Tag Archives: FIFA 2014

FIFA WORLD CUP 2014:GERMANY AND THE 31 DWARFS !

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Germany won the FIFA World Cup 2014 in a masterclass display of control, temperament,strategy and above all TEAMWORK! The Amul ad forming the basis of this post commemorates a famous German win ,which will be remembered for clockwork precision and flawless execution of the plans right up to the last minute of the 120 minute Championship Match!!!

Estadio Maracana, Rio de Janerio, 13th of July 2014.

The referee had just blown the final whistle of the Championship Match of the FIFA World Cup 2014  and celebrations which had been triggered in the 113th minute had now reached a crescendo which reverberated across the globe.

Mario Goetze , the man responsible for the unbridled celebrations, had been introduced as a substitue for the irrepressible Miroslav Klose in the 88th minute of the game.Within 25 minutes he had broken the deadlock between the two teams decisively.He had scored of his left foot,an audacious volley preceded by a wonderfully controlled ball on the chest which happened to find Goetze because Schuerrle conjured up a precise pass out of nowhere!

Schurlle  's magical pass to Goetze
Schuerrle’s magical pass to Goetze
Goetze gets 'the GOAL"!!!
Goetze gets ‘the GOAL”!!!

Germany had beaten Argentina in the finals of the World Cup by the slimmest of the margins;1- 0! But then in football its the number of goals that count; and mostly a single one suffices.And suffice it did!

It was a momentous occasion for more than one reason.History had been scripted against the will of Lionel Messi,arguably the best player of his generation.Fate and ability had combined to anoint the first ever European nation as Champion at a FIFA World Cup in South America.And this win was also the first ever for ‘Unified’ Germany(The previous three WorldChampionships had been won by West Germany)!

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This German team had come together after the first round debacle in the 2004 European Championships when the federation decided to invest in youth.After ten years of labour and some near misses the Germans had finally arrived.They were easily ‘the Best Team’ at the FIFA 2014 World Cup.As it has been said that Brazil had Neymar,Argentina had Messi but Germany had a team! Many feel that the Golden Ball award should have gone to a German rather than the losing finalist, Lionel Messi. But in a perverse sense it could be successfully argued that its a tribute to the team effort of the Germans that none won the Golden Ball .But their goal keeper Neur won the Golden Glove for keeping the German bastion invictus and contributing to the overall aim of the Team.

Germans atop Mt Glory!
Germans atop Mt Glory!

For their effort the Germans got the 38 cm long 24 carat gold trophy named after Jules Rimet.

The highest peak in world football had been scaled.In their pursuit of the ultimate football glory,the Germans easily dwarfed the remaining 31 contenders (or pretenders) masquerading as opposition at the FIFA 2014 World Cup.

Argentina , the losing finalists, played a good match. Raul Gonsalez,former Spain skipper says “(you) dont deserve to win if you miss chances”.Argentina missed three and Germany converted one. Difference between a lifetime of either haunting or pleasing memories.You are spot on Messi when you say “nothing can console me”.And as yet for Argentina there remains only one Diego Maradona or El Diego who could get them. The World Cup single handedly!

Well its not  all “Hail Germany” that i am going to talk about.There are some of these dwarfs who need to be spoken of too..though briefly 🙂

The Brazilians showcased their unique team work too.Thiago Silva & David Luiz proved they were true buddies in the the third place play off match against Netherlands when they had displayed their own unique brand of team work..

Buddies & Buffaloes!
Buddies & Buffaloes!

Silva had not been part of the mauling at Salvador.Within three minutes in the match he expressed solidarity with his team by handing a penalty to the Dutch in one of the most oafish infringement (of Arjen Robben) at the World Cup.And good buddy and Head Buffalo,David Luiz, (see Brazil!O Brazil! Its still a beautiful game!) took his Captains worries and embarassment by giving the best possible back pass to the Dutch to score (they did too)! Teamwork,right?Unique….absolutely right!!!

Neymar couldnt stay out of the news himself.

Neymar Jr crying at presser
Neymar Jr crying at presser

He snivelled at pressers and worked up emotional frenzy while making childish assertions of supporting arch rivals Argentina to avenge the loss to Germany (???).During his medical break he went on to bleech himself three shades closer to being some colour other than black (read up on the net about his penchant for whitening his skin) and In the process he ended up bleeching his underwear too and obscured the brand tags of his sponsors.This was much to the delight of the rival sponsor company.. Neymar’s underwear sponsors never got to know of this “breach in contract” as Neymar is not supposed to bend over and show the label after his back injury.Our very own Arvind Kejriwal will probably sniff a Colombian drug cartel conspiracy as the genesis of back injury to Neymar with the cartel colluding with the rival underwear to render Neymar incapable of endorsing the rival brand!.

An underwear to remember!!!
An underwear to remember!!!

So did Brazil lose because of underwear? (! )Wouldn’t it have been better that Neymar didn’t wear any at all? Who knows maybe the FIFA 2014 would have had a different end !Did it really come down to underwear..well… Wonder what Garrincha,  Pele, Socrates and Zico have to say about this!!!

