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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

World Cup Soccer Memories and 2018 World Cup Analysis

My first memory of WC soccer dates back to 1982 when DD telecasted opening match of WC 92 in Spain where past winners Argentina was defeated. DD telecasted sfs and finals. W Germany vs France SF was epic. Paulo Rossi headed Brazil out in QF, defeated Poland and again headed  out W Germany in finals. Some story.
Then came world cup involving hand of god. Last minute hosts Mexico offered memorable World cup involving Maradona. Goals he scored vs Belgium , England (other than hand of god goal) were out of world. Final with W Germany was phenomenal. Many good teams like France with Platini, Brazil will Zico, Socretes etc, Denmark, Spain. All the matches were telecasted on DD (live or recorded due to time diff). DD used to be shut by 11.30 to reopen at 6 am. Strange in 24/7 age
1990 world cup in Italy was bit boring with some non classical but tactical soccer. Maradona still showed mettle by defeating Brazil, and reaching finals thanks to  penalty shootout performance. Germany finally succeeded to win finals thanks to a controversial penalty. Teams from Africa like Cameroon. Trio of Netherlands van basten rudd, rickaard flopped. England made to semis. Hosts had unknown hero in schillachi to reach semis. New stars like Bagiio, Owen showed their top skills.
I saw 1994 USA WC in hostel during summer breaks. I was doing project and hostel was almost empty with around 30 odd students on projects. We enjoyed night outs  with canteen egg food. Again African teams like nigeria excelled. East Europen teams like Romania as well as Scandinavian teams like Sweden excelled. Brazil vs Netherlands QF was excellent thanks to some great play by Romario, Bergkamp.  Italy vs Brazil played cat and mouse final with no score and Brazil won on penalties. Baggio played well but missed penalty.
1998 I was in bachelor company accommodation in Mumbai. It rained heavily in Mumbai. Luckily we survived thanks to local restaurant who sent parcels across the road for food water etc. France won finals when Ronaldo had seizures. It was Golden french generation of zidanne, deschamps, henry , bartez, lablanc name them all. Croatia excelled. Italy England , Argentina, Netherlands made their presence felt till QFs /semis.
I saw live WC soccer match in Korea in 2002. Dream come true thanks to my Korean partner and timing of my stay there. Hosts Korea reached SFs while Japan made it to knowckout. Korea killed many giants like Italy Spain till Germany outplayed them. Brazil and Germany progressed to Finals. Turkey excelled. Finally Ronaldo made his presence felt in finals and Brazil won.
2006 Germany was marked by controversial head butt in finals. Italy overcame jinx of penalties and won the finals against France. Brazil lost due to Roberto Carlos non actionvs France in QF. Portugal did well to reach semis and Ronaldo was introduce on world stage along with Messi though Agrentina lost in round of 16. Italians defeated hosts Germany with nation and president crying.
2010 world cup was hosted in Africa for first time in South Africa. This was height of Spanish empire with WC trophy sandwiched between two euro wins. Possession football as a strategy finally showed results. It was Golden Spanish generation. Netherlands reached finals with likes of Robben, Van Persie etc. Spain defeated Germany in semis. Urugway also excelled with likes of Suarez.
2014 world cup in Brazil was crazy with Germans gaining hold of trophy by winning final in penalties over Argentina (so near but yet so far for Messi) Brazil had nightmare evening in semis vs Germany. Netherlands also reached semifinals. Soccer was bit low on quality but Topsy-turvy .
Now then we reach present. 2018 I am in far land and with lagging time zone. So had time to follow matches and details. Had rampant Whatapp /facebook discussions during live match. Soccer was special and matches were exciting and scoring. Here is an analysis:
While teams that hogged the ball struggled to score, many of the most effective sides were able to tactically exploit free kicks and corners to give themselves a crucial edge—and at a higher rate than ever before France’s 4-2 win over Croatia in Sunday’s World Cup final brought an end to five weeks of thrilling soccer and shocking upsets. It also means there is no longer a convenient excuse to sneak out to that bar near the office in the middle of the day.