The soccer fever will always live on

The end of 11 July 2010, Monday left some people in a daze, some not knowing what to look forward to, with the wrapping up of the month-long FIFA World Cup 2010. The once every 4 years soccer championship which gathers the best of soccer players all over the world to one location to compete came to fruition with Spain winning the championship which cements their country’s status as world champion for the next 4 years until the next world cup.

This was to be a time where people all over the world regardless of geographical locations, whether young or old, guy or girl, soccer fan or not, stayed glued to the television every night/day and took leaves or day offs if they have to – to catch their favorite countries/teams battle it out.

‘Now with the competition that occurs every leap year coming to a close, what next?’ Some might say. To be honest, I was never a soccer fan until months prior to arguably the biggest competition of the world (other than the Olympics). As I stepped into the world of football, I came to a realization of so many things about soccer. The soccer fever never ends, really. Soccer or football isn’t as simple as it seems; ’22 men chasing 1 ball in a soccer match’. There are so many attributes that affect the game, from tactics, choice of formation, trump cards (star/key players), WHEN to play your trump card, the coach of the team, and many more. (This could either lead them to raising the Cup at the end of the league, or send them crashing out of the tournament.)

To add on, every team has a certain culture (example: Chelsea’s manager is known as boss, captain known as skipper), fanbase (bandwagon), nickname (Liverpool and fans are known as Reds, Arsenal and fans are known as Gunners), their home ground(stadium), arch rivals (Liverpool vs Man U, Man U vs Man City, etc), key players, jersey color, sponsors (Who would like a Russian mafia for boss? – Chelsea) and more.

La Liga

If that wasn’t enough, there are so many different leagues and divisions to learn about! There’s the Premier League for the English clubs, La Liga for the Spanish clubs, Seria A for the Italian clubs, Champions League to gather the best of all the different leagues, as well as the lower leagues and many more.

If that wasn’t entertaining enough, the transfers (sometimes controversial or amounts running in the millions) of star players or even coach (David Villa from Valencia to Barcelona, Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez from Liverpool to Inter Milan) from one club to another make the soccer matches ever more exciting and dramatic.

There is so much to learn about soccer, I am learning something new everyday! Not to mention, the joy of being able to gather with your close friends of same or rival clubs at a pub or at someone’s house to watch the sport, cheer together or even boo at each other.

The Big Four

Choosing a soccer club to support is like choosing a car. Once you have decided, you generally don’t choose another club unless you’re a ‘loser’ who claims “I am a supporter of the winning team!” – my friend says. Haha! For me, I’ve made the decision to pledge my allegiance to Liverpool for the Premier League (not because of Torres!) because it’s one of clubs with all the factors I perceive as most pleasant – great slogan ‘You’ll never walk alone’ and because some of my friends are Liverpool fans (I don’t want a club who is millions in debt, or have someone who slept with his best friend’s wife for captain, etc), and Barcelona for the Spanish League because of their star studded cast of Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry, Gerard Piqué, Carles Puyol, David Villa of course! A good read that everyone should look through on deciding a premier league club to support: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/060719

Though World Cup is over, La Liga is just round the corner! So, if you really wanna know more about soccer, why not venture a little deeper, find out more. I don’t believe ‘Real man talk soccer’ thing, but I believe soccer is really an alluring and fun sport most guys would enjoy.

As for those who only catch the World Cup fever, we shall chat about soccer and Host country; Brazil in 4 year’s time! And just for the record, soccer matches can’t be predicted by an octopus or bird.

Yours Sincerely,
Reuel Eugene

Photos:
http://www.eslpod.com/eslpod_blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/espana.jpg
http://cdn.epltalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/the_big_four_in_the_premiership.gif
http://www.videosoccer.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/la_liga_600.jpg

Bye Argentina. Sniffs

Sigh, as we all know, Argentina suffered a devastating defeat by the hands of Germany whose players Thomas Mueller (3), Miroslav Klose (68, 89) and Arne Friedrich (74) scored a total of 4 goals. While I might have been the Argentinian fan, I hate to admit it that the Germans were simply better. It was apparent that Germany outclass their South American counterparts, having carefully analyzed Argentina meticulously to avoid a defeat like the one in the 4th March friendly match. And they’ve done too good a job.