There were tremendous protests preceding the hosting of the “Carniball” in Brazil and too many slippages in schedule too.To add to the spice there was an illegal ticket sale scandal to.Reminds us of of our own Common Wealth Games in New Delhi in 2010 (CWG 2010).And then Sheila Dixit, the Chief Minister of Delhi NCR, had taken the fall for the fiasco and now it was the  turn of the Brazilian President , Dilma Rousseff and now her only hope, the Selecao, too had exited unceremoniously. Like Dixit, Dilma too is probably going to lose the elections later this year.So reportedly she got in touch with Sheila Dixit to take rehab tips.

Dilma Rosseff and her Cup of Woes
Dilma Rosseff and her Cup of Woes!

But Sheila wasn’t able to help as she herself is on the run and is being shunted around in India!. Damn you Neymar and damn your underwear! Why would anyone wear them for a football match especially since this means Dilma Rousseff gets to be in the wilderness (no not in the wilderness of an underwear but the political type)because Neymar couldn’t decide what to wear down under!

By the way when does India get to be at the World Cup with its present FIFA ranking of 157 out of189 nations??Probably when we have another Joao Havelange raising the number of teams that can participate in the World Cup to 128 from its present 32.Such is our pathetic state that when Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to Brazil he had to issue a public statement that he wasnt there to attend the World Cup Finals but the BRICS summit which was coinciding with the dying moments of the “Carniball”.

Increasing the number of participating teams may be lucky turn for the “Selecao” (Brazilian football team) as I have my doubts whether Brazil will figure in the 32 in 2018 at Russia,with buffaloes representing them instead of footballers!

Coming to the Amul ad.

It depicts the victorious German team celerating the famous win at the WorldCup.The figure holding the trophy aloft is doing it just like,Phillip Lahm,the German skipper did.The bearded man in the front row depicts Mario Goetze and the Amul Girl is lovingly on his shoulders as Goetze shouldered the hopes of the entire German nation during the finals.In the background are the outstretched hands of a goal keeper depicting the imposing figure of Manuel Neur as he has been captured in the photos of that magical night.

The Tag Line..Germania…is a take on the word Alemania used by the Germans to describe their unified nation and also a clever play on the German mania that gripped the World after the imposing performance of the German Team – the Die Mannschaft.

The Punch Line….Bonn To Win…is underscoring the fact that its unified Germany that has won the Wrld Cup and stresses that by bringing to fore Bonn – the capital city of unified Germany.It also conveys that both the German team ad the Amul products are born to win by cleverly playing on the phonetics of the words.

In the end when all the dwarfs have disappeared what stays in memory is the planning excellence of Joachim Loew , the amazing performances by Thomas Mueller & Miroslav Klose as strikers,Bastian Schweinsteiger & Phillip Lahm as medios, Manuel Neur as the unscalable wall and the amazing chemistry between the likes of Sami Kheidira ,Christoph Kramer & Mesut Ozil while blending youth with experience.And above all the beautiful world beating tango by Andreas Schuerrle & Mario Goetze!!!

Germania indeed!!!

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WHEN MARIA SHARAPOVA MET GOD !

maria-sharapova-sachin Had Maria Sharapova not asked the question in the picture above, we would have never had the ‘delectable’ Amul ad featuring Sachin Tendulkar and Maria Sharapova together!

There have been occasions when I have wondered what it is like to be Maria Sharapova – a 27 year old gorgeous 6ft plus blonde who has the tennis world at her feet with 5 Grand Slam wins to include a Career Grand Slam, who is also the richest sportswoman in the world and owns a delicious sounding candy brand ! I am sure the answer is as if ‘you are on top of the world’.

Also, for the record I am not a cross dresser or a drag artist wanting to unleash the woman within!!! I have wondered this about Federer, Ronaldo, Nadal and yes ..yes…wait .. Sachin Tendulkar .(The last name has saved my Twitter & Facebook account from crashing within 5 minutes of my posting this!!! )

Coming back to Maria Sharapova.

She  had her world turned upside down between 28 June  & 03 July 14 when she lost in the Wimbledon fourth round & also found herself on the receiving end of the wrath of India’s net savvy & cricket mad netizens. images-7

And from being on  top of the world she found herself under a heap of  cricket bats , balls & stumps!!!To top it all, no amount of high decibel screeching (and when Maria screeches all the night owls of the world listen in awe…and her opponents are left in shock!) was going to get her out of the mess she found herself in (did she find Ness there? He’s in a mess too😎 ; read my earlier post ‘A Preity -Nessy Affair ?)

Sharapova’s travails began as an outcome of an innocuous query asked by a journo during the post match press interaction after her third round win at Wimbledon on 28th of June 14.The match had been witnessed by a number of famous sports personalities including David Beckham (English Premier League, La Liga & England Football star),Andrew Strauss (cricket) & a third idividual about whom the journo simply asked that;

‘Sachin Tendulkar was the other person who came in at the same time as David. Do you know who Sachin is?’

