almost all the matches over here in this blog and it can be found in the archives.
It was definitely a better World Cup than the previous one held in South Korea. Although refereeing decision are still controversial in some games like the one during Australia vs Italy, but overall the quality of the football was good and one thing that struck me was that the competition epitomizes the term 'defence is the best way of...defence'. Well, we saw great goals overall but the defenders now stood out instead of the strikers.
Fabio Cannavaro was collosus throughout the competition and that won him the FIFA Player of the Year award and the Ballon d'Or as well. Thinking back, there wasn't any strikers that catch my eye other than Lukas Podolski, David Villa and Fernando Torres. I might have missed out some, but there seriously isn't any striker that was on red hot form.
It started off with host, Germany, facing off with minnows, Costa Rica. It didn't take long for the European giant to draw first blood when Phillip Lahm scored the first goal of the World Cup and it was a belter! Germany went on to win the game 4-2.
Then there was the clash between USA and Italy. It was literally, a clash. Brian McBride got booted in the face and was bleeding profusely and Daniele De Rossi was sent off.
England, who have won their last World Cup 40 years ago, went to the competition without making any major impact other than the last game where it really got everyone talking about it. Rooney's intentional/unintentional stamp on Ricardo Carvalho's crown jewel was penalised and myth has it that Ronaldo got him sent off. Truth or not, only the United pair know.
They stumbled their way into the quater finals even though they struggled to beat the likes of T&T and Ecuador. Goals were rare while Rooney was rushed back to soon. Michael Owen then found himself injured and will start another new line of 'Gone In 60 Seconds' when he got injured against Sweden 1 minute into the match.
July 9 was the final between France and Italy. Much was anticipated as to how Zidane will put on his one last dance before his retirement and it went alright in the beginning when he put France ahead with a cheeky penalty. But hero turned zero in a matter of moments when he headbutted that a*sehole Marco Materazzi and got himself sent off. A sad way to see off his career and it was later reported Marco insulted his sister. Oh that Italian b**t**d.
All in all, a pretty good World Cup and I missed the days (or nights) when I stayed up the night watching football and not worrying about anything other than football. It will be another long wait for the next World Cup in South Africa. See you, then.
Friday, December 29, 2006