Support UNICEF's relief efforts in Myanmar

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Will Italy lose the World Cup?

There has been some talk of Italy losing the World Cup if FIFA's investigation of the Zidane-Materazzi establishes that Materazzi used racial slurs. This is of course, if FIFA decides to go to the extremes to impose disciplinary action.

Here are the rules - Amendment to Article 55 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code
...Par. 1: Anyone who publicly disparages, discriminates against or denigrates someone in a defamatory manner on account of race, colour, language, religion or ethnic origin, or perpetrates any other discriminatory and/or contemptuous act, will be subject to match suspension for at least five matches at every level. Furthermore, a stadium ban and a fine of at least CHF 20,000 will be imposed on the perpetrator. If the perpetrator is an official, the fine will be at least CHF 30,000.

If any player, association or club official or spectator perpetrates any kind of discriminatory or contemptuous act as described by Par. 1 and/or 2 of this article, three points will automatically be deducted from the team concerned...

In the case of matches without points, the team concerned, if identifiable, will be disqualified...

Very unlikely that they will take the cup away. That will cause quite some outrage. But I sure hope Materazzi is fined/suspended, if found guilty.

In Zidane's defence, if someone's on the field for 90 minutes, repeatedly heckled, physically assaulted and his family's name brought to the field, it will take a lot of determination to keep from hitting back. For a player of his stature, Zidane should have known better, but I think Materazzi got less than he deserved. Zidane should have let his clenched fist do some talking too.

Speculation on what Materazzi told Zidane:
1. BBC - "I wish an ugly death to you and all your family, go **** yourself. A high ball is "not for feccia like you". ('Feccia' is an Italian insult meaning scum or shit.)
2. Sun - "son of a terrorist whore". (Zidane's mom, Malika, had been unwell for a few days.)
3. Some others say he called Zidane's sister a prostitute.

Of course pyschologists must have their say too:
Panelist Gerard Ernault, editor of France Football magazine, suggested Zidane may have acted unconsciously as a reaction to his impending retirement. "We could ask ourselves if he refused this consecration, this crown atop his head, by making suicidal gestures as a way also to reject his exit, his retirement".

Related Tags:

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Anger Management or Better Sportsmanship?

In continuation of the excellence exhibited in the Germany-Portugal clash yesterday, the World Cup Soccer Finals played out very well today. Unfortunately, the final verdict had to be deferred to a penalty kick-out. But more than Italy's 5-3 victory over France, more has been said of the Zidane-Materazzi incident. From the video, it appears like Materazzi got what he deserved. I would have liked Zidane to have been spared the misery of sitting out the last few minutes of what is probably his last game. But at this level, and with his experience, Zidane should have known better.

Zidane's initial response to Materazzi was subdued; but Materazzi's continued tauts irked Zidane enough to momentarily lose his cool. Even as he struck Materazzi, the look on Zidane's face and his body language exhibited the regret; but it was too late and his illustrious career had to end with a red card.

So, would anger management classes have made a difference for Zidane? I don't believe any degree of anger management is going to take out all of our anger, unless of course you are on the path to becoming a monk - a very good one at that. What could have definitely helped is if Materazzi had exhibited better sportsmanship and played the game fair instead of resorting to extreme mind-games as a few teams repeatedly do in Cricket.

I hope the next World Cup is played with more fairness, less fakes, better sportsmanship and more spectacular footwork and strategies.

Zidane-Materazzi Video:

Update (Jul 10)
Materazzi's skills: (via digg - there is no escaping the past)

Related Tags:

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Finally, some good soccer!

After a disappointing semi-finals where Italy and Portugal players competed for best fakes, we are finally getting to see some really good moves on the field. Germany and Portugal are going all out in the fight for the third place. In 20 minutes there have been at least 10 attacking shots at the goal; 2/3rd by Germany. So far, Germany has displayed superior technique and some excellent footwork. And also fouled the most. The refrees though, are being a lot more lenient in this game.

Back to the semis - Italy's practice sessions sure came in handy for their game vs Germany. But Portugal went one up in their game with France. If it took the slightest contact for Italian players to hit the dirt; the Portuguese went down if they were within 6 inches from an opponent. In one instance, 2 players went down when the ball passed between them. The funny thing was neither of them came in contact with an opponent player or the ball. Nonetheless, both appealed! :)

Italy's Practice Sessions:

Germany scored a well-deserved win (3-1). They played the game aggressively from the beginning and kept the pressure on Portugal through the game. 3 of the 4 goals scored in the game were awesome; the exception being the self-goal by Portugal. If only Germany had played with this spirit in their semi-finals game with Italy, they well could have been facing France tomorrow! Lets hope the game tomorrow is just as exciting as this one.

Related Tags:

   Copyright 2005
Subscribe to Passing Clouds on your cell phone