And Sharapova came up with a harmless ‘I dont’!!! images-9

Just as she said it,the world came to a stand still in a mythical land named India..where tigers roam free and play cricket!

8For my non Asian friends (it should be non SAARC readers actually)I wrote what I meant .I did not mean ‘play with crickets’..yes..cricket is a game too..no..not played by insects or not about insects! Do you not want an Indian visa ever that you don’t know this most important virtue of Indian-ness?!!!( Ness again..This time I am not promoting my blog 😎) Wonder if cricket forms part of the test on British way of life that immigrants in the UK have to undergo..especially with the Britishers having invented the game! David Cameron..hope you are paying attention !!)

Okay ,we were at the world having come to a stand still.And when it moved again Sharapova was directly behind the after burner of an Indian backlash! Her mesmerising beauty counted for not even the cheapest cricket ball in India. When she said she did not know Sachin Tendulkar she had lived a part of her life for ever.From here on Sharapova will refer to her life story in two parts..Before I Knew Sachin Tendulkar. ..and… After I Knew Sachin Tendulkar !!! images-15

How could you do this Maria?Even my smart phone knows him !!! The moment I type ‘Ten’ it fills the rest with ‘Tendulkar’!!And don’t even try misspelling Tendulkar as the damn set shuts down on its own and doesn’t rev up till I have recounted Tendulkar’s feats at least ten times over!!! The immediate reaction from the land of 17.5% of the world population was one of utter disbelief. Sharapova doesn’t know Sachin Tendulkar??? Sachin Tendulkar??? Sachin Tendulkar – The God of Cricket??? So she must pay for it! The high priest of the temples of Tendulkar had thus ordained that Maria Sharapova be taught a lesson for her sacrilegious ignorance.She was to be put on a rake for being an atheist as she did not know God!!! She was condemned to a life in hell!! images-8

Angry supporters of Tendulkar, indignant at their God being a non entity for Sharapova, trashed her Twitter & Facebook pages with the choicest of abuses & insults. It came in such torrents that her page was swamped by 50000 messages in three days, castigating her for such blasphemous ignorance!!!

The storm did settled down, but not after Sharapova begged for mercy ,but when the social media buffs in India found another serious topic to lavish their attention on.And thankfully for Sharapova this time it was the speculation of Tiger Shroff ( a new comer Bollywood hero) being none other than Priyanka Gandhi (daughter of late Rajiv Gandhi) and the ambush marketing tactics of Neymar in favour of the makers of his underwear! (Did you think they were going to talk about the Union budget or women’s safety!!!)

A flip side to all this was the heightened sale of Sharapova posters (so these could be burnt during processions😎) and the possibility of Sachin Tendulkar being nominated for the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Physics, Neuro Science, Biology and whatever else.This way the world would come to know of the game of cricket and it’s God!!! And being Indians we have been reasonable as we haven’t demanded the Nobel Prize for Sports , which doesnt exist and also for English and Peace as the former is the sign of slavery and has British origins (never mind that Cricket is a British invention too)and the latter will be opposed by Vladimir Putin as he is the main contender for it on account of the peaceful disintegration  of Ukraine! (A certain George Bush and Tony Blair have all the reasons to be miffed as their efforts in the unravelling of Iraq have gone unnoticed by the Nobel Committee!)

All in all the incident was quite a hilarious example of the reach and ‘over reach’ of the social media and the netizens in general. The ‘over the top’ reaction of the Indians did not factor in the fact that cricket is not part of the sporting culture of Russia and even Sachin Tendulkar will not know the name of the all time great of Russian Ice Hockey, a game followed with as much passion in Russia as cricket in India.

So Sharapova dear, don’t lose heart as your spat with ‘Soldiers of God (Sachin Tendulkar)’ in India or the ‘Mujahideen’ (literal translation) or should I say with the ‘Indian Mujahideen’ 😎😎😎 hasn’t made you lose fans instead it has earned you millions more! How? Well, your supposed ignorance has been splashed on the front pages all over India even in the vernacular press.That’s the segment which out numbers the netizens & the English speaking people by millions and millions! So stop wasting time and close down your ‘Sugarpova’ outlet at Wimbledon and open hundreds of them in India & a business tip that will surely work is to wrap the candy in Sachin Tendulkar’s visage based wrappers and give a free cricket ball as an incentive too.This way you would have atoned for your ‘sins’ as well as made money too! (Hire me Maria..hire me!!) images-32

The incident was controversial enough to find favour with the Amul ad line & important enough to feature in the midst of the FIFA 2014 / World Cup 2014.

