South Americans Reign in the Lands of the Rainbow Nation

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Posted by Muhammad Faisal Rahat | Posted in FIFA WorldCup 2010 | Posted on 24-06-2010

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The group stages of the FIFA World Cup 2010 are nearing their end. Soon we will have clear daylight between the favourites and the ones who will be heading home. A lot has been made about this World Cup being the most open World Cup of all time. It has been unpredictable, but it is by no means the most open World Cup ever.

While most teams from Europe, Asia and Africa have been trying to put safety first by coming out on the field with the mindset of not conceding goals [a negative approach mind you] , teams from South America have been trying just the opposite. And boy have they been successful thus far! With the European and African nations stuttering, thank heavens for the South Americans, who have lit up the World Cup with style, flair,  precision passing, defensive organization, attacking intent and an all-round liveliness about them.

Argentina and Brazil have been the most inspiring teams in the World Cup up till now, while Uruguay and Mexico have showed great attacking flair along with a stubbornly defensive unit. The USA have showed tremendous resilience and have always come out on the field of play with a ‘never say die’ attitude, which was reflected in their last minute winner against Algeria, courtesy of the golden boy of American ‘soccer’, Landon Donovan.

Brazil found it hard to break down a stubborn North Korean defense in their first match and  took a while to get going against Ivory Coast in their second encounter, but finally got into their groove.

Argentina have been absolutely scintillating and delightful to watch as they have easily won their opening three matches of the competition and are among the favourites to lift the World Cup.

Paraguay have looked a powerhouse in Group F, drawing with the world champions Italy in their opener and seeing off Europeans Slovakia with ease in their second match and topping their group by claiming a draw against New Zealand.

And in the final group Chile, so impressive in qualifying, got off to the start they wanted with a win over Honduras, followed by another win against the Swiss.

The failure of European teams can easily be highlighted by the fact that both the finalists of the previous World Cup [France and Italy] could not even progress to the Round of 16.

Is this a massive changing of the guard, or have European teams simply underperformed? Did everyone underestimate the South Americans, with the exception of Brazil, and over inflate the chances of the traditional European powerhouses?

Unless this World Cup is to be a South American paradise, European sides will need to find form, and quickly. Otherwise Maradona or Dunga will surely get the chance to become World Cup-winning captains who also coached World Cup-winning teams. It is an unpredictable Sport and things can turn around very easily. Don’t be surprised to see the fortunes of the European teams turn in the latter stages of the competition.

Top 20 #Vuvuzela Tweets on Twitter!

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Posted by Farrukh Zafar | Posted in FIFA WorldCup 2010, Humour | Posted on 24-06-2010

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In this greatest congregation of the football religion, the vuvuzela has arrived as no less than the Holy Grail! While the whole world is busy tweeting about the sounds of madness, and the consequences this instrument has led to, the author of FarrukhUNPLUGGED.com decided to pick out the best 20 tweets he could think of.

Here you go then:

superdadATL tweeted:

Just downloaded the #vuvuzela iPhone app for no reason other than to annoy my wife. Turn on the app then hide your phone – guaranteed fun!

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Jessie_Redd tweeted:

Wearing my bafana shirt, blowing my vuvuzela and eating pizza! G0 BAFANA!

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fariZafar tweeted:

Watch this! Uber hilarious! :D Robert Pattinson is Bothered! #Vuvezela http://bit.ly/a4sQLp ROFL! :D

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dulwichmum tweeted:

@froginthefield He is lucky that is all I did with the damn vuvuzela (stomps foot). He went to South Africa and brought me back an instrument

The same twitter user later tweeted:

dulwichmum

@froginthefield I am exhausted but smiling.I woke 3 times during the night to play the vuvuzela! Ilike to show my man I appreciate his gift

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KingBrick tweeted:

“I hate it when I’m at a vuvuzela concert and people start playing football”

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Vuvuzelaa tweeted:

=======<() ~ ♪ ~♫ ~ PÓÒÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÒON ~#vuvuzela

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ThaCandyQueen tweeted:

blew for the first time in a Vuvuzela yesterday.there is nothing positive to say about this instrument. it`s something i didn’t like to blow

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veenaunni tweeted:

the mighty vuvuzela creates musical waves that rings in your ears much after the match is over

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oliverbudworth tweeted:

They should hand Vuvuzela‘s to the people in the iPhone queues so they can be even more annoying.

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DixB2 tweeted:

Lord of the Rings — Fellowship of the Vuvuzelahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwRX7DTFrbU

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TechNewsTweeter tweeted:

Android got world cup fever: Vuvuzela App for Android: Vuvuzela is the musical instrument from South Africa t… http://bit.ly/aiUovC #tech

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God_Damn_Batman tweeted:

You know what gives crime a concussion at 127 decibels? A Vuvuzela batarang. Sometimes bat-gadgets just invent themselves.

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ced8thman tweeted:

How come whenever i tweet with the word Vuvuzela i get a new follower funny huh?!

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kristalalexis tweeted:

Every time I read Venezuela, I think it says “vuvuzela”. #worldcup #brainbroken

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MrsStephenFry tweeted:

LATEST: Capello reveals secret World Cup weapon – the English vuvuzelahttp://twitpic.com/1yzqv3

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rob_sheridan tweeted:

I love @YouTube‘s sense of humor. Every video now has a highly-annoying Vuvuzela button: http://is.gd/d1n51 – via @blindoldfreak

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Sweety4G tweeted:

Can someone please gimme a vuvuzela for a gift??

