I want to welcome Spain and the Spanish people for becoming the latest member of the World Cup Champions' elite club. In a game where both goalkeepers led their teams up to 116th minute with fantastic defences. Everything could have happened. Both teams deserved to win, because of their history in World Cups, their players and their fans. ARRIBA ESPANA!!! CAMPEONES DEL MUNDO!!!
And Germany ended up with the 3rd place after a 3-2 victory over the Uruguayan warriors. Again, both teams deserved the victory. The game wasn't decided up to the 91st minute when Diego Forlan hit the crossbar. Sensational!
While the Spaniards will celebrate for a while, the rest of football fans, already missing the tournament, will start thinking about the next World Cup in Brazil. I have been asked to comment on how Brazil is doing to get set for the 20th football showcase edition.
1. Stadiums: There are a lot of stadiums in Brazil, but none of them actually meet FIFA's standards. For that reason most of the stadiums will be built from the scratch (few of them will be renovated). The deadline is short, only 4 years, however couple of them needs to be fully operational by 2013 for the Confederation Cup.
2. Investments: Some analysts say that the total investment will reach US$ 10 billion. This budget, besides the construction of new stadiums, includes the renovation and expansion of airports, public transportation, hotels and all the necessary structure to host an event like World Cup and having in mind that Brazil will also host the 2016 Summer Olympics.
3. Economics: Brazil is in the middle of a splendid economic period, growing between 5 to 7% per year. This economic growth is responsible for raising the quality of life of several Brazilian families (50% of the families are considered medium class now). The expectation is that the growth will persist for at least a decade part due to the investments for World Cup and Olympic games.
4. Violence:The violence is a problem that is present among megalopolis such as Sao Paulo where more than 17 million inhabitants live. A good chunk of the budget is reserved to improve safety procedures and upgrade policing.
5. Party: Oh yeah! There will be parties! Lots of them, for sure!
The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil logotype was officially released, see the video below:
If you are willing to go to Brazil in 2014, make sure to start planning your trip since now, especially if you intend to stay in Rio de Janeiro. If you are a “city person”, then Sao Paulo is your “Brazilian Toronto” but 5x bigger. If you like forest and beaches, you have to go to North and Northeast of Brazil, to Manaus (Amazon forest) and Recife, which will host some games.
Preparations have started already, an initial budget was approved by the Government and for sure Brazilians will receive fans from around the planet with open arms such as the Corcovado Christ and will do their best to make the next World Cup an unforgettable experience for everyone.
See you there in 2014!
PS – if you are interested to know more details about the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, check these links:
I am not one to blow my own vuvuzela (read: horn) but the game played out almost exactly as I thought it would and alluded to in my previous post: Spain vs Germany: Proactive and reactive styles collide
Iniesta had a good game as well and Sergio Busquets stuckl ike glue to Mesut Ozil and thereby neutralized him from the game. Much has been made of Thomas Mueller’s absence but I can’t seem to think it would have made much of a difference since he was likely not to receive the same support as he did against other teams with both Podolski and Ozil effectively being shut out of the game. Toni Kroos had an excellent opportunity but his feeble shot was never going to beat the best goalkeeper in the world in Casillas.
Spain’s goal was wonderful in its simplicity and the credit goes to Puyol. Xavi took the corner and Puyol dashed in from the edge of the box where he was left unmarked and powered through a flying header which again showed the vulnerability of the zonal marking system that the Germans used for defending. I have never been a big fan of this and at the very least Puyol should have been marked by someone. The one disappointing thing for Spain might have been Pedro being very selfish and not giving Torres a chance to score in an open goal and thereby kill off the match. I’d still be very surprised to see Pedro not starting the final considering the impact he had on this game.
All in all it was a masterful performance by the Spaniards and I’d be very surprised if the Netherlands are able to stop them from claiming a first ever World Cup. It is about bloody time.
I almost couldn't write this blog, and almost gave it a title that is not suitable for younger audiences as a way to describe how I feel about the Spanish right now. But, my Dutch despair has driven me to express my disappointment and sadness at our beloved Oranje's loss in extra time yesterday.