The Argentinian defense were simply too slow and sloppy to repel the quick-footed German offense comprising of Thomas Mueller, Miroslav and more. There were ample opportunities and space for both sides to score as seen in the game, but it was Deutschland who made full use of their opportunities and exploited the Argentine weakness.

Maradona’s Messi, Tevez and Higuain tried their best, but the Germans could somehow repel their every attack, preventing them from equalizing, even preventing them from scoring a consolation goal. One thing I find disturbing was that Argentinian strikers fail to deliver crucial through passes that could have otherwise turn the tides of the game. Seems like they thought that they could score, which they don’t. If only they could deliver the through balls at the right time. Things could have been different!!

The Germans were up and about throughout the game. After exposing the Argentine weakness, almost every German side – from forwards, to the midfielders, and even the defenders went for the kill, as was seen in the match where the Argentine box was filled with black shirts. Eventually, a German defender, Arne Friedrich scores.

In the end, Argentina fails to avenge their Quarter finals defeat to Germany as was the case in 2006. Sigh, it’s a sad day. But I hope that Germany would really go further, perhaps to win the World Cup, since they won over Argentina! *pumps fist into the air*

As for Messi, he did well to maintain possession of the ball, did brilliant assists, but failed on his own personal goal, to score at least a goal in the World Cup matches. If I were him, well.. I wouldn’t know how the feeling of not scoring a single goal feel like! But that doesn’t take away the fact that he has been awesome throughout the matches.

And the man of the match is … there isn’t any in my opinion because all the Germans played exceptionally well.

I won’t be watching the following match between the Spaniards and Paraguay as it is just too tiring! Based on the odds, it is needless to say the ESP Giants would definitely without a shadow of a doubt, beat Paraguay. But hey look, based on what’s happened so far (Italy, France, England, Argentina) ousted, you might never know.. For all you know, Paraguay might win, go into the Finals, and win the World Cup!?!!

Well, even if the Spaniards does win, it is simply bad fortune that they are paired up to play against Germany in the Semi finals. Something’s gotta give. It would be a match to remember if they were to play in the Finals.

Anyway, that’s all for today. As for Maradona, it’s perhaps time for him to gather La Albiceleste, kiss and hug them and sing along together, ‘Don’t cry for me [us], Argentina’..

Yours Sincerely,
Reuel Eugene

Photos:
http://www.csmonitor.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/media/images/0627-tevez/8221256-1-eng-US/0627-TEVEZ_full_380.jpg
http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/images/photos/000/980/219/102467056_crop_340x234.jpg?1277724418
http://www.sportskeeda.com/wp-content/uploads/Wonder-Boy-300×222.jpg
http://bayern.theoffside.com/files/2010/01/miroslav_klose.jpg
http://www.dfb.de/images/wallpaper/klose/1600.jpg
http://u.goal.com/100700/100760_news.jpg

FIFA World Cup 2010, Love the game but remember your loved ones!

How’s staying up to watch FIFA World Cup 2010 so far? As we all know, the matches are in the 3 following timings (S’pore time): 7.30 pm, 10 pm and 2.30 pm. So far, in my opinion some of the heavyweights aren’t performing to their best or are still asleep.

Argentina’s coach, Football Legend Diego Macadona have alot to prove to critics – that he can coach the winning team. Lionel Messi – prove his ability in World Cup in order to add his name into the list of Football Legends. Argentina’s Gabriel Heinze scored an early goal at the 5th minute, setting expectations that they would thrash Nigeria in the next 85 minutes. But it was to be a goalless match in the next 85 minutes, with FIFA World Player of the year 2009 Lionel Messi (or Leo Messi) missing the goal several times or deflected by Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

England drew with USA, to both score 1 goal. Many say England’s Robert Green was responsible for the draw, but I feel it’s a team thing. Even if Robert Green did made a mistake and allowed that goal, England could have scored another with a lineup consisting of several star players. So perhaps the downplay of their opponents cost them the draw? Well, I’m glad I did not stay up to catch that match!

On the other hand, Germany did the spectacular literally by being the first team to score 4 goals to nothing in the match against Australia, pulverizing the team from down under. It was an exciting match right from the beginning and Australia put up a good fight but was no match to the young German team. This team would be one to look out for this World Cup.

