A Different View of the World' s Greatest Sport!

Karmen’s Slovenia

When you look at Group C the countries that grab your attention are England and USA. Slovenia and Algeria were not really given that much attention. If you look at the table, you will see Slovenia sitting at the top with 4 points, something not a lot of people expected.

Now for those of you who do not know much about Slovenia here’s a little trivia. They previously played for the Yugoslavia national football team. It was only after the split of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991 that they played their first game which was in 1992. This is only their second World Cup. Prior to this they played in the 2002 FIFA World Cup but were eliminated in the group stages. They are currently 25th on the FIFA world ranking.

Karmen Kutin gives us her view of Slovenia and the World Cup.

On how far Slovenia can make it in the competition: I don’t know, If we will play good football and have a little luck, we can come up to the quarterfinals…if not, we won’t be too disappointed, because the mere fact, that we have come to the World Cup is a great success for Slovenia!

On which team/player will excel in the competition: England, Portugal, Argentina, Netherlands, France, Spain… these are all strong, quality teams. In my opinion, there are no favorites; all of them can surprise us! (so true) As far as the players are concerned… all of them are good in some way, but I think Lionel Messi will be brilliant.

On Slovenia’s Main Man: I will mention a few of them: Novakovič Milivoje, Koren Robert, Dedič Zlatko, Birsa Valter, Komac Andrej….. but every single player in our team is good! And together they are a great team. They have a strong heart and a desire to succeed! These boys are our pride and hope and we are always with them!

On the Second Favorites: Besides the Slovenian team I enjoy watching Netherlands, Portugal and England play…of course there are also other interesting matches, but when Slovenia lose, my favorites would definitely be Netherlands. Regarding players, my favorite player is Steven Gerard.

Yesteryears This is Slovenia’s second World Cup so there is not much to say but I remember the big finale between Italy and France in 2006, when Italy won. There were a lot of happy, sad, funny and shocking moments… we laughed, cried and cheered… football is a game where everything can happen. Of course, the happiest recently event is victory over Russia…it was a holiday for everybody in Slovenia, we were all celebrating!

On a Personal Note

The football addict: For me, football is the best game ever! I like to watch, play and discuss it. I would really love to go to South Africa and support my team, but it is too expensive for me, so unfortunately, I will had to stay at home and watch it on TV… Waiting for FIFA World Cup 2010 was long, exciting and nervous…we had to go through qualification and we were in a very tough group, and therefore the last win against Russia was even sweeter. We have demonstrated our ability and our heart and that’s why we deserved to go to South Africa!

Superstitious? No, I’m not superstitious when it comes to the game… all I have is a Slovenian flag or scarf around my neck, because I think it is necessarily… 🙂

Celebration time! Nothing special… we sing songs, our football anthem and we have the Slovenian flag 🙂 I’m from a little village, but if you go to a bigger town, people are on the streets, they watch the match on the big screen, there is music and the atmosphere is excellent! These people live for football and Slovenia!

Role of Football In Africa: I think the World Cup hasn’t changed South Africa, but it is a great event for the whole of Africa. Football has a special place in the hearts of Africans, they really love this game!

Words of Wisdom for the team: I would say: “Guys, you are simply the best, show them who we are and play with your heart! You are my heroes and you will always be! Let’s play!”

* The interview has been taken prior to the World Cup and hence may not reflect the current happenings in the tournament.

The French Fiasco

France’s early World Cup exit will come as a shock to many. The Reason: France have some of the finest players, they have won the World Cup and were considered as one of the favorites this time, they were said to have one of the easier groups in the competition and were expected to top it. So occupying last place in the group with just 1 point and a goal difference of -3 is a little disgraceful. Besides, let’s not forget their behavior off the pitch. They refused to train and Anelka was sent home for verbally abusing his manager at half time of Round II.

Sapphaz (with inputs from Zanzy), tells us what she thought of France this World Cup.