It depicts a tennis player, a pretty blonde, sitting with her racquet and scratching her head to desperately figure out who the gentleman is who is trying to introduce himself to her.The girl has the face of the Amul Girl but her hair style, pink dress, with matching shoes depicts the style of Maria Sharapova. The gentleman talking to her is in a black suit and shirt & tie & holding a poster of a cricket player in India colours with Sachin printed on it.The man is depicting Sachin Tendulkar, his body structure,  hair style & his dress is the same as was worn by the original the day he sat next to David Beckham while witnessing Sharapova’s 3rd round match.Details have been well picked up by the creator. IMG-20140704-WA0002 The Tag Line…Maria , Share-a-poah with Sachin..is a wonderful take on the name of the tennis star Maria Sharapova & has combined it with the name of a delicacy of Maharashtra (the home state of Sachin Tendulkar) -Poha- is asking Maria Sharapova to share a Poha with Sachin Tendulkar & to get to know him better😁

The Punch Line…Known Everywhere…is once again establishing the universal appeal (in India) of the Amul Butter & takes a dig at the unseemly controversy about Sachin Tendulkar not be in known everywhere!!! I still feel that the winner is Sharapova as she is better recognised in India now than what Sachin would be in Russia as I wonder if the Russian press devoted any worthwhile space on the matter.

Lastly, this incident has come as a shot in the arm for the beleaguered intellectual capabilities of Alia Bhatt who has bettered Maria Sharapova as the former knows Sachin Tendulkar & the latter didn’t!!

As of right now the two protagonists of the strip are yet to comment on the controversy.And in the ‘After I Got to know Sachin Tendulkar’  phase of her life Maria Sharapova is bound to see better days as a celebrity in India & better sales of her candy product line! For her too ‘Achche din aayenge’ & she has Sachin Tendulkar to thank for it.God tussi great Ho! !! Really! images-41

My advise to the social media buffs is that India is not the centre of the universe or the earth and claim to the ‘Middle Kingdom’ tag is of the Chinese! And don’t mess with the Chinese for they are better & meaner at computer games😎

Leaving you with the best memes on the Sachin Tendulkar -Maria Sharapova  (needless) controversy.

Sorry Sachin Tendulkar, Sharapova has put you & me in the same league.She doesn’t know both of us & I play cricket too !!! Bro0WY0CAAEbHS-  sharapova-meme-7 images-26BrlkYfaCUAAVEF9

CASILLAS….CASILLAS….HAD A GREAT FALL!!!

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It is these two iconic images from the game between the current champions Spain and the  Netherlands in the ongoing  FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 which have formed the theme of the strip.The strip celebrates the extraordinary performance by the ‘Flying Dutchman’ and the disastrous  sinking of the ‘Spanish Armada’ during the game.

June 13,2014,Arena Fonte Nova,Salvador.

Spain ,the defending World Champions, are lined up in their opening encounter against the Netherlands, the team they humbled at Johannesburg to win the crown in 2010.Current form and the fact that 7 of the 2010 squad in South Africa form part of the present Spanish team under manager Vincent Del Bosque makes the Spanish team an overwhelming favourite to win the match ‘hands down’.

90 minutes later… The Spanish Armada has been sunk!

Mercilessly pounded by the Dutch and mauled beyond recognition of their world beating aura the Spanish football team was decimated.  The final scoreline ,5-1 for Netherlands, was the worst result for a defending Champion in FIFA World Cups.Its all over for the Spanish and the team seems to have lost its midas touch and worse still their claim on retaining the World Cup at FIFA 2014. The entire Spanish team failed but it was one man, their Captain and talismanic goal keeper Iker Casillas ,who took the biggest fall at the biggest stage of world football.

And this piece is all about him…he was the biggest success for the world beating Spanish teams from 2008 onwards and on this fateful day he was more responsible than the others for debacle at Salvador.He.was.most certainly The Humpty Dumpty equivalent in the match…who too had a great fall in the iconic nursery rhyme.

At the start of the game, fresh from  a Champions League victory,  Casillas would have been smug in the knowledge that he had already ‘thumped’ most of his European opponents many times over.But it was going to be ‘a Eureka moment’  night for him when at the end he would be acknowledging to himself that he was better off being a baker or a grocer rather than a ‘keeper’ with Spain ‘s all conquering football team and that after almost 15 years of top flight football!

Before the Netherlands scored its first goal Casillas was 44 minutes away from bettering Walter Zenga’s record of not conceding a goal for 528 minutes at the World Cup. And prophetically at the stroke of 44 minutes into the match, Dutchman Robin van Persie scored and shattered the first of the many illusions that Casillas may have harboured for the game (he was denied the record by 44′). And from here on started Casillas’ s very own and customised ‘nightmare at Elms street’.

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In fact such was the helplessness of Casillas after the first goal that his immediate reaction may have been to applaud and congratulate the striker as there wasn’t anything else that he could do.He would have probably done that had he secured his grocer’s job in Madrid prior to coming for the World Cup at Brazil!!!

After Arjen Robben had blitzed past Casillas in the 53rd minute to  score the second goal for Netherlands a strange stupor seems to have set into Casillas.It seemed he suddenly had a vision that Robben was actually Frank Rjikaard from the 90s and that they had conspired to do the unthinkable ie score against the ‘unparalleled’ San Casillas!

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It is now that Casillas realised that Robben and Persie were the very characters his mother had told him about in the bed time stories way back as a kid! His fears were back!

