Friday, June 20, 2014

England still has hope! ;p

Bizarre but true and all their hope lies on Italy!

If Italy wins its next two games against Uruguay and Costa Rica, England will need to score 2 goals against Costa Rica to advance to Round 16. 

But cheeky Fifa as always has placed all the last two group matches to run concurrently. Which means even if England wins (I doubt they will by the way ;p), there should be nail biting agony if Italy is still not leading by then ;p

Spain on the other hand have no hope whatsoever. I’ve tried multiple possibilities but the results are still the same, Bye Bye Spain.

It’s looking to be a Dutch group B topper and Chille in 2nd spot at the moment. Though if Chile wins the match against the Dutch, they will top Group B. Interesting last match for Group B there.

Ill talk about Brazil in the next post and the weakness in the other teams. 

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Holy Dutch

What started of as a boring game, ended as a – holy dutch encounter!
Wow 5-1, yes world and all that missed the game, the dutch scored 5-1!!!

Football gods – I love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. Thank you for the goal feasts and I will thank you everyday if you continue giving us such goal feasts ;p me likey.

Again referee was a pain. Missing moments of shoving which deserved yellow cards and instead awarding dubious penalties. THAT was another penalty that shouldn’t have been awarded! But good penalty by Xabi Alonso.

And as I tweeted,

2014 will be known as the year of dubious penalties *rolls eyes

Most of the first half was focused at the Dutch goal post. The Spaniards had most of the goal possession and were trying their best to attack from all sides. I was just going to say Cassilas, the Spanish Goalie is probably swatting flies on the other side when the flying Dutchman Robin van Persie flew in unexpectedly intersepting Blinds pass and headed in an amazing goal at the 44th minute. The goal came out of nowhere and took Casillias and the world by surprise and it wasn’t the only surprise for the night. That first goal was golden, so so amazing.

What was cute though was seeing Persie run half the field towards his coach and high fiving him! Now that is a sign of great partnership.
But the ball possession in the first half returns to the Spaniards in the beginning of the second half and probably had the Dutch goalie thinking – eh hello there’s two goal posts in this game!

Minutes later Arjen Robben scores another unexpected goal, no one saw that coming it was that brilliant. They barely had interactions with Cassilas till then. Wow wow.

Cassilias redeems himself for a bit by deflecting a goal attempt in time, hes all alert this time or so we think. And then Stefan de Vrij sneaks in a goal. You have to watch that goal again. It was literally snucked in! ;p
By now the game had taken a turn and was getting exciting and unbelievable by the minute.

Casillas was having such a bad time, he even got a yellow card ;p poor guy, he was getting hoodwinked by the Dutch all game long!

And then Persie charges in taking advantage of Casillas blunder and scores the FOURTH goal!!! And we all go wilddddddddddd

You know at that point Persie could have fallen and rolled over the grass but instead he trips a bit, circles around and scoressssssssssss!!!

Casillas looked as if he was wondering how he would go back to Spain. I tweeted.

Cassillas worry not, you can move to Netherlands, you will get a heros welcome there for being so friendly to the dutch ;p heheh

I was just gonna tweet, coach takes persie out to give Spain some Mercy when Robben scores another unbelievable FIFTH goal. Yes Fifth!!!!

And what an awesome, awesome goal. Robben comes flying in outrunning Spanish defenders and shuffels the ball around before he finally scores! And at that point one of the two defenders was actually trying to pull him back! It should have been another yellow card for the Spannish!

This was my favourite goal of the game, it was so unbelievably brilliant and funny all at once.

Go go I beg you rewatch the goal highlights below – it is so brilliant!

I believe the Dutch are going to be a pleasure to watch this time around, that is if they continue to play like in the second half. Dutch's winning point - theres this awesome connection between coach and players, who runs half the field to high five the coach otherwise?

The combination of Blind, Robben and Persie is one deadly combination. Oh what fun this has been. Loving World Cup 2014 so far ;p 

Full account of match here.

Btw follow me on twitter for immediate match reactions @visithra 

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Friday, June 13, 2014

What a game!

