More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Fourth Time Lucky For Italy and Federer

A month full of football has finally come to an end. And at the end, the eventual victor was Italy, quite a surprise for everyone I think. Congratulations to Italy for winning, they did what was required. They did not play the best football in terms of playing a beautiful attacking game, but I guess in the end, winning is the most important. Most people won't remember how you won, just the fact that you did.

Italy's win continued the tradition of only seven countries ever winning the World Cup. This win was Italy's fourth and put them only behind the mighty Brazilians who have five wins.

The final game itself was fairly controversial. The game started off with a goal very early to France when Materazzi brought down Malouda in the goal square resulting in a penalty. Once again, the awarding of the penalty was controversial because it wasn't a clear foul. Zidane calmly scored the penalty to put France in front 1-0. I really thought France would be able to hold on to the one goal lead and win. How ironic would it be if France had won off an Italian penalty, like how Italy had beaten Australia in the same way.

However, credit does go to the Italian who managed to get on level terms when a perfect cross from Pirlo was nicely met by Materazzi. He had redeemed himself for his inital penalty. Materazzi's night of controversy wasn't going to end there. The best was yet to come. With the game ending in a draw and going into overtime, Zidane was expected to do something to change the whole game. He came close with a fabulous header which was equally brilliantly saved by Buffon. However, Zidane did something that will be talked about for years to come. For reasons unknown to everyone (he was probably provoked by possible racist comments but that happens all the time on the football field), Zidane suddenly head butted Materazzi's chest and sent him to the ground. He was given a red card and sent off the field in his last ever international game. What a shame a great career had to end this way.

The game finally went into penalties and Italy, who are famous for losing games in penalty shootouts, held their nerves this time and slotted all five goals. France's one miss from Trezeguet was to be the deciding difference.

Early that night, or day in England, the FedEx express train known was Roger Federer had also arrived at its destination. Reaching his fourth Wimbledon final in four years (he had won the other three), Federer was on the verge of also doing a four peat of wins and joining greats such as Sampras and Bjorg.

In Federer's way however, was his current arch rival, Rafael Nadal. Nadal has beaten Federer in all four matches they have contested this year, albeit on clay, Nadal's best surface. Federer was still favoured to win but there is always lingering doubts when someone has the edge over you, it must affect you mentally no matter how much you tell yourself that it doesn't matter.

Federer got off to a great start and won the first set easily, much like at the French Open and also at Rome. In both those matches, he later crumbled and Nadal won. However, Federer fought out a tough second set to win the tie breaker. I could sense the relief after he won the second set. But when Nadal won the third set tie breaker, it was again anxious times.

The difference this time from the other matches is that the grass helped Federer on serve. Also, knowing that he has won three times at Wimbledon must also be a confidence booster. Federer raced to a 5-1 lead in the fourth set. When he tried to serve it out though, he choked slightly. Even champions such as him showed how fragile the mind can be sometimes. His nerves caused him to shank quite a few shots and let Nadal break one game back. Nadal held serve and it was Federer to serve it out again at 5-3. This time, there was to be no mistake and he held serve to win his fourth successive Wimbledon title.

At only 24 years of age, Federer is already one of the greats of tennis. His 8 grand slams already rank him up there with Agassi and Lendl and is fast approaching the 14 from Sampras. I just love the way Federer plays. His calm play is something I like. I hate over the top players like Nadal and Hewitt. I also love the variety in Federer's game. He is able to produce so many unbelievable shots that constantly amaze me. It's never boring to watch him play, even when he is thrashing someone, because he still plays so many different shots. Hopefully Federer can win a fifth Wimbledon next year and be one of the all time greats, and I will have had the priviledge to have watched him play in his prime.


Blogger Girl Kae said...

I'm a firm believer that games should not be won on penalties, ESPECIALLY a grand final. I think winning the world cup on penalties has cheapen Italy's win. If they had won it fair and square in the given (or extra) time, then props to them. But any team (even my own portugal) who wins games on penalties doesn't deserve the respect that usually comes iwth the territory.

7/10/2006 11:36 PM  
Blogger Girl Kae said...

Just re-read my comment.. haha i sound like a bitter fan :D

7/10/2006 11:40 PM  
Blogger danielsan said...

Good game, and a good final. Its unfortumate that Zidane received a red card, but it must be something personal that was said for him to react the way he did. Not saying its right or wrong, but I suppose you just have to put yourself in the situation to see how you'd react.

It is a shame that the world cup had to be decided by penalties, but at the end of the day, the teams and players knew they either win it in the 90 minutes or extra time, if not then it will be penalties.

I enjoyed the tennis too. Big fan of Federer, and its a pity that Nadal wasnt at his best on the day.

Overall it was a good day of sports, and plenty of beers too.

7/11/2006 3:42 AM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

I also think that the final shouldn't be ended in penalties. I don't mind even the semi finals ending in penalty but since there is no other games to worry about, I think they should just keep playing in the finals until one team scores a golden goal if it ends in a draw after extra time. Also maybe change the rule so that they can make 1 or 2 more substitutions in the extra extra time period.

7/11/2006 6:29 PM  
Blogger afrobev said...

Another thing they could do is keep removing players from the pitch so that it becomes like 7 a side or something in extra time. That way it's guaranteed that the players will get tired and someone will score.

I for one was hugely dissapointed with The World Cup. The players seemed jaded and not up for it at all. Zidane's sending off was a big talking point. What a way to end such a spectacular career in such a stupid way.

There weren't many games I really enjoyed which is gutting because I was really looking forward to it.

7/14/2006 6:54 PM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

I enjoyed quite a few games. Obviously the ones with Australia were most enjoyable for me.

Zidane's exit wasn't the best, but it has given the internet community a lot of material to go on.

Have a look at some of these mashup of the Zidane head butting incident James. I bet you will laugh your head off.

My personal favourite is the Super Mario Bros version.

7/14/2006 7:11 PM  

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