The day started off well enough. As I got on the TTC to head down to Liberty Village, the only other hardcore fans in my neighbourhood, a family of three, were on the bus with me. We both had our Netherlands flag up long before the tournament started, and watched with delight as the bandwagon got more and more crowded leading up to the final. At Shoeless Joe's, despite getting there 2 hours before kickoff, the place was packed, and it was standing room only. Not a problem for me, especially when I expected to be on my feet for the entire match anyway!
The energy was positive, and the sea of orange was just beautiful. The crowd was pumped and we were chanting almost the entire time during the pre-game. I sang "Het Wilhemus" (the world's oldest national anthem) lustily and loudly, and could not contain my excitement.
The match itself was a great one. The Dutch, unlike their German cousins, were not dominated at all by Spain. Possession was quite even, and we definitely had the best chances. And the goaltender, Stekelenburg, was amazing! Our hearts were in our throats for a lot of the match play, but everyone maintained the happy, hopeful, excited feeling of expectation, because we believed that our team was in the ascendency, and about to make history. Unfortunately for us, it was the wrong kind of history.
After the game ended, and Spain had won, the atmosphere dropped like the oxygen had been sucked out of the room. That moody, quiet depression that I experienced in the Netherlands when I was there for the Oranje's semi-final loss against Italy at Euro 2000 was back, only this time, it was a mini Toronto version. I couldn't even look at anyone, lest I burst into tears. I'm sure I was not alone in that feeling. Some fans tried to keep a positive air, and there was some flag waving and horn honking afterwards, but I was (and still am) too depressed and angry to even think about being grateful for just being at the final.
The Dutch deserved to win. The Oranje Army deserved to be rewarded for being the best fans in the City. We are welcoming, multicultural, peaceful and passionate, just like our City. I guess it just wasn't meant to be this time. However, there is a positive outcome: Liberty Village will forever be the centre of Oranje madness and celebration during the World Cup. So, I'm looking forward to a street party in 4 years when we are finally the brides, and not the bridesmaids!
The blogging, the catching-up on taped matches at 2 a.m. to the detriment of sleep, general health and personal hygiene, it all comes to this.
At the end of the final, there will be a new country added to the list of World Cup winners. And with all the blogging about Algeria, the USA, and most recently Germany who impressed like no other collection of players in this tournament, it was no longer a matter of watching matches with a critical eye.
Holland was in the final and I was able to watch the Dutch without the need to commentate in an official capacity. No longer a "head" game, this would be a "heart" game. The other cool thing about this match is that, because neither Holland nor Spain had won the trophy before, there would be no "The Cup's Coming Home!" rhetoric. Take the small wins where you can, folks.
The teams lined up and I knew we would not be in for as much excitement as Germany and Uruguay provided twenty-four hours previously. This would be a grind-out of two opposing styles that would come in fits. And the fits kept flying. Add to this another great kick into the gut of game excitement, Howard Webb was also officiating the final.
The game begins and already it becomes clear that Holland are out to bruise their opposition off the ball. Total Football is out the window. Total Thuggery appears to be in. That said, no one is solely to blame for the match having more cards than late-night TV poker. The Dutch tackled hard and were lucky not to be sent off several times. To fuel this, the Spanish side played in a manner that made me ask myself if the Spanish Diving Team ever broke into a football match as they left the platform and headed for the water.
And all of this under the watchful eye of Webb who did as Webb does: Chokes his inconsistent calls under the guise of fear to take a stand. Call after call went missed or not reacted to by the man who should have taken control way earlier on in this contest. When DeJong attempted to use Alonso's chest as a step-ladder, that should have sealed his fate and hopefully restore order to an already petulant match. By not making that and other proper calls, it felt like he lost the game at the coin toss.
It then became funny. With Webb running away from an off-the-ball incident, Webb returned to the scene of the infraction to see the damage done for the first time. At that point, he brings forth a yellow card, a familiar sight in this match. We thus learn that either Webb does in fact have eyes in the back of his head, or he is working on content for his new autobiography, "Booking Based on Hearsay". Arrogant, entitled, inconsistent; it appears that England is to refereeing as England is to football in 2010.
