What will people remember of the 2010 FIFA World Cup? Mostly, the things that got the most attention from the media. Sure, Ghanaian media may have devoted more pages and hours to bashing Suarez than the media based in any other country, and Honda may be a hero in Japan only. But, overall, these things stood out:
Every place and every people on earth has some kind of vuvuzela. But none of the other people have used it to such alarming effect. Vuvuzelas have divided people with the same evil power of religion. There have even been clashes between pro-vuvuzela and anti-vuvuzela groups.
9. The French Revolution
The outburst of the mosly-black soccer team against the all-white management resulted in France’s early exit from the World Cup. It was the first time that both the finalists from the last edition got kicked out of the tournament in the very first round. Soccer in France has been proved to be as great a divider as religion and vuvuzela.
8. Casillas Kiss
Goal-keepers are seldom in the limelight. So they play all kinds of tricks to be there - like pulling a Robert Green or kissing reporter-gf during live interview.
7. The Dives and the Rules of Soccer
There had been lots of dives, mostly by the star players. The Brazilian team could start a show in Las Vegas with the talented actors they have in the team. Interestingly, dives are encouraged by FIFA. Often, the TV commentators would say that, “if he would fall at the point of contact, he’d win a free-kick.” Indeed, for the same type of contact, if a players dived, he won a free-kick. If he didn’t, there was no foul called! More interestingly, if two players pushed each other and one fell down, the foul is called against the one still standing! This is like traditional traffic accident ‘rules’ in India – if someone’s hurt, s/he’s not guilty!
6. The Nike Curse
Look at the fallen starts – Messi, Kaka, Rooney, Ronaldo, ……… see the link? May be you can add Federar, too, to the list!
5. Larissa Riquelme et al
Dutch porn stars offered ‘services’ if Holland won the World Cup. Maradona and Riquelme had made promises to run naked if their respective teams won the World Cup. After the ‘announcement, Riquelme was volcanic. I mean, on Google Trends. But most of the people searching for her had one question: where would she put that famous mobile phone while running naked! Even though Paraguay did not advance an inch in the tournament after her announcement, she striped anyway!
4. Luis Suárez
One may become emotional about it. Hate him, Curse him. But Luis Suarez is an excellent player and he did what any other player would (or, at least, should) have done in the same situation. Amid all the boo-ing in the game for the third place, he played excellent football against Germany. As for Ghana, they were in the knock-out stage via an undeserved penalty-kick anyway.
3. Bad Match Officiating
The first round of the World Cup saw some excellent examples bad match officiating. Legit goals were not allowed, goals from off-side have been allowed and numerous examples of other horrible calls. There need to be more officials on the sidelines, or the off-side rules need to be modified. But FIFA is run like the Vatican – both the organizations hate change.
FIFA is run by technophobes. Sepp Blatter is still adamant against the use of technology as an aid to match officiating even though just one simple step could fix a lot of issues related to match officiating: Allow a limited number of (unsuccessful) video-review requests regarding important decisions (goals, penalty kicks, any card offence etc). There are certain other things, too. Like, the maximum number of player substitution can be increased. Instead of two halves, the game can be divided into four quarters. Some post-game reviews should be done regarding blatant dives and rough plays that go unnoticed by the on-field officals.
1. Paul the Octopus
Is it just an octopus, or is He the FSM Himself!
Now, this may not be one of the most acknowledged things this World Cup, but the Spain-Germany semi-final match, to me, seemed to be the best match of the tournament. It was ‘technically’ superior to any other games in this year’s tournament. Display of individual dribbling skill might have been missing, but the game was entertaining nonetheless. The teams were evenly matched – Spain’s only advantage was Paul’s pick. I had expected the Spain-Holland game to go a similar way but the rough plays and fake dives spoilt it a bit.