And no, not coz of Brazil but because of Crotia. Stand up and give them a resounding round of applause.

I’m a football fan and not a blinded one.

That was in no way great playing by Brazil. They fumbled, looked blur, were playing passing ball with the Croatian Goalie Pletikosa and were practically lost on the field!

Croatians on the other hand were headstrong in wanting to win over the favourites and that first unfortunate own goal by Marcelo – will go down in history as the biggest WTH moment. That’s the first goal of the season ok!!

And quoting a friend

Brazil had many firsts - First match…..First goal….. First Corner….First Penalty…..First own goal….First Yellow Card ;p

The game was nail biting to say the least and exactly what I had wanted. Thank you football gods for the scoring feast!

The referee on the other hand was an oddball. That penalty shouldn’t have been awarded! Having said that Neymar did a good job on that count, his first goal was good too. And I don’t think Neymar deserved a yellow card either but it set the tone for the game.

However he was not the life saver for Brazil it was the tireless Oscar @ Oscaros Santos Emboaba JĂșnior who should be praised. He never stopped trying to create opportunities for Brazil and that goal was brilliant.

Another friend pointed out that his goal reminded him of Ronaldo’s tipping point goal in the finals against Germany in 2002. Go read this minute by minute account and see how many opportunities Oscar created.

Relive those glorious goals by Ronaldo in 2002 here. Now that is what Joga Bonito is about.

Oscar’s goal is here

My fear this year was the team was too young, less experienced and probably over their head with fame. This time they were just lucky lady luck was smiling at them.

No matter what I will be supporting them. I hope they get the pep talk of their lives. I’m also now hoping they will take another strategy as this game was supposed to be the easier one. They’re in for hell in round 16, quarters and semis if they reach there that is.

Let’s see, I’ll talk strategy tomorrow.

I haven’t picked my annual underdog team, but the Croatians have clearly given a resounding don’t underestimate us. Kudos to them. You might have not won the match, but you won the game!

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Joga Bonito Brazil

It was the 1994 World Cup and the first time I started watching football. I was in my teens, still in school and since the games were at ungodly hours, I watched them mostly alone at home. At the beginning I had no favourites but the final was nearing and sides needed to be chosen. It was a good season to become a football fan.

Brazil was playing against Italy and they were two equally good teams. The choice was between the then not so good looking but awesome players team of Brazillians and the very good looking Italians. My friend opted for the Italians, I decided I preferred the Samba players.

After a final match that went into extra time and ended goalless. The winners were decided on a penalty shoot-out. Brazil beat Italy 3-2 that day and sealed my loyalty with their awesome game.

It wasn’t just them winning that got me to support them. We didn’t have social media or the internet then telling us who I should support or who had a better chance of winning. We had good old newspapers and RTMs annoying commentators who often said the weirdest things. Imagine hearing seksaaaaa ALL THE FREAKING TIME! 

And of course lots of lots of discussion at school. Ah what great times we had, talking about the matches.

So what has kept me a fan for exactly 20 years?

Its simply because of – Joga Bonito. Those guys don’t play the field, they dance on the field. Watch their legs when they play and you’ll wonder if they were practicing the Capoeira or the Samba on the field.

The Brazilians are so know for the joga bonito that it is often refered to as the Brazilian style of football. It means being creative and playing from your heart as a team.

Tele Santana is widely credited for the invention of the “joga bonito” by the vast majority of the Brazilian press. He believed that if the opposition scores five goals against you, your obligation is not to score seven goals, but to score seven "spectacular" goals. 
Every game is an all out attacking style, they rarely play defensive unless for tactical reasons and that’s why I love watching them play. I absolutely hate defensive style of playing with goalless matches. Drives me nuts and I’ll start mumbling – score all ready will ya!
And contrary to what people think, not everyone is a Brazil supporter. Actually I’m usually surrounded by people who rather see them lose – anything but Brazil!