The game bores on and it and no one involved is coming off looking good in this. Spain are antagonistic, Holland respond, and all the while I get the feeling that FIFA honestly confused Webb with Pierluigi Collina. Spain bring on more players into the match for the extra time attempting to brake the nil-nil full-time score line, and the Netherlands do the same, bringing on Celtic's Braffheid who has his first look at the field in this entire tournament, and can barely get a start in the Scottish Premier League. It's now sinking in that probably Holland are not going to get away with this.
In the death of extra time, it happens. Spain slot home what ends up being the winner and the now poisoned chalice is theirs. Webb blows. THE WHISTLE...sorry about that. His pursuit by angry Dutch players do nothing to make them or him look better. It's an embarrassment on all sides. Add to this, Paul the Octopus was right. I hate it when cephalopods happen to get it right.
Yes, I wanted Holland to win. But they didn't deserve it based on the play. Neither did Spain for that matter. If ever I wanted Sepp Blatter to stand up and go, "You know what? You're both just awful. Germany, here you go." But for this I do blame Webb. He set the tone immediately making calamity after calamity happen escalating the vitriol between the sides and to show for it, we have a smash-and-grab result in a final that has double the number of cards ever given out in a World Cup final. Quite the legacy and a far cry from Webb's Saturday comments of referees not being thought of after the match.
Some miscellany to close up the game. As Webb and the other referees collected their medals, I tweeted, "Wow. Webb gets a medal. While we're at it, next up to get one, the fat guy from 'Seinfeld'." Yeah, I was bitter, what of it? More disappointed to be honest. With the way this tournament being as unpredictable as it was, psychic octopus aside, and seeing some genuinely exciting matches as we reached the end, it was a profound tournament to watch, to document, and enjoy. In many cases it shouldn't have ended this way, but it did. We can now all return to our homes, get on with our lives and wait another four years to reunite again.
But I was able to garner one chuckle as all the dust settled from the Andy-Capp-style battle cloud of a match. The CBC commentator stated that with Spain being the current holders of the European Championships and the World Cup, they're the first team to do so since West Germany in 1972. Um, watch France much?
Some of the mistakes in this final were not only found on the field.
Eleven bids were submitted in 2009, covering 13 nations, with two joint bids: Belgium-Netherlands and Portugal-Spain. Mexico also submitted a bid, but withdrew theirs in 2009, while Indonesia had their bid rejected for lack of government support.
For 2018 and 2022
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said he would welcome a 2018 bid from "the homeland of football." England has previously hosted the 1966 World Cup which it won and Euro '96, as well as previously bidding for the 2006 World Cup. Should England succeed, it would be the sixth nation to host the World Cup for a second time.
With all good audience results, soccer gaining more popularity and supported by the financial and attendance records of previous hosted 1994 FIFA World Cup, the United States are going to be a big England's competitor for the 2018 bidding. The US Soccer has submitted two bids: one for 2018 and in case they don't get it, another for 2022. The 18 host cities were already chosen: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington DC.
Russia comes strong for the bidding due to the FIFA's rotation policy. However, they are not as well structured as the USA and England, but the country is ready to spend some $10 billion on the tournament, especially to build stadiums following FIFA standards. Russia hopes to have five stadiums fit to host World Cup matches ready by 2013, which will be used for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The joint-venture consists in Spain leading a 12-stadium project with eight of the venues, and the opening and final games would be held in Lisbon and Madrid, respectively. Spain has previously hosted the 1982 World Cup, while Portugal organized the Euro 2004. If the Portuguese-Spanish joint bid succeeds, Spain would become the sixth nation to host the World Cup for a second time.
Using the same model as per Portugal and Spain, Belgium and Netherlands would share the building of stadiums which comply with FIFA standards. Luxembourg will also help in the World Cup organization in case the bid is the winner, however it will not host any game neither be automatically qualified for the event.
For 2022 only
Initially Australia confirmed a bid for 2018, which was eventually withdrew months later. One possible stumbling block to the bid is that almost all of Australia's largest stadiums are used by other major Australian sports (Australian Football and Rugby) whose domestic seasons overlap with the World Cup. Australia has hosted several tournaments: U-20 Soccer World Cup, 2000 Summer Olympics, 2003 Rugby World Cup among others.
Japan is bidding to become the first Asian country to host the World Cup twice; they co-host the 2002 World Cup with South Korea. They have also withdrew the bid for 2018 and analysts say that their chances for 2022 are very low as well.
