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Well, it's been 4 days since the greatest sporting extravanganza has started and I feel it has been pretty satisfactory uptil now from the point of view that the big boys have all started well with the stunning exception of France while the 'minnows' have all worked hard and gave their all but again with an exception among them....Saudi Arabia:depress:
Senegal's shocker was honestly a rude awakening to the rest of the world that not only the little African nation is massively improving everyday but also that African football has taken huge strides in the past decade. To be honest......any African country that qualify for the WC can now hardly be called a 'minnow'. South Africa rallied impressively to tie with Paraguay in what was another solid performance. Cameroon dominated Ireland in the first half though the situation reversed in the 2nd half and a 1-1 was probably a fair result. Nigeria's 1-0 loss was hardly a disaster for them since eventhough the favourites Argentina were always dominating....Nigeria was never totally out of the match. Rather uncharacteristic of them to defend with 10 men like that though.....:rolleyes:
Another performance that made me smile was that of the Slovenes. True that Spain hardly looked to be in 3rd gear in the whole match but Slovenia after their unexpectedly good performance in Euro 2000 again tried hard to cope with the pressure and finally managed to score at 2-0 down. Just when it seemed that we had a match in our hands, the rather controversial penalty buried the rising hopes of the fighting Slovenes to snatch a draw.
Thumbs up to them!:cool:
Turkey too is rising. They entered the match with the obvious mission of stifling the attacking drive of the 3 Rs but it certainly wasn't an irritating brand of football they played. And whey Hasan Sas blasted the ball past Marcos, I simply couldn't stop myself from jumping madly with happiness. It wasn't just because I am an Argentine supporter. I always want smaller nations to come up and do well. Too bad Rustu and Alpay nullified the whole cause of the evening so late in the game....:(
And finally Ecuador. Looked like game, set and match when Vieri scored his second before the half hour. But no! Ecuador showed why they qualified above Brazil and second behind Argentina in the South American qualifiers. Ulses De La Cruz and co. showed bags of skills and indeed had a considerable no. of attempts at goals though any of them hardly troubled Buffon. When Vieri scored again in the 27th minute, I prayed to God this didn't turn out to be another 8-0 mauling....for the sake of neutrals, for the sake of football.
Yes, we all want to see goals. But hey.....competitiveness is what makes football and especially the World Cup more interesting. How enjoyable is it to see the same old powerhouses Germany, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, France, England thrash weaker teams again and again? I don't know about others but it certainly pleases me greatly when any weak team rises upto the challenge and give a good fight instead of throwing their hands up and giving up even before the match starts.
Hats off to those who already shocked the world. Thumbs up to those who fought till the end irrespective of the result. And may the other minnows cause some more pleasant surprises.....notably South Korea and Japan who have the home crowd behind them.

It's good for the game in the long-term.

Viva la football!

:cool:
 

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It makes me happy too when the so called "minnows" do well against the "superior" teams. May we still see some more surprises by the "minnows":).
 

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I will give you "minnows" - Denmark will win the next 6 matches...

1992 - European Champions

2002 - World Champions

I'd like that - to wait 10 years for the next title is acceptable ;)
 
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