July 05, 2006

The World Cup so far: Story of the Good, Bad & the Ugly

I must say, I'm not a great footy fan but the spell of the world cup has certainly overtaken me. I have never really understood the passion of die hard fans of European teams thousands of miles away from them!?! Imagine guys in a beer parlour/pub in the Lagos, bragging about how 'their great team' – Arsenal is much better than Manchester United?!? Bizarre, they don’t even know where Woolwich is in London so why their support for Arsenal!?! That is probably why I can’t or haven’t been bothered to keenly follow the numerous football leagues splattered all over Europe. In my opinion League football should revolve around local teams and local passion.

The World Cup however has been some football worth watching because of the sense on nationalism it generally instills in fans. It is quintessentially an avenue of national pride at its best, with fair play, no violence.
Given that Nigeria failed to qualify, my attention was a bit half witted from the start. I carefully played a balancing act between support for England and Cote d‘Ivoire. But given the failure of both teams I have resolved to sitting down and enjoying the game or even maybe placing bets on games.

So from a half–witted point of view, what have been the highs & lows of Germany 2006?
I'll start with the lows;
No.1 the general poor performance of African teams and the fact that only 1 team pulled through it through to the 2nd round, where they were shattered by Brazil. It was really depressing because in the office, whenever a European team was to face an African team, my colleagues saw it as an easy win or 'bonus match' to pick a quick 3 points. It was quite frustrating seeing these teams
No.2 Not seeing Argentina come through today, when they were clearly the more superior team than Germany.
No 3 Betting 100 quid on Germany last night and seeing them lose, even though my heart told me to go for Italy.

My highs;
No.1 France’s win over Spain when I learnt that the France coach Raymond Domenech claimed that some members of his team were subjected to racist taunts by Spanish football fans before Tuesday's second-round match and Spainís coach (Luis Aragones) refusal to apologise to Thierry Henry for the racist comments he made two years ago.
No.2 Quality football has been superb all the way
No.3: Fact that Nigeria is still the best Afircan Team despite not qualifying for the World Cup

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