He seemed to have lost his confidence and thereon  he was easy picking for the mischievous elves of Scandinavia who had descended in hordes, wearing blue, on the hapless Casillas on a night which was supposed to bring him glory and not accursed luck. He failed to parry a simple chance offered by de Vrij in the 65th minute and Spain were trailing 1-3!

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The transformation of Casillas from ‘keeper’ to ‘shocker’ was about to be completed when he lost the ball during a regulation backpass and saw van Persie (the one whom he knew from the stories as a child😎) steal the ball and make it  1-4.

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Lying sprawled and cringing  within, all that Casillas could do was probably admire the shoes that Persie was wearing and being thankful for the soft turf under his body for after this he was only going to be between  rock and a hard place when it came to his future with Spain and it’s football team.Some say that it’s at this point that Casillas started looking for a safe exit route from the stadium, one which would skirt the change room of the Spanish football team ,and lost his composure!

Having lost his focus (and preoccupied with the thoughts of escape and re employment) Casillas allowed himself to be fooled by Robben and found himself wrong footed while the Dutch striker fired into an empty goal…

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With this the meltdown of Casillas was complete and he could only sink to his knees to feel the soft turf( watching Robben celebrate) and to give one last look to confirm the alternate exit route which happened to be a hole in the earth beneath his very feet!!!

The ‘sank-on-his-knees’ look made for a terrific selfie but as ‘San Casual’was busy getting busted the entire world’s media lent him a hand (or a shutter) in immortalising the moment. 

Casillas had now realised that the chill going down his spine was nothing else but the fear of tackling his girlfriend Sara Carbonero. No naughty thoughts please (we are Indians) , Iker was feeling performance pressure (yes!! ) but of a different kind . Carbonero , an attractive sideline sports commentator, (also voted the sexiest in the world) had once left Casillas tongue tied after Spain’s opening game defeat to Switzerland during the  FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa.Well, Cassy baby it’s time to answer the same question again (and she is not going to be asking about marrying her) which she posed way back in 2010, “How did you muck it up?”

And to help you out with what you said back then “I don’t know if this defeat will have consequences. The dressing room is fed up. “

You are lucky Casillas you know what she is going to ask you and better still you know what to answer as well.(Wish you’d had even a slice of this luck in the game though)

Casillas was candid in the post match media interaction when he said that “I am the first one to ask for forgiveness”.Was it that he actually realised his game was up (for sale😎…buyers ??) or had hit up on a PR campaign idea to start on a massive dollop of public sympathy for his re employment bid once he was thrown out of the team or guillotined for sinking Spanish hopes at FIFA 2014.

Admittedly ,Casillas had had a tough and lack lustre 2014 where he had not been the #1  keeper for Real Madrid and had been a famous member of the bench during the course of the La Liga.( Had he spent that time acquiring vocational skills his situation may have been redeemed while he sank on his knees on June 13th).But he had been the  “Special One’ when it came to the Copa Del Ray, the Champions League and even the Confederation Cup with the National team.So nothing that had happened in the years gone by had suggested the dismantling of the invictus Casillas Castle in such a humbling manner.

The fall from grace is even greater when seen in perspective of Casillas ‘ career. He had been a part of the Spanish teams which had won the UEFA European Under 16 Championships in 1997 and the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1999.He became the youngest ever player to play in the Champions League finals when he played for Real Madrid in May 2000.Soon after he broke into Spain’s senior football team.

In his first four years he helped his  club win two league titles, two Spanish Super Cups, one UEFA Super Cup and the final of the Champions League against Bayern Leverkusen in 2002.He was instrumental in ensuring back to back league titles for Real Madrid in 2007 and 2008.He won another Spanish Super Cup title in 2008 as well.And starting 2007 he figured in the UEFA Team of the Year for six straight years. He went on to win another league title Spanish Super Cup in 2012 and a famous ‘Decima’ for Real  Madrid in 2014 just before the ‘Carniball’   ( FIFA World Cup  2014) in Brazil.

With the Spanish national team he played a stellar role in their 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup campaigns.Was handed over the captaincy after the 2006 World Cup and helped in ending the major title drought for the  ‘La Roja’ by winning the 2008 European Championships and following it up with the victory in 2010 FIFA World Cup and successfully defending the title in the 2012 European Championships.

So in spite of Casillas losing his place in the Real Madrid starting line up pist 2012 partly due to a fractured finger and partly due to a fractured relationship with Jose Mourihno his past record suggested that he was the ‘go to’ man for the Spaniards in a major tournament such as the FIFA 2014.His penalty saves against Italy and Portugal in 2008 and 2012  European Championships and his breathtaking saves to thwart Arjen Robben and Netherlands in the FIFA 2010 championship and 10 consequetive clean slates in knock out matches were testimony to his big match temperament. 

And then on June 13th,2014 he ran into Robin van Persie and and Arjen Robben who ended his dreams and destroyed his legacy as an all time great.

