Sunday, July 04, 2010

FIFA world cup 2010 : opinions and lessons

 Yesterday, the FIFA world cup 2010 as an event one is part of, finished. The Vuvuzelas have fallen silent. While 3 more matches are held to decide the Winner, they do not matter to the Spectator in my dad and me. Those who read my previous post will know that we at home cannot watch any late night matches and hence, the remaining part of the tournament will just be a statistic picked in the newspapers. So the play have been played and seen. After nearly a month of football, the 32 teams in the FIFA World Cup 2010 have been whittled down to just four. Here is Vinay wishing good luck for the teams and emotional strength to the Fans. Snejder and Robben decided to do bulk of the work after half time against Brazil. Schweinsteiger shut down the middle against Argentina yesterday. Germany, Netherlands and Spain will be hoping to be the first European team to win a World Cup outside of Europe while Uruguay struggle to keep alive South American interest in the World Cup. In a convoluted way, if the Dutch win, they can be claimed to be playing on home turf of a past colony. May there be more interest in the ball and less on the kicks and falls than the Brazil-Netherlands match. Paul the Octopus has picked up quite a big reputation. 2 more right guesses and Paul will become a huge urban legend. I do not know which species Paul is and hence, if he will survive till the next cup, but 2 of the 4 teams now remaining, which have to end up on the opposite end of his pick, will have additional pressure. Even though, there are 2 previous winners in the match-up, it will be nice to see a country who wins the world cup for the first time for a change. The world cup was good overall for a general viewer. Along with shock upsets I saw high-quality football.  We saw politics too with Angela Merkel passionately supporting the German national team in a bid to divert attention from her problems back home. If only Blatter and friends were to allow technology use. Sigh!

So while, FIFA needs to learn to use technology and instant replay from its brethren associations, ICC itself has a lot to learn from FIFA. Firstly, participation, please check the following table comparing 2010 FIFA World Cup and 2011 Cricket World Cup

2010 FIFA World Cup
2007 Cricket World Cup
2011 Cricket World Cup

No of qualified teams

32
6
14
No of matches
64
51
49
No of winners (all time) before event
7
5
5
No of Editions till event
19
9
10
No of Teams in the 10th Edition
16
14
14
No of matches in the 10th Edition
38
49
49
No of winners (all time) before the 10th Edition
5
5
5

Teams like USA,Chile, Ghana and Slovakia have shown performance in this edition and they had done that because of the opportunity given. The country men visiting the venue and sitting at home get to watch such inspiring performances increasing the popularity of the already well spread game. Now instead of playing the same ICC Full Members again and again the spread of cricket could have been increased with a higher number of qualified teams in the ODI world cup. The nature of Cricket; being the game of glorious uncertainties; creates a higher justification for allowing more teams to participate in the event. At a state, FIFA was getting more teams to play the highest tournament than ICC is doing. Instead of following FIFA, after India and Pakistan get kicked out in Group Stage, we have a less inclusive format of 2003 with 5 lesser number of matches than 2003. The reason: each team gets to play a minimum of six matches even if they are ruled out of the tournament due to early defeats. So, even with horrible performances the money-bringing Asian teams will play 6 matches and thus provide more money for ICC through Sponsorship and Television. ICC with such strong commercial focus talks of a zero-tolerance policy on corruption. It thus expects players to put the interest of the game above money while doing the reverse itself.

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