Monday, June 19, 2006

National Football Teams

The FIFA World Cup 2006 Blog Entry

But before we go into details, I'd like to show you guys something...
double joan in berlin 1200px

hehehe~ Digital imaging.
Finally my skills of photoshopping have reached a new high~
This picture is made using a composition of two pictures. Although a mirror is involved, the light was not adequate enough to brighten up my mirrored face. I had to use photoshop to brighten up my mirrored face but it turned out that after brightening the picture, my real face turned too bright. This composite is made using a not too bright real face together with the brightened up mirrored face. And I did some editing to smoothen out the edges. Not bad right? hehehe~
*proud of myself*
(try work out the hidden message if you have nothing better to do)

Back to my post proper. Too much crap will scare my readers away.

Most people would know Joan is a footbal fan, and those who know Joan is a football fan would know that Joan is a big big Chelsea fan. But still some people, people from the opposite gender as Joan, are surprised by how much Joan knows about the football industry and the transfers and other kinds of useless news. Yes, Joan keeps up to date with footballing news because she has nothing better to do other than surfing pages and pages of football news online. And I'm up to date not only with news from the English Premier League, but also of the other football leagues too, well, the other European football leagues, at least. I know nothing about the football leagues of the other continents, except maybe a few of the bigger Brazilian and Argentine clubs.

So, all these should point to a Joan feeling very excited about the World Cup, right? But sad to say, after watching about a third of all matches played, I still don't feel that hyped up. I'm sort of supporting the German and English national teams, but I don't really hate any other team, except maybe the Brazilians. The kind of love and hatred I have for national teams is not as extreme as the love and hatred I have for club football. Maybe this is why I'm not feeling the heat of things as yet.

Why do I feel a greater affinity with club football than national football? With club football, we see the players play every week from August to April/May, and with the League Cups, and Champions League, we more often than not see them playing twice a week, for nine to ten months. Hence, of course I'd feel more for my club team, especially that I've been supporting them for five years already. National teams don't play that often. And there are only one major National competition every two years, the Euros and the World Cup.

And also another thing is that as a Singaporean, I don't have a national allegience to pledge to. You can argue that I don't have a regional allegience to pledge to Chelsea, but club football has long transcended regional lines. Sad to say, there are only about 3 Londoners in Chelsea's main team, John Terry, Frank Lampard, and Joe Cole, luckily they are considered to be the first team players, so at least 3/11 of the Chelsea team do go along regional lines. Some other teams (note: ARSEnal), don't even have like English players in starting eleven, much less to say Londoners. Okay, they have Sol Campbell, but how much football is he playing since he's like always injured or sick?

Maybe if I were European I'd feel more of an affinity to the national teams. Maybe I can love them more and hate them more. My housemates hate certain national teams because of some international rivalry which I can't write here because it may sound a bit seditious, but well, that I'm a Singaporean, and transcending all these international rivalries, I don't really hate or love teams as much as I hate or love certain football clubs. And without that love/hate factor, watching football is not as exciting when you don't have a particular team you'd wish to see win or lose.

Take for example the FA Cup finals and the Champions League finals. Even though my Chelsea was not playing, and I don't like any of the teams, I was still excited, mainly because I want a certain team to lose, because I just hate them so much. between West Ham United and Liverpool, I'd just needed to support the underdogs because kanasai Liverpool kicked us out. Between Barcelona and Arsenal, this was a very interesting match because I hate hate hate both teams, but I hated Arsenal a little bit more than Barcelona, and that was enough for me to support Barcelona. This sort of intensity I feel towards club teams cannot be mirrored with the national teams.

Even if Singapore plays in the World Cup, which I think won't be in my lifetime, nor might it even be ever possible, I don't think I'd support them. For one, I don't even know any local player. For two, are the local players even local players? Most of them, the majority are like bought players from other nations, although they hold a Singapore passport but I don't feel that they feel like a Singaporean. Other countries may also have national players not borned in their countries, notable Deco, a Brazilian borned, now turned Portuguese, Alex, another Brazilian borned, now playing for the Japanese team, even big names like Zidane aren't even borned in the land they are playing for now. take the German national team, the two first choice strikers Klose and Podolski are both Polish borned. But their whole team does not consist of these foreigners. And neither are these foreigners paid to play for their adopted countries.

Deco decided to play for Portugal because there was just too many good players in the Brazilian team and he'd have trouble making to the national team. But the Brazilian coach recently revealled that if Deco was still Brazilian, he'd have called him up. Alex, might have been paid, this I'm not very sure, but at least Alex is playing in the J-League currently and has a wide fan base. Zidane moved to Marceille when he was young, so he can still be considered as French, not to mention that Algeria was a French colony, so it doesn't really make much of a difference. I'm not so sure about Podolski, but I know Klose was courted by the Polish coach to join the Polish national team but he declined. All these are not about money, but about nationalism and pride, and what they feel to be. This is something Singapore can never achieve in footballing terms.

Without having a reason to support national football teams, why am I still watching the World Cup? Number one, to make all of you guys back in Singapore freaking jealous of me. wahaha~ ALL matches are telecasted free on national television, and I really mean ALL. From what I've heard from friends back at home, SCV's really been cutting you poor people's throat back at home. It's okay if you need to subscribe to SCV to watch the World Cup, but to make existing subscribers subscribe to another channel for the World Cup is atrocious. Can't they just broadcast the matches on ESPN or something? Isn't that what ESPN is for?