It is on account of the iconic status of Casillas, the Spanish football team- the La Roja- and the spectacular effort of the Dutch team in dethroning the Spaniards from there high pedestal that the Amul strip features their collective saga.

The strip shows two caricatures, both Amul girls, pitched against each other with the one in blue leaping and scoring over a bamboozled goal keeper in fluorescent green. The caricatures depict the iconic images of van Persie and Casillas respectively from the Spain vs Netherlands game in FIFA 2014.

The tag line…Dutch ke rehna re baba! ..is a taken on the popular Bollywood number ‘Bach ke rehna re baba’…simply implying be safe and  beware – there is danger lurking!And it was lurking for Casillas in the form of the Dutch duo of Persie and Robben.

The Punch Line… Truly Breadtaking.. is a tribute to the breathtaking goal and display by the Dutch players in particular van Persie for his extreme athleticism in scoring the acrobatic equaliser for Netherlands.The impact of that strike was such that it threw the ‘La Roja’ and Casillas in such disarray that thereafter they conceded a goal every ten minutes – 44′,53′,65′,72′ & 80! Breathtaking display indeed.

After this game many predicted the end of the era of several magnificent players from Spain including Casillas. Heeding the advise of the millions of analysts ,including his girlfriend Sara, Casillas has already posted his CV in numerous job portals with his credentials for having ‘safe hands’ being highlighted. After this match only those who do not follow football will fall for that one…and there aren’t many of that tribe!Particularly so in Real Madrid who have already started looking beyond Casillas. 

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So it’s curtains for you Iker. Don’t forget to roll over to break the fall!

And who’s that we see you walking into the sunset with..Arjen Robben. .The Elf …all I can say is …Dutch ke rehna re baba !!!

FIFA BITES SUAREZ 😈😈😈😈

The strip is a follow up on the previous one featured on the Luis Suarez ‘biting’ incident at the FIFA 2104 World Cup in Brazil.It came out in the newspapers on Friday,27th of  June instead of its traditional slot on a Wednesday and coincided with FIFA’s verdict in the “Chew-arez” episode.

FIFA Disciplinary Committee (FDC) handed Luis Suarez a record nine match ban for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in a group match thus leaving his World Cup dream in tatters.Suarez was also slapped a four month world wide playing ban that will keep him out of all competitions till 26th October 2014.Implying that the 27 year old Uruguayan will also miss the first nine games in the English Premier League (EPL).In addition the player was also fined 100000 Swiss Francs (Rs 67.3 lacs).

To round up the humiliation, Suarez has been barred from “entering the confines of any stadium” for the duration of the ban (thus saving any prospective player or spectator from experiencing the strength of a  Uruguayan jaw). Suarez has been found guilty of breeching Articles 48 (assault) and 57 (unsporting behaviour) of the FIFA  code of conduct.

Well, the serious bit(e) ends here.

Its absolute pandemonium when it comes to the reactions to the incident and now on its aftermath. The Uruguayan football team has certainly lost its bite (figuratively and literally) and it’s supporters seem to have developed a penchant for coming with a ridiculous yet sublime explanation for the appearance of the “Suajaws” in the game against Italy. The Uruguayan football Chief feels,It’s a European Witch Hunt”! Had he said its a Vampire hunt it nay have found some support at least with Wesley Snipes (of the Blade fame) other than his countrymen. 

The President of Uruguay , Jose Mujica ,also threw his weight behind Suarez and sought to blame the process and not the trigger

“in football, I was taught that you obey what the referee says . If you are going to take decisions in football based  on what TV says, then there are loads of penalties and handballs.that you will have to give that weren’t given, so bad luck.”

He then went on to endorse Suarez’s stature as a role model when he said that

“We did not choose him to be a philosopher or a mechanic, or to have good manners.He is a great player.”

And the Uruguayan media termed the FIFA verdict as “barbaric” .Thankfully they did not term it “cannibalistic” or it would have been too close to the protagonist itself and FIFA and Suarez would have been painted by the same broad brush!!!!

Though my heart goes out to Suarez’s grand mother especially since she raised him, yet her statement that they threw out her “negreto” – “like a dog” – doesn’t really evoke the pathos it otherwise would have.I wonder what would happen if a canine given to biting enters a football field featuring Suarez then what would Suarez do or prefer to be done? Yes..you got it- he would throw out the dog!!! So how has FIFA behaved differently? Now that grand ma has my heart or a part of it I hope that the foregoing doesn’t make her toss it to her “negreto”!

Whatever be the opinion of the 3.5 million Uruguayans, the Latin American media, President Mujica and grand mama I tend to go with what ex Brazilian star Ronaldo has to say about the whole issue

I never bit anyone.I know bites hurt. (If) my kids bite me they are punished in the dark room with the big bad wolf:that’s equivalent of not plying soccer for four months.”

Giorgio Chiellini, the famous Suajaws victim #3 feels that the punishment is too harsh and “alienating” for Suarez.Even Patrice Evra , Suajaws #2, voted for his tormentor while picking the bet player in the EPL.Maybe there’s something in the raw genius (not jaws) of Suarez which compels.even his victims to root for him.But does Suarez really care? And does he really see his rivals any different than a burger? 

