June 27, 2010

World Cup notes

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="338" caption="Messi at WC 2010"]WC[/caption]

Not being a particular fan of football or the FIFA world cup, I'm now a convert. My reasons are voiced lucidly by tbray's take on it:

..The sense of occasion, and the widespread joy it brings to so many around the world. Something that causes this much intense shared feeling just can’t be a bad thing. On balance, I’d say the World Cup is one of the good things about being a member of Homo sapiens.

Wavin' Flag

I love the song. It is uplifting, and the choice of the song is courageous. These times are well known for political correctness, so the choice of a song on "Freedom" at the world stage is good.

However, the spirits came down a bit when I looked in the history of the song. Wavin' Flag was originally released in March '09. The song is powerful, and the lyrics hard hitting. Excerpts :

Born to a throne, stronger than Rome
But Violent prone, poor people zone
But it’s my home, all I have known
Where I got grown, streets we would roam

So we struggling, fighting to eat and
We wondering when we’ll be free

Read it in it's entirety here. I was saddened to learn Coca-Cola, who selected the song as the WC anthem got rid of the "darker lyrics". The PR blurb is :

It's about the one time that we all get together and the world forgets its conflict and its problems and we focus on this unity and celebration. That moment is connected now to 'Wavin' Flag.

I thought Coca-Cola missed the mark here. Selecting the original song for all of it's power would've been a better choice. Acknowledging, rather than setting aside, these "dark" issues would've been the bolder thing to do. Hear the actual song, and compare it with the "Celebration Mix".

Of course Fifa and K'Naan are all happy with this. Who am I to complain!? I do wonder what N.Korea, China, etc think of the song.

The Games

  • The refereeing has been silly in many games. Not sure if this is the norm.
  • Messi is sublime with his tackling. Deservedly the best player in the world right now. The Sachin of football right now (or Federer.. take your pick).
  • Spain looks in very good form. They get a lot of hits on goal, but fail to convert. If this improves, they are at the top of my list to win the cup.
  • Argentina at the top of that list as well.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo seems to be the only one in Portugal with some flair. Their match against Brazil dragged.
  • USA/Slovakia/Ivory Coast showed guts. Bravo.

Other Notes

  • Shakira's moves! Waka Waka is one hell of a catchy tune!
  • Is the reason to not use TV cameras to help referee decisions idealistic? I hate watching bad actors getting fouls their way, and blatant offenses go unnoticed.
  • I also hate the delaying tactics by the winning team during the last minutes of the match. Are you that scared?
  • Nice to see Italy go! Their sportsmanship from last WC still has a bad taste.
  • Give more red cards to intentional tripping of attackers. Encourage good football.


Which brings me to the end of the post. When will this country with 1/6th the population of the world produce a dozen good footballers?! I like all the hype behind football right now. It gets pages of newsprint, compared to cricket's quarter page. I hope this is not a passing fancy with the game, but rather reflects the birth of interest in a non-cricket game. We sorely need it.