Friday, July 18, 2014

Tattoos, hairdos and footballers

Don’t judge a book by its cover, external appearances can be deceptive, you must have heard these phrases umpteen times. They are so true and valid, else you might risk viewing a person with prejudice, and it has its own perils. These sayings come to the fore when you look at the footballers. These filthy rich tattoo laden footballers can give an impression of cocky, arrogant; I give a damn kind, with philandering being their middle name. They lead a bohemian lifestyle full of flamboyance and attitude. There is plethora of stories strewn on the net describing the shenanigans of these new age superstars. They all know how to lead life king-size. But that’s their outward appearance which is so common and in vogue, especially with creative people. Footballers love to express themselves with weird hairdos and quirky tattoos all over their bodies; this is their way of making a fashion statement. I always wonder are they not admonished by their parents when they see their son’s appearance. Looking at them always gives me an impression of intimidating creatures that are high on booze, babes and everything which a traditional society despises. They seem to be from a different world altogether; blame it on their appearance. But, here is where one can horribly go wrong in judging these mavericks, bad boys.


Heavily Tattooed
To be a successful footballer one has to go through rigorous work ethics, this holds true for any sport though. These athletes leave their homes behind to foreign shores to make a mark in the world of football. Football being a very rough sport they have to battle career threatening injuries which can wreak havoc in their sporting career. Behind those millions of dollars that they earn, lay their blood and sweat, a scare of career threatening injury always looms over their head all the time. There are many instances of great careers gone bust because of injuries, cutting short their promising careers. Marco Van Basten is one such name which comes to my mind. In short the outward appearance is just a mask to satiate the business demands is what I think.

The other aspect of these tough athletes that come to mind is, their immense love for the game and the pain they go through when their team, be it club or the national, lose. They are left sobbing like small kids who have been bashed in the school. This emotion reveals their tenderness and the soft side of their personality. This aspect also brings out their humility for world to see. During the just concluded WC in Brazil you must have seen these tough guys sob profusely without any inhibitions in front of the world, not worried what they would say or feel. 

Tenderness personified
Crying galore
Sobbing toughies
The tattoos, the weird hairdos often make them look like wild beast that have no heart, or someone rugged and tough who won’t get hurt emotionally. But make no mistake they are as human as we are or even more. In no way I am trying to say they are saint. I am only hinting at, look beyond their outward appearance or else you would falter in judging them with a prejudice.

Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 WC Champions, Germany

FIFA 2014 WC - Christ the redeemer
Christ the redeemer
What a match and what a win by the Germans, simply fabulous. It was a Humdinger of a match as expected from these giants and worth every penny and time spent. It was one of the most exhilarating matches that I have seen in recent times. Both the teams were in top gear at the word go. The speed with which both the teams played was a sight to behold and savor for long long time. It seems both of them had given away their defensive streaks and aggression was the only thing on their mind. I am great fan of German style of football, which relies heavily on aggression and quick and tricky passing, something which I got to see in full flow during this final. The South Americans were no different and they matched the Europeans in aggression, even creating opportunities to only let them go. Such opportunities need to be grabbed by both hands to come out winner. These lost opportunities eventually proved costly for them and relegated them to the runner up spot. Higuain had a peach of an opportunity which could have made him the blue eyed boy in Argentine football history, but it was not his day and for the South Americans.

Germans took a cue from Higuain and tried getting through the strong defenses of Sergio Romero but in vain. He stood there like an impregnable wall pushing away everything thrown at him, until in the dying minutes of the extra time, his defenses were breached to give Germans the opportunity of podium finish. The Germans ran like they were possessed desperately wanting to win, in doing so they suffered some meaty blows at the hands of the Argentine. Bastian Shweinstigger had to be on sidelines with blood flowing profusely under his eye, but the enormity of the stage couldn’t keep him out for long. He was cheered while he stepped back into the arena. 

FIFA 2014 WC - The Arena
The Arena
Unfortunately Kristoph Kramer’s dream of playing the WC final ended half way when he had to retire due to a bludgeoning tackle from the Argentine players. Everyone in the team had a role to play and they did it to perfection to the delight of Joachim Lowe. First ninety minutes were laden with attacks and counterattacks but without any success
Argentine players created many opportunities but couldn’t cash on them. Palacio, Higuain, Mascherano were almost on brink of becoming hero’s for their team, but they faltered to the dismay of their coach. These opportunities do not come knocking at your door very often and letting them slip out of your hand is as good as a sin, which qualifies punishment. A lot was dependent on Messi, but that’s unfair I think. There were rare moments where he could do some tricks, but Germans had marked him intelligently not allowing him to break the shackles. He got an opportunity to level scores when Argentina was awarded a free kick from a position which had the potential to prove fatal, but he was way off target. This lost opportunity summed up the Argentine resistance and paved way for the Germans to lay their hands on the championship trophy. At the final whistle the Germans were ecstatic, tears running down from their eyes, the tears of happiness having realized a dream.

Ecstatic Germans after the victory
It was an emotional sight for everyone, on the other hand Argentine players were crying like kids having denied their toys. They couldn’t fathom the thought of not having won the trophy and were inconsolable. The Argentine fans couldn’t be left behind, with young, adults, men, women all weeping trying to pacify each other. The word "Competition" can be so cruel, I thought and I had tears in my eyes as well.

Defeat can be bitter
The real heroes of the German win were the industrious Andre Schurrle and the baby face dynamo named Mario Goetze. There co-ordination and finish had finesse, skill written all over. The poise with which Goetze collected the ball and kicked through Romero's defenses was a gem. This craftsmanship, artistry is what people want to see from the footballers and the German duo demonstrated this to the whole world that night. No guesses Goetze is the cynosure of all German eyes and would continue to be for a long long time. He has written his name in golden letters in the annals of German football history. He has not only registered his name into reckoning but also made himself available for the highest German civilian award and many more. Mario Goetze has managed to do something which only the chosen ones are capable, and he is undoubtedly the poster boy of German football.

FIFA 2014 WC - Mario Goetze
Mario the savior for Germany
It was sheer coincidence that this feat was accomplished by the Germans in presence of Lothar Matthias their former captain who managed to win the big title defeating the Argentine team in 1990. Every German player gets a pat on their back for playing as a team and contributing in their own way in this big win. Joachim Lowe deserves a special praise for handling the team full of superstars and getting them play to their potential. The WC saga thus ends with Germany crowned the winner a feeling which is going to take a lot of time to sink in for them and they are going to relish these moments for their lifetime.
Christ the decider
Proud Winners