As their previous partner of 2002 World Cup, South Korea has put forth an offer to host the 2022 edition. Due to the rotation policy and FIFA willing to take soccer to places that it needs to be developed, the likelihood is not good for South Korea's (and Japan's) bid.
Qatar is attempting to become the first Arab nation to host the World Cup. Qatar is planning to promote this bid as an Arab unity bid and hope to draw on support from the entire Arab world, and are positioning this as an opportunity to bridge the gap between the Arab and Western worlds. Some concerns with Qatar's bid deal with the extreme temperatures especially in June and July, but according to them, this is not a problem at all, stadiums with controlled temperature will be built, once they win the bid for 2022.
Canada Soccer Association was also willing to pull together a bid for 2022 edition. With the expectation that the United States will land the 2018 or 2022 event, while other continents will also get to host it as it rotates from one region to another, they decided that it does not worth to move forward with an official bid. However, the 2015 Women's World Cup is more likely.
Whether Canada's chances to host or not a World Cup is low, I do hope see Canada team being part of the 32 nations in Brazil 2014.
I suppose that there's a reason that we don't see the technical awards given out at the Oscars. They're full of technobabble, they're a pale comparison to the awards where you get to see quick shots of Jack Nicholson sitting in the crowd with sunglasses on at six in the evening, and no one cares about them.
Seriously, do you want to hear a guy drone on-and-on about how he figured out how a fish-eye lens works? Here we have the third-place game of the World Cup and you'd think that at least there should be some build-up to this.
One of the two teams is going home knowing that, in terms of the competition, anyway, they're third-best in the world. That can't be that bad, truly. Sadly, the banner that should be displayed beside the score and clock on the TV screen is not the CBC logo, but the words "Oh, to be Spain or Holland."
It seemed to get worse for Germany coming into it, with Klose out with a back injury, so denied a place in the match that would allow him the goals to get top scoring spot in the World Cup ahead of Ronaldo (the fat one, not the jerk one). With him being 32, he may still have a World Cup in him, but those goals will have to be waning. It will be possible, but far from probable for him.
As the teams line up for the match, most-to-all have a look on their face like there's a load of sister-dating about to go on. But no matter, there's a game to play. Everyone's a professional, let's get on with this. Germany line up with a 4-5-1 formation with someone named Cacau up front. I don't know much about the sole forward, other than the fact that his name sounds about as German as the name "Cheryl". Regardless, he's the guy that will be dealing with the balls from the nine guys behind him. The Uruguayan side lines up with a 4-4-2 with a front pair that I'm sure they'd have loved to have against Holland, desperate, vital, yet over-talked handballs notwithstanding.
[Aside: The Suarez Handball. It's no worse than someone taking the legs out from underneath a bounding striker going for goal when there's no one else back to defend and getting a yellow card for it. There, it's called "a good foul to take". In this case, it's a "we should look at the rules again" situation. Nonsense. They're both the same. The rules dictate the response to the action. It was a foul committed in the course of the rules. The referee response was both accurate and correct. This is nothing new. The only thing that should have happened is that Suarez should have shut up about it. Comparing his action to "The Hand of God" is ludicrous. Phrase coining like that should be left to cheating coke-heads that couldn't manage a Sunday pick-up game. I appear to digress...]
The match begins and feels like a true friendly match; teams facing each other that normally wouldn't in the course of conference qualification, and the fouls don't seem to be right. They seem to be over the top for a mean-nothing game, but suddenly, it appears that everyone involved is slugging it out for the third place ribbon. That said it doesn't appear that everyone's playing to win it. It seems they're playing to not lose it.
Ten minutes in and Friederich fires one off the crossbar, showing that if nothing else, Germany are well up for it. And it shows eight minutes later as Müller gets his fifth goal of the tournament, showing that at the very least, he's playing for it. And he's got company, it seems. Twenty-fifth minute, and Forlan et al are trying to push one in to equalize. Equalize! In a game that means as much as Lady GaGa's hat...They're making this their final. Fantastic.
Finally, Uruguay's work pays off. A ball taken from Schweinsteiger as though it was candy and he were a two-year old leads to Uruguay scoring through Cavani on the wing and it's official. It's game on. The sides finish the half and leave the field in a rain that is coming down so hard, the players should be leaving in pairs and entering a big boat.