German Striker, Miroslav Klose

South Korea, representing all of Asia in a sense, did us Asians proud by defeating a European country, Greece 2 to nothing. Credits goes to Lee Jung Soo (2nd International Goal) and Manchester United’s Park Ji Sung. The South Korean team displayed a fine play of football and lots of vigor. They could be one of the dark horses in this World Cup.

Well, the sleeping Defending Champion Italy managed to stay afloat, scoring a draw with Paraguay. I’m glad I did not stay up to watch this match!

In any case, the companies are expecting a sharp rise in employees taking off-days and leaves so that they can catch the World Cup matches. And needless to say, this will be a challenging time for spouses, girlfriends or loved ones as most girls  would find no meaning in watching 22 man running around for a ball. I was amused to watch Channel 8 news a few days back to listen to the news anchor advising the men not to neglect their girlfriends and spouses or force them to watch soccer together with them during the World Cup season.

Personally, I think that girls who watch soccer and participate in LAN gaming are kinda cool, but I feel that we are all entitled to our own recreational preferences, likes and dislikes. So, to the girls who don’t watch soccer, we still love you. However, please do consider this crucial moment (month) of our lives! As a guy, I would also advise us to try our best not to neglect our girlfriends or spouses during this season. A month of Ecstasy can’t really substantiate to years of relationship!

Yours Sincerely,
Reuel Eugene

Photos:
http://blogenclasse.crdp-limousin.fr/classes/23/ime-grand-bourg/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/diego-maradona.jpg
http://onelion.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/leo_messi.jpg
http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2006/06/21/470_klose,0.jpg
http://zaskelawoffice.com/imgs/home/sub-header-sad-lady.jpg
http://sorin.droopy.ro/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/watching_football.jpg

World Cup FEVER is ON!

It’s Day 2 of FIFA World Cup 2010! I’m totally excited! As of now, we are just minutes away from the match between Argentina vs Nigeria. I can’t wait to see Leo Messi in action! Lets see if Football legend Diego Maradona’s tactic would lift Argentina to the top, or bring Argentina to its knees.

More updates in coming days!

Yours Sincerely,
Reuel Eugene.

World Cup on SG TV Screens, Go or No Go?

News is out. As everybody know, Singtel and Starhub has finally secured the rights to broadcast all 64 football matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup live on both their TV channels. The early bird subscription (until 31 May) for the World Cup package would be priced at SGD$66 ($70.52 w/GST) and $88 ($94.16 w/GST) thereafter.

 This is a significant increase from the S$15 early bird price and S$25 subsequently that StarHub charged in 2006. – quoted from Yahoo News

Seeing such a sharp jump in price as compared to previous years is enough to deter any mediocre football fan from taking up the package. But before you make up your decision, let’s do some analysis. Applying math, assuming the subscriber takes up the early bird package;

$70.52 / 64 football matches = $1.10 /football match

If you factor that in, then the package is not really that expensive anymore huh. About Singtel and StarHub securing the rights for the benefit of Singaporeans, I guess they don’t really have a choice since they have to recup the millions they spent or are going to spend to broadcast the football matches. As for the profits, c’mon Singtel and StarHub are not NPOs (Non-Profit Organizations) right? I don’t think there’s anything wrong if they want to try to earn abit from this deal since so much time and company resources has been spent working on this collaboration for months and since time to a corporation equals money.

In any case, for those of us who find that sum of money a pinch, there are always many other alternatives such as catching them at pubs, tuning in to Malaysia’s RTM channels or joining the crowd at the kopitiams and coffeeshops (the owners would most likely absorb the charges since selling drinks to the football fanatics is so much more profitable and could help them recup their ‘losses’ in no time).

But personally, I don’t really find the price tag that much of problem per say, since its [World Cup] is just a quadrennial (once every 4 years) event. One can take this as a recreational investment. But one thing’s for sure, Singaporeans islandwide would definitely by all means, try their best to tune in to catch the 64 football matches for the love of the game.

Anyway, my favorites would be Spain! Spain FTW! But Argentina has Messi. It will be good to see the clash of the titans in the quarter final matches and above.

What’s your take? Feel free to comment.

Yours Sincerely,
Reuel Eugene.

Related Articles:
http://info.singtel.com/node/7152

Reference:
http://sg.yfittopostblog.com/2010/05/07/singapore-finally-attains-world-cup-broadcasting-rights/