First of all, I do not support France and neither do I support any of the teams from Group A hence I’m not going to be biased here. I think France did not deserve to be in the competition in the first place. It was Henry’s handball which sent them through to the finals. Had this injustice not have happened, I don’t think France would have even qualified. If you look at it now, Ireland stood a better chance any day.

Moving on to the group stages, we did not see France play the way they usually do. In fact, they were terrible. For a country who reached the finals last World Cup, it’s a shock to see them exit so early this time. Inspite of having quite a few world class players they did not manage to win a single game. I would not blame the players here. They did try, but their job is to play and it is the manager’s job to tell them how. Every team has had their share of problems but there is a way of dealing with it.

Lastly, France looked to be a very disinterested team. The World Cup is about giving your best, where countries come together to fight till the very end. So if you are going to have a team like France in the competition who seems to lack interest in the game…. the tournament is going to get boring. (Imagine if every game was like France v Uruguay)

I’m happy that France are out now, they anyways never deserved to be there in the first place. I do, however, feel sorry for the players and the supporters.

Talking about the supporters, many of them have traveled over 5000 miles to cheer on their team. This hasn’t been a very cheerful World Cup for them. Prior to the start of the tournament I managed to get in touch with a French supporter, Riwan Makhlouf. Here’s what he had to say:

On his love for football: Bill Shankly once said “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I’m very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it’s much more important than that.” This is my point of view when it comes to football.

On which team/player will excel in the competition: I think England & Gerrard will create a huge impact. Brazil, Germany and Spain too stand a chance. I would like a surprise from one of the African countries.

On how far France could have made it in the competition: If we play well we can reach upto the very end. There is no such thing as CAN’T.

On France’s main man: Malouda and Anelka play for Chelsea, one of the biggest clubs in England where they helped win the league. Ribery is another important player. I personally think Diaby has good tactics.

Yesteryears: France 98 will remain one of the most beautiful moments of my life. A magnificent mix of culture, a chaotic beginning and victory at the very end. The return of a whole nation united around the same cause.

Words of Wisdom for the team: Today you are the ones representing your country. You are eyes and heart of France. Forget your names, your culture, your family and your clubs and play in unity for your country.

Spain v Honduras

1st Half Analysis

OK….. So Spain have had the better of the first half but have got just 1 goal to show for it which in my opinion is NOT enough. The Hondurans may not have the best squad but that does not mean they can’t score a goal. If Spain are going to make it to the next round they will have to try harder…. Probably make a few substitutions, get Fabregas on? So far, Spain leads 1-0 Read the rest of this entry »

1st Half Analysis

Chile so far is impressive and so is Benaglio. I think Behrami’s red card was too harsh. You may not agree with me but I have seen players do this sort of thing all the time and at the most they are shown a yellow card but never a direct red. With Switzerland down to 10 men and Chile pushing forward what do you think the fulltime score line is going to show? At half time it stands at 0-0. Read the rest of this entry »

1st Half Analysis

Nothing much to report except that Portugal have the lead. Some of the Portuguese players, however, need to pick up their game. I personally feel that North Korea’s defence is not the same as it were against Brasil. However, that maybe because they have already conceded a goal and if they are to get something from this game they need to go up front. At Half time Portugal lead 1-0. Read the rest of this entry »

Colours of Football

The procession included a taxi cab as a headpiece. He drummed and strolled as the taxi R-O-C-k-E-D.

An English fan with Kuduzela-The Kuduzela is an imitation of the vuvuzela- This English fan is enjoying he atmosphere and mood

Cameroon v Denmark

1st Half Analysis

SOS to Danish/Cameroon defense!!! The last 15 minutes have been crazy. Sloppy defending from both sides but interestingly neither have been lucky enough to score a goal. Cameroon started off well but made quite a few defensive mistakes. With the score line at 1-1 there is plenty of action yet to come. Read the rest of this entry »