The second half begins with none of the usual foreplay, both sides taking it to each other where they left off. In the forty-eighth minute, Butt parries a shot-rebound combo from Uruguay successfully, and it strikes me that this match is going to be way more exciting than anything Sunday has to offer.
To prove that point, the fifty-first minute happens. Uruguay sustain pressure into the German end, and Forlan picks up a cross and one-times it off the pitch into the back of the net. If anyone has been paying attention in this tournament, they'll have to recognize that Forlan has stood out as the scorer of some incredible goals. This one definitely adds to this tally.
And then there's Germany. Jansen scores a delightful header...and yes, that was delightful...in the fifty-sixth minute and it really is hitting home that this match will eclipse the spectacle tomorrow between Holland and Spain. It has to. Four goals scored in less than an hour, still a deadlock, and all I can picture is the dreary drab ten-man-clogged midfield from Wednesday that brought Germany to this game in the first place.
The teams trade blows throughout the following minutes and Schweinsteiger's attempts at goal are strongly saved, soaked up, and countered by Uruguay.
Still fighting his way inside the box repeatedly, he continues on looking to grab Man of the Match once again. That said, the substitution that sees Kiessling seems inspired, forcing his way forward and getting every part of his body on the ball in front of net. It leads me to wonder why he didn't start in fact. The pressure mounts further and in the eighty-second, it all happens.
A German corner sees a flurry of activity inside a very inert Uruguay defence that is as flat-footed as a 1920s collection of constabulary on a beat. Suddenly Khedira slots home what could be the German winner. After much end-to-end action, a Friedrich free kick giveaway found 25 yards out, it comes down to the final boot of the ball in the match. Forlan hits the crossbar, and given one last goal, this game would have finished any hope I had of a decent game tomorrow.
Full-time is blown, and were it not for the two losses that led up to these two teams playing each other for third place, I could have seen the best final in World Cup history.
Yawn. Roll on Sunday. Hup Holland Hup.
Today's game is the third and fourth place game between Germany and Uruguay. What will be interesting is that both countries will have their young stars back in the line-up, Muller for Germany and Suarez for Uruguay.
They have both been excellent but Suarez will forever be known as a cheat for using his hand to save what would have been a goal for Ghana. (I have no idea how Suarez hit that ball out so hard, he must have some training in volleyball!)
Too bad, as Ghana would have advanced and they would have been the African darlings that they deserved to be.
Well that is what should have been and this is what it is. It will be a consolation prize today and it will give us a glimpse of the future performances of these two great teams.
I was lucky enough to watch the semis between Germany-Spain at the Real Sports Bar & Grill inside the recently constructed Maple Leaf Square. The restaurant is home to the largest indoor HD screen in North America! The crowd inside was a evenly mix cheering for both sides, but all left satisfied knowing they watched a good game of football.About Huzaifa Dohadwala
Although he underperformed on the field during the 2010 World Cup, Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro is receiving applause from the world’s most beautiful people.
According to beautifulpeople.com – a dating website with a strict ban on ugly people – Italy captain Cannavaro is the “most beautiful player” in the 2010 World Cup.
Cannavaro is followed by Fernando Torres and David Villa, both players from Spain. Soccer players from teams participating in this year’s tournament were rated using a system by members of the dating site. The site, founded in Denmark in 2002, claims it's the largest community of attractive people in the world. Only existing members can elect potential members, who in turn have to undergo a 48-hour rating period while their photo and profile are scrutinized. Approximately 200,000 members have cast their vote.
The site has named Algeria and England the worst looking teams in the tourney, and Wayne Rooney the "most unattractive player on the planet." The most beautiful teams: Spain, Italy, Brazil, France, Denmark and the USA.
The site’s survey suggests that only one of the English teams players would have “qualified” for membership is goalkeeper David James – the goalkeeper who let four goals fly by in the game against Germany.
There you go boys … you may have underperformed in this year’s tournament, but at least you still have your looks.
About Andrea Civichino
Toronto is home to people from all 32 countries vying for the 2010 World Cup — and the most passionate soccer fans among them will be here, blogging about their countries’ performance throughout the tournament June 11 to July 11.