When Suarez was 15 he head butted the referee who sent him our for a wild tackle.The refree was Luis Lauranaga.His name has been deliberately mentioned as it took sports writer Wright Thompson considerable effort (and weeks) to get to the bottom of the story amidst fervent denials and impassioned rebuttals from all those he interacted with in Uruguay while covering a piece on Suarez.The common refrain was that

“Sure , his head hit the referee’s face , but not on purpose!!”

I thought heads were far more in control of a player than his legs while darting around on a football field. When the Uruguayan media reports the latest Suarez special in a ‘matter of fact’ way that

“note how Suarez stumbles after jumping for the ball and how his face hits the shoulder of Chiellini”

It is indicative of the sense to protect someone vulnerable.And this vulnerability of Suarez probably stems from his family history and life wherein he was left behind with his grandmother at 7 when his parents moved with his six siblings to Montevideo Suarez had to rough it out on the street for mere survival.His impoverished surroundings and the divorce of his parents at 9 seem to have left an indelible mark on his psyche leaving him on tbe edge and turning him into a man given to compulsive violence. When Suarez was a kid and playing football he probably bit back the kid jostling hom out of position.It seems the kid in Suarez is periliously close to taking control of the adult in him whemever Suarez is close to implosion. Perhaps sensing this itself prompted Cathays Kelly to write in her column on 15th December 2013 that Suarez would probably do something insane at FIFA 2014 and then engineer an ugly transfer drama at world record fees to a club other than one in the EPL.The first part of the crystal gazing has come true and there is enough time for Suarez to make the second part happen.

We all love underdogs and more so of there is an eternal romantic hidden in the story.

Suarez was heart broken when he saw his sweetheart, Sofia ,moving to Spain in 2002.He is the impoverished come -from -behind kid who then dedicated his life to soccer and first made a move to Holland in the quest to reunite with his girl and then made it big in world club football to be able to marry her.What adds to the enigma of Suarez is that he met Sofia when he was a street sweeper and she was from a comfortable middle class family.

The fairy tale is now complete..rich girl..poor boy..struggle to stay together and finally love triumphs..boy gets girl..riches..becomes a world class footballer..has two kids and lives happily! He is a role model for all street kids..so where does the bite fit in? Luis Suarez is a part of the dreams of billions of underprivileged people and he is their God. It will take more than a bite to dislodge him.from his pedestal.And all those who are tempted to try will fail.For people love a hero and a flawed and persecuted hero is a God forever.

Coming to the Amul ad strip.Well it’s a repeat of the one featured earlier except for the tag line.

The tag line..Cannibal..is a description of the FIFA World Cup being played in the land of the Carnival and is being referred to as the Carniball It also a play on the word Cannibal due to the penchant for biting that Suraez has now come to be associated with.

Remaining strip is the same as the one previously discussed in BITE LIKE SUAREZ with the Amul Girl as the referee.

As of now Suarez has had his sponsors ditching him.Poker 888 has terminated it’s arrangement with him and Adidas has decided not to run ads with Suarez featuring in them.

Suarez needs help and that too urgently.It would be a pity too see him ruin himself this way. Zinedine Zidane , an Algeria immigrant , too squandered his legacy at the very end. And he too had a disturbed childhood.

W

BITE IT LIKE SUAREZ 😈😈😈

New Doc 6_1   This one is based on a little “BIT (E)” of an incident which took place in the match between Italy and Uruguay at the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Brazil . Before it ended the spectators weren’t too sure if Professor Hannibal Lecter had been let loose amongst them !

Italy and Uruguay went into this crucial Group D encounter with the knowledge that the winner will go through to the next round..and at the very least a draw will suffice for Italy to make the cut.And the Uruguayan players knew it from their experience of playing in Europe that in a situation like that there is no other team than Italy in world football which can play better for that result.

The scores remained level almost till the final whistle when finally in the 81st minute Uruguay broke through on the effort of their Captain Diego Godin, who jumped over the Italian defenders to score the all important winner which sent his team into the pre quarters and Italy packed their bags for a long haul international flight.

This was preceded by high drama when firstly the Italians were a man down for over 30 minutes in the second half and secondly because Luis Suarez could not keep his teeth in check! In the 73rd minute the Italians protested that their defender Chiellini had been fouled and BITTEN by Suarez.The referee seemed to have missed it but television reviews clearly showed Suarez digging deep into Chiellini’s left shoulder. images-19images-10

By the time the dust had settled over the famous Uruguayan win, the international media and the players community had come down heavily on Suarez and calls for a hefty punishment had gained traction . So much so that it prompted Evander Hollyfield, an ex World Heavy Weight Boxing Champ and a victim of a similar bodily assault by Mike Tyson during their title fight in the 90s (see photo below), to say that he guessed “any part of the body is up for eating” !! images-15

This would have made Tyson sit up and pay attention as he never knew the glorious possibilities which existed in football (or toothball???) for him to ply his trade !!! images-1