So this time around I’m surprised I’ve got two fellow Brazil supporters at work ;p Pretty different from that iconic or controversial 2002 quaterfinal game where I sat in a room filled with 20 – 30 people from work who all supported England except for me, the boss and another colleague! Go google up Ronaldinho’s 32 meter awesome free kick and how he got sent off on an undeserved red card 7 minutes later!

Let’s backtrack to the 1998 finals – Brazil vs France.

I was quietly watching it with my dad. 1st goal, I was chanting no worries, we’ll get you. 2nd goal goes in and I was still going, we’ll get you! By the third goal, I’d silently slumped into my chair wishing it would end. I will never ever forget that match score in my life. Coz the next day I had lunch with one of my friends who was an Anti Brazil supporter.

Throughout the whole lunch, all I heard was 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! 4-0! For a few hours!

So yes its not easy being a Brazil fan, everyone thinks we will win, everyone hates us for that, and everyone thinks you’re supporting them coz they’re winners!

I’ve seen them win, I’ve seen them lost terribly, but no matter what win or lose, I’ve stood by them for 20 awesome years!

So my usual wish list for every world cup will be

Please, may we have great games, good games, no goalless draws, no referee blunders (yeah right), lots and lots of awesome goals, if possible no moving forward coz of aggregate, less injury drama (@ England players and Christiano Ronaldo), wonderful corner kicks, brilliant penalty saves and a awesome awesome semi and final games.

May the best team win and each match be determined by great matches!

Let the games begin!

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Monday, June 02, 2014

Chance encounters

One of the things I love most about photography and the internet is that it has introduced me to an amazing bunch of people from around the world who i would have probably never met if it hadn't been coz of either.

One such encounter was with renowned Pakistan artist Abro and through him I learnt about the activism he and his wife Attiya Dawood (famed poet and activist) and her beautiful writing. I think I have read quite a bit of her poignant poems - this being one of it. Such powerful words and what an apt painting by Abro himself.

The Murder in Marriage

Brandishing religion like a sword
Riding the blind horse of desire
You trampled over my heart.
You condemned my faith in you to the gallows
And you married for a second time,
Each and every moment spent with you
I wove over my flesh like skin,
Tying my “aanchal” to you
I left the court-yard of my father.
In the mould that you brought
I located my self.
What is love, I don’t know,
But your home covered me with its shade like
the “barth” tree,
It saved me from evil eyes
From the arrows coming in my pursuit.
To live in this mould
I kept on trimming, clipping myself.
A drop of your blood came alive in my flesh
But even children could not be a bond between us.
What are relationships, I don’t know.
I was taught only this single lesson:
Your home is the last refuge for me.
So many time’s have I seen
Divorced women
Condemned by time’s eye
To death by stoning.
That is why
like a cat afraid of rain
I sat content and quiet
in a corner of the house
on the use of your name.
What is haven, what is hell…. I don’t know
But this much I believe:
Heaven is not higher than faith
Hell not more difficult to bear
than the laughter of the Second Wife.
No “Pul Surat” more difficult to cross
Than having to put up with anybody’s taunts,
everybody’s pity.
Sometimes I found the Second Wife’s face
to be like mine.
I have seen lack of trust
Adding wrinkles to her forehead.
Whenever she looks at me
Happiness flutters in her chest
Like a pigeon caught between two hands.

I cannot fight it
You are a part of it,
I cannot fight against you.
Religion, law and society are on your side,
Traditions are weapons in your hands.
I want to tear off from the book of life
That chapter
Which you have penned
To serve your interest
In my destiny.

Poem by Attiya Dawood
Translated into English by Asif Farrukhi
Painting by Abro Khuda Bux
Taken from "RAGING TO BE FREE"
Published by Maktaba-e-Daniyal
Published in April 1995

He and his family are one of many people who have shown me that our complains are pretty trivial as compared to what goes on there. One day i hope to visit Pakistan, to see those beautiful places he has photographed but mostly so I can meet him and his inspiring family - though a long time back he told me, don't come here.

I will post a few more links - including the story Time did on them. Some of her poems can be read here.

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