Following yesterday’s (this post was written quite some time back) match between Uruguay and Ghana, one of the ESPN sports pundits started off the post-match analysis with a simply, easy, slightly rhetorical question.
ESPN Sports Pundit: So, we all know who the real match winner for Uruguay today is, right?
Mayanti Langer: Yeah, Kingson! 🙂
Dayumn, girl! Thank God you look that good!
So let’s cut out the seriousness for a bit and here’s a list of probably the unlikeliest “best XI” performances so far. In reverse-chronological order (just like a blog!) here goes:
Ref: <Insert name here> [Spain-Paraguay] for American viewers
Way to go! Just when a nation starts to follow the sport and thinks “Hey, maybe we get the hang of things now!” a referee like this comes up and turns the rulebook of FIFA upside down. One penalty call was spot on, but that penalty should have been retaken with Spain’s players closer to the ball than the actual taker of the spot kick. Two minutes, two penalties (one for a decent dive) and two yellow cards. Erm.. make that three penalties – since one was taken again. Both penalties were saved and no harm was done. Sort of.
Sub: #13: Thomas Muller
Way to answer Maradona’s “blablabla” – on the pitch. Three minutes was all he needed and Maradona definitely will have nightmares of Muller for quite some time to come.
#12: Michael Ballack
For coolly laughing his behind off at Maradona’s misery. ‘Nuff said.
#11: Suarez – for Uruguay
Even if had just sat at a corner of the field the whole game, then got up and denied Ghana that last last minute goal, he would have made this list. Red card? Ppfffftt. Doesn’t matter. Ultimate self-sacrifice. Way to go.
#10: Robben – for Netherlands
No, this isn’t for the two carbon copy “cut-in, shoot from distance *BAM* goal” goals that he scored. A true genius in wrecking the left flank of Brazil all by himself. So much so that Melo unexplainably jumped at the opportunity of being awarded “dumbest footballer of the World Cup” tag. Bravo!
#9: Cristiano Ronaldo – for Joga Bonito
Can’t blame the chap, he tried his best. Not a single dive that I could spot in his match against Spain, but with the referees so used to him diving, he hardly won a foul. I guess the referees weren’t impressed with his audition for Joga Bonito, they’d rather see him dive for the Oscar. Too bad, Cristiano.
#8: Chile’s goalie – for David Villa
Thank God for the Chilean goalie or Villa may still be stuck in some horrible rut of form much like Torres. Villa needed to keep the momentum going and deserting his players and running all the way up to where Villa normally would have stood allowed lots of spectators to witness Villa unleash his magic for the rest of the tournament.
–Here we break for a special mention —
We would like to extend our whole hearted thanks to North Korea and Australia for observing a fast by refusing to touch the ball or anything remotely near the ball for two games. Thanks to their excellent display, Germany and Portugal were able to remind us that the ball is supposed to be kicked into the net. Thanks guys, you’re the best! (Actually, you’re only good enough for a special mention)
–Normal service will be resumed shortly–
#7: Yakubu – for all aspiring footballers
What a miss against South Korea! Really takes a big man to throw away all his dignity and self-respect so that young, aspiring footballers (like me) can believe in themselves. A blind amputee could have kicked that in. (No offense to any blind amputees that are.. umm.. reading this. Even through umm.. Braille?)
#6: Nicolas Anelka – for everyone
Someone really needed to kick Domenech where it hurts and though Anelka didn’t quite manage that, he did the next best thing. And there were joyous celebrations all over the world. Except the FFF (or whatever the French Federation is called), which led to a great rebellion. At least the French provided entertainment OFF the field (PS: Italy). Hallelujah!
#5: Sergio Busquets – for film directors everywhere
Quite evidently, Busquets wants to act somewhere. He wants to play a role – no, not on of CDM – a dying hero in a war movie would be my guess. So much so, that despite somehow managing a starting XI place in Spain and Barcelona (two of the best teams in the world), he still auditions on the pitch. This guy is seriously delusional. I hear he’s going to become the highest paid footballer ever. Tarantino wants to sign him.
#4: Cannavaro – for.. well.. Al Ahli?
What a way to end what could have been a stellar career. A joke in defence, couldn’t stop any team (not even NEW ZEALAND) from scoring. Don’t see anyone who benefited from his catastrophic display except maybe Al Ahli who get to train him earlier (if they wish).
#3: Sanchez – for football
At a time when the Dutch, Brazil and Spain were horribly failing at applying their free flowing style of football (the first two playing defensively in order to win) one man stood out, taking his team to levels it has never seen before (well, except maybe when they train in the Andes). Alexis Sanchez with a few stepovers every 10 seconds finally enthused some excitement into the World Cup. Till they were eliminated, Chile were definitely the best team to watch (due credit to Beausejour as well). We bow to you!
#2: Rob Green – for England haters (basically everyone except the English)
The first major goof of the cup and what a goof it was! Thank you Robert Green for the endless supply of football jokes we witnessed. And always remember, it all started with you…
#1: Tshabalala – for Africa’s dignity
That bullet he fired into the back of the net made sure Africa could on their day get what they wanted. Just when the game started to become dull, his fiery goal got everyone watching. As an added bonus, he also proved to be a commentator’s nightmare. What a way to start the World Cup and what tremendous bad luck that we didn’t see anything so beautiful for a long time since.