The incident would have evoked shock and (gn)awe at any point in time and involving any player.But when it comes to “Chewey” Luis the consternation is much more pronounced as apart from being a serial goal scorer he is also a serial biter! He has had two previous incidents wherein he has displayed a fetish for “toothball”. In 2010 he was dubbed the “Cannibal of Ajax” after he bit PSV Eindhoven’s Oltman Bakkal in a Dutch league game.This incident was also not noticed by the referee , but “Chew-arez” was later handed a seven match ban. images-26

Later in 2013 during the English Premier League (EPL),while playing for Liverpool, Suarez was once again seen sinking his teeth into Chelsea’s Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic. He was given a 10 match suspension for the same. images images-18

These are not the only on- field transgressions of Suarez.

In 2011 he allegedly racially abused Manchester United’ s Patrick Evra during an EPL game in October 2011.He remained unrepentant and was fined £40000 and banned for eight matches.Later he also refused to shake hands with Evra when the teams met again during the EPL. 

In the 2010 FIFA World Cup in a quarter final match against Ghana , Suarez deliberately caused a hand-ball at the goal mouth to  certain goal by the Ghanians. He was red carded but Uruguay went on to win the match and played the semi finals. “I made the save of the Tournament” was his unrepentant comment.

During the World Cup and also during the EPL in 2013 -14  it seemed that Suarez had turned over a new leaf as he was amongst the headlines for his impassioned effort and ability to finally harness his prodigious abilities. He had scored 31 EPL goals before coming to the FIFA 2014 and had also scored two breathtaking goals against England to knock them out of the tournament. And then out of the blue came the latest incident and that too at the high table of World football and in front of billions of fans. Maradona writes in his column that it was presumably the tight marking by the Italian defenders which led to the implosion of of Luis Suarez.A theory doing the rounds is that there was a probable provocation on the part of Chiellini wherein he may have “kick- started ” Suarez into such a blatantly unacceptable reaction.  New Doc 4_1 Whatever be the provocation Suarez was grossly out of line with his behaviour and even more damning has been the revelation that there was a long standing enmity with Chiellini which has probably resulted in a bite being taken off his left shoulder. Uruguay and Italy had met in the third place match during the Confederations Cup in Brazil held in 2013 and even then Suarez had tried to bite the right shoulder of Chiellini during a tense match which was tied 2-2 at the end of regulation time. This match was eventually won by Italy on penalties. New Doc 3_1

As Uruguay can potentially go on to play four more games at FIFA 2014 the impending enquiry has assumed significance. In spite of the referee not seeing the offence the enquiry is still valid as FIFA  allows the use of  videos and any other evidence to punish players retrospectively.

More on the present status after we have discussed the the strip 😎 The strip shows a marauding #9 in white jersey climbing all over a hapless #3 in blue jersey and biting him on the left shoulder with anger in his eyes while the two jostle for ball possession.The caricatures are wearing the colour and numbered jersey of Luis Suarez and Chiellini respectively. The Amul Girl is shown in the traditional yellow and black attire of the referees at the FIFA World Cup.She is in all likelihood depicting the disciplinary role of the world body as the actual referee had not noticed the on- field offence . The eye for detail in the strip is a stand out effort.

The Tag Line…Kaata toh hai…ab chamach bhi mil jaye …..is an amazing spin on the hindi word for a fork as well as for biting.The need for the spoon is felt as a fork and a spoon are needed for savouring a dish. In this case the biting inspired strip is taking a dig at the likely penchant of Suarez to consider rival players as edible and thus the need for the full complement of eating implements. 

The Punch Line…Anytime Bite…is emphasising on the fact that the Amul butter can be relished at any time of the day just as Luis Suarez can be expected to bite anytime during a football match (I thank my stars for not ever having to be playing for or against him).

As of now the enquiry is still under way and Suarez’s lawyer and head of the Uruguayan football have rushed to Brazil to defend his case.They have also alleged a European conspiracy to weaken the effort of a South American and impoverished nation (or is it essentially to introduce A Uruguayan Vampire as most of them in the Twilight Series  and Vampire Diaries are of Caucasian ascent and probably not a positive endorsement of the Caucasian ethnicity !)

Before signing off one can’t help but wonder as to why someone on  top of his prowess would repeatedly indulge in a barbaric and violent manner to squander all he has garnered so far by way of fame , prestige and riches. Some sports psychologists are ascribing the difficult childhood that Suarez had,as one amongst seven children from an underprivileged background, for his bizarre and violent streak.What is also apparent is that this fallacy in Suarez is deep set and a few sessions of therapy can only widen the gap between two incidents and not prevent them.His denial at the post match press conference underscores this very fact wherein he is blatantly lying and attributing the entire sordid saga to a clash of shoulders as just “one of the things that happen on the football field”. (I hope Luis Suarez doesn’t come after me for this “biting criticism” of his behaviour !!!) The bottom line remains that Luis Suarez is a disgrace who has sullied the image of the game, his country and destroyed his own legacy.