Thursday, March 30, 2006

Wouldn't a beer barrel be better?

Mr. Pique is my first memory of football, that and my cousin and father getting excited about the Laudrup brothers in 1986. I was still too young to stay up and night and watch football.

However, Mr. Pique was exciting enough. A friend from far away. In fact, I made his counterpart in Red, called him "lonka". Mr. Pique, the mascot for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, is amongst my three favourite mascots of all time*. And he was cute.

Unfortunately, cuteness is not the only criteria while designing the mascots for World Cup. Obviously, the mascot should be related to the culture of the place. I support that. It should also look fairly energetic and sporty, if it represents the football World Cup or the Olympics. I can live with that. However, some organising committees also think of other criteria. For example:

"GOLEO VI has set himself one overriding task and has made it his sole priority: he wants the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany to be one huge, joyful and unforgettable party, spending his time as the "King of Parties" celebrating, singing and dancing with fans from all over the world for four whole weeks. He's as cool as they come, an attribute he's likely to need as his fame and stardom inexorably increase."

Then, after having confused the matter and brought in 'cool', they give the designing duties to some corporate design firm instead of a children's book illustrator or children themselves. Firms like Jim Henson Company, which neither have any background in local culture, nor are told to think cute. The result: Ugly shaggy lion with no pants.

Okay, Goleo is not as bad as Olympics 1996, when nobody could even figure out what it was, sorry, What'sit or 1990, when the best of Italian design came up with Ciao. But, I am sure even a cute beer barrel would have looked better. In fact, come to think of it, that's a very good idea. Nothing like beer to represent Germany, is there?

* The other ones are Hodori and Misha from the Olympics.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Beautiful Game...

72 days left!

Concept: Dibesh Saha
All individual images are the property of their respective owners.

Crossposted at psychkick.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Instant Replays

Cross posted at 22nd floor.

Knowledge quizzers will ask about the claim to fame of Jamea Jackson in the next few years. Good quizzers will ask, "Jamea Jackson watched her groundstroke land close to the sideline, and when it was called out, she sensed a chance to make a little history. What happened next?"

What happened was the start on instant replay in professional tennis at Key Biscayne. The start was interesting as the Jamea appealed, even though she knew that the call was right. For the chance to make history.

The match went on smoothly even though four appeals were made.

Obviously, there are detractors: "It sounds like a good idea, getting every line call correct. But think about it: Most incorrect calls even out in a match; the pros will tell you that. Meanwhile, turning contested line calls over to a supposedly infallible eye in the sky penalizes the stronger-willed player who can absorb a bad break and remain composed and resolute. Maybe this is why Roger Federer, the cool Swiss, is opposed to using the technology." from here. But I am all for it. If we can use technology and it doesn't slow down the game (how can it if there are already so many breaks in play and all you are doing is preventing a longish argument and grumbling?), let's go ahead. Damn the Luddites.

Now, if only they will do the same in football. This experiment is an interesting first step, though it won't be present in the World Cup. Go here for an informed view on the debate. Come back if you want to debate this further.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

League Standings as of 16th Mar 2006

It was high time I updated the league standings. So I was surfing through the web, looking at tables. What I thought was quite interesting, is that the Spanish, Italian and Dutch leagues have fewer draws, if you look at the top 5 teams in the table. Spanish sides, except the top two have goal differences in single digits. I can only infer that they play for wins but their defence leaks or the lower teams are quite inferior. I don't think the latter's the case in La Liga. While the English Premiership teams are getting better at playing 4-5-1 and strengthening their defenses, most end up with drawn games. Liverpool though looks to have ended their hunt for the elusive back of the net by scoring 5 times last night against Fulham; Crouch, Morientes, Fowler getting one each.

English Premier League
Spanish La Liga
Italian Serie A
German Bundesliga
Scottish Premier League
French Ligue 1
Dutch Eredivisie

Argentina Primera Division
Mexico Primera Division

Singapore S-League

Monday, March 13, 2006

Let's go shopping...

Chelski wants to go shopping again this summer. The players in the list are:
1. Ronaldinho
2. Ballack
3. Nedved

All the above three are mid-fielders/playmakers. I wonder how Jose plans to give them regular games with Lampard, Makelele, Essien, Maniche, Joe Cole already in the team. In the past he has had picked up players for only a year to either sell them or send them on loans viz. Tiago, Kezman, Smertin, Jarosik. Crespo was the only exception who got back from his loan spell in Milan to get into the playing 11 with regularity. If Chelsea wants to win the Champions League, it would be better off focussing on Strikers, which they have lacked sorely. If you follow the game, then you will notice a large percentage of goals are scored by the midfielders (which in no way is bad, but the strikers have just not been upto the mark). But with Roman's deep pockets you wouldn't be surprised if they go ahead and overhaul the whole team!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Here we go again...

Mourinho just can't stop crying. I had posted this a couple of weeks back. But he insists on eating sour grapes. I can't help it can I? Chelsea was outplayed last night and while Jose can crib about not finishing the Stamford Bridge game with 11 players, what was his excuse last night? Wine not too good? Or maybe the weather? How about you don't have a Ronaldinho in your team eh? And inspite of the 85 million minimum tag for his sale, Barca wouldn't be interested. Ask Ronnie himself! Bugger off Jose.

Cross-posted at Freewheelin