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top40gordy tweeted:

Soooooooooo annoying! RT @dcagle: HA! Funny cartoon: What’s the first sound you hear in hell? The Vuvuzela?http://bit.ly/bcoY0Y #worldcup

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Lordheadcheez tweeted:

If I hear ONE MORE VUVUZELA someone is going to end up dead! #vuvuzela

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I hope this sums up the story! :D

The Pakistani FIFA 2006 Ball vs the FIFA 2010 Jabulani

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Posted by Farrukh Zafar | Posted in FIFA WorldCup 2010 | Posted on 22-06-2010

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People have been ignorant about the fact that Pakistan meets and delivers 75-85% of world’s total football demand and consumption, annually, matching FIFA’s standards at the highest degrees. With such high quality standards and such a vast quality supply, people still feel crossed on why this year, at the FIFA World Cup 2010, Pakistani balls were only used during the practice sessions by the official teams, and why not in the official matches. Not to forget, this year’s official World Cup ball has come from China, known as Jabulani, meaning “rejoice” in the Zulu African language. The official World Cup ball of 2006, known as Teamgeist, meaning “team spirit” in the German language, was made in Pakistan and Thailand, mainly.

It’s high time we compare Teamgeist to Jabulani, to see what advancements have been made and what edge has the successor got over its forerunner.

Teamgeist – Jabulani: Head to Head

Properties FIFA standards Teamgeist Jabulani
Circumference 68.5 – 69.5 cm 69.0 – 69.25 cm 69.0 ± 0.2 cm
Diameter ≤ 1.5% difference ≤ 1.0% difference ≤ 1.0% difference
Water absorption ≤ 10% weight increase ≤ 0.1 % weight increase ≤ 0% weight increase
Weight 420 – 445 g 441 – 444 g 440 ± 0.2 g
Shape and size retention 2000 cycles at 50 km/h 3500 cycles at 50 km/h -
Rebound test ≤ 10 cm ≤ 2 cm ≤ 6 cm
Loss of pressure ≤ 20% ≤ 11% ≤ 10%

Beyond the Technical Measurements


Teamgeist
achieved its improvements by reducing the number of panels from 32 to just 14 panels, dubbed propellers and turbines, by thermally bonding the panels thereby eliminating inaccurate stitching and by forming the outer panels in 3-D versus making them flat and bending them into shape. Unlike on earlier balls, which were hand-stitched, these panels are glued — or rather thermally bonded, to use the Buck Rogers-like term favored by Adidas.

By reducing the number of places where panels touch each other, Teamgeist reacted three times more accurately when kicked, according to Adidas, which tested the ball by having a robotic kicking machine whack it against a wall a few thousand times.

Jabulani takes another step towards perfection with just eight EVA and TPU panels that provide a 70% larger striking surface due to fewer seams. While the Teamgeist ball was great for strikers, many goal keepers complained that the ball’s aerodynamics created a lack of rotation in the air, making its path at times erratic, like a knuckleball. Jabulani attempts to stabilize the flight pattern of the ball through what Adidas is calling ‘aero grooves’, essentially long indentations along the panels. The grooves divide the ball up into additional pseudo-panels but by molding the grooves Adidas can achieve consistent location and shape to achieve optimal flight. The surface of the ball has also been covered with raised nubbins to help with tactile feel on the
foot.

The Jabulani ball is surrounded by GripnGroove technology, allowing it to be aerodynamically advanced. This provides flight characteristics not seen on any other ball. The makers have added little ridges that surround the ball in many circular shapes that can clearly be felt when holding it. Like the dimples that surround a golf ball, GripnGroove’s function is to improve how the ball passes through air; basically it enhances how aerodynamic the ball is.

The problem is that the Jabulani holds up in the air longer than you can ever experience a soccer ball. Every time one tries to take it out of the air, it ends up landing several yards past where it was expected. Another great aspect to the Jabulani is the fact that it doesn’t have noticeable panels keeping it together. You will be familiar with how you can feel the gaps in between each panel of a 32 panel ball. Well, with the Jabulani, each panel has been pieced together and thermally bonded, so that you don’t get the same gaps in between panels. This leaves the ball a lot smoother, and is another key component to why it moves so fast.

Criticism from the Players


The ball is dreadful. It’s horrible, but it’s horrible for everyone.David James (England, GoalKeeper)

The new ball is not decent, not just for goalkeepers but for everyone. Its trajectory is unpredictable.Gigi Buffon (Italy, GoalKeeper)

It’s very weird. All of a sudden it changes trajectory on you. It’s like it doesn’t want to be kicked. It’s incredible, it’s like someone is guiding it. You are going to kick it and it moves out of the way. I think it’s supernatural, it’s very bad.Luis Fabiano (Brazil, Striker)

It’s terrible… like a ball you’d buy in a supermarket.Julio Cesar (Brazil, GoalKeeper)

It’s a little sad that in a competition as big as the World Cup to have such a poor ball. It’s not just the goalkeepers complaining, but the outfield players as well.Iker Casillas (Spain, GoalKeeper)

Critics and commentators have also criticized Jabulani’s nature of flying just a bit too much, making it fly over the cross bar, for almost all world class strikers in this World Cup.

This was, rather an impartial comparison of FIFA World Cup 2006 ball, Teamgeist, made in Pakistan and Thailand, and the FIFA World Cup 2010 ball, Jabulani, made in China. You decide whether Jabulani is a blessing or a curse!




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