Another reason I'm watching is to support individual players.

This is something very unlike what the normal Joan would say. The normal joan would go on and on about football being a team sport and no individual player is bigger than the team, blah blah... But well, I can't help it now that I don't have a specific team to support.

On a very personal, and club centred agenda, I'm hoping all Chelsea players would outshine all the other players, so much so that I'm even supporting players like Drogba whom I detest the most in Chelsea. So I follow very closely to things like the Man of the Match, and individual statistics. I want Chelsea players to be the Man of the Match, and of course to win the Golden Shoe, of course, I'd also be very happy if Miroslav Klose wins it. Right now we have five Man of the Match won by Chelsea players with Arjen Robben winning it twice, and of course my dear Miroslav Klose has also won it once. Hernan Crespo has also two goals in his pocket, same as Klose, so that's all for personal glory. And also club glory, since I can boast that Crespo is from Chelsea, so is Robben, Lampard, Makelele, Eisen (even though I don't really like him).

Another reason, I sadly have to admit, that I'm after all still a girl at heart, and shuai ges will always attract me. And there's no other place where I can see a whole lot of shuai ges on the same screen. And also because it's football, the shuai ges will also start to show tendencies of yaoi, something that always never fails to interest Joan.

The hugs.

The kisses.

The gropings.

The orgies.

hehehe~ yaoi at its best...

Distancing the football players from their club teams, and me not being biased towards them, I've found a couple of shuai ges. I'm judging them mostly based on looks, so unless I mention about their football skills, take it that I'm not really impressed by their footballing abilities. Good footballers I'll talk later, shuai ges come first~

Keiji Tamada, Japan
He's damn cute!!! I first saw him in an international match perhaps two years ago, and went google him up, but couldn't find much information about him. He's now in the World Cup squad but mostly a substitute player. I think he's cute, but I don't know how well he plays though. Maybe after retiring from football he can go act in some J-drama, sure can beat Takuya flat~ wahaha... And this is coming from a Takuya fan... lol~

Tim Borowski, Germany
A mostly used as a substitute player. Damn... Why are the shuai ges all subs? Maybe it's because they've only have looks and not skills... lol~ He plays in Ballack's position when Ballack's not playing. I first noticed him about two years ago playing for Werder Bremen, the club Miroslav Klose is playing for, hence why I'd go and notice that club. lol~ Borowski is tall and handsome, with those blond floppy hair and blue eyes... swoon~

Lee Chun Soo, South Korea
I first saw him four years ago in Korea when he was a substitute player. Now older and more matured, but I don't think his skills improved much, he's still a hotheaded guy with more angst than talent. But he's cute~ hehehe~ Sort of have a boyish charm in him, I like~ hehehe...

Iker Casillas, Spain
This isn't the first time I'm swooning over Casillas, if you search my blog for Casillas, I'm sure you'd get a couple of results of me mentioning Casillas. I just love him, he's so shuai. He's also a good keeper, but sadly I haven't got to see much of him in action yet. In the statistics, he'd made only two saves, against Ukraine which Spain won 4-0. lol~ But I'll watch out more of him in the next couple of matches~

Hidetoshi Nakata, Japan
I never thought he was shuai even though I've seen him around for the past four years, but I don't know why I thought he looked shuai in tonight's match. I always though his eyes were too small, his hair dyed until too showy, but he looked so stoic and enigmatic tonight that I felt so captivated by him. hmm... Maybe it's because he was playing well... lol~

There are some players who played well and are also damn shuai~

Okay, this picture just doesn't do justice to him.
Jan Koller, Czech
He's damn tall, even taller than Peter Crouch at 202cm. He's big, something Crouch is not. Crouch is tall and scrawny, like a beanpole, but Koller is big, as in really BIG, he's porportionately tall and big, like a giant like that. His header of a goal was like perfect. Too bad he got injured. hai... And when he was injured, the Czechs weren't playing as well.

David Beckham, England
The most overrated player on earth. But is he really overrated? I always thought he was, but when I watch the other national teams play, I came to realised that what I always took for granted is not widespread across all players. I thought that long balls ways got to their intended recepients. I always thought corners were for crossing the balls to get headers into the goal, but apparently, not all players are gifted with this ability to cross balls. I'm really starting to appreciate Beckham even more now that I'm seeing really atrocious long balls and corners that aren;t crosses. Out of the three England goals, two were from Beckham's setpieces. I must really appreciate him more. Oh, and he looks really good with short hair, doesn't he?

Kaka, Brazil
He's young, he's cute, he plays ball well. With one goal to his name, and one Man of the Match, and one World Cup title, although he only played one game in that World Cup, he's still achieved lots. And he's damn cute. Another guy with boyish charm.

Edwin van der Sar, Netherlands
He looks like someone I know (someone I once liked), that face... I didn't notice it for so many years of watching the EPL, until now, I saw his face, I thought of well, the past, and noticed that shape and that kind of figure, though the said person is much shorter than van der Sar, I mean, of course isn't it, everybody is shorter than van der Sar, except Koller. lol~ Man Utd did make a good buy in van der Sar.

The best for the last. The most shuai person on the fields of Germany, even more shuai than any of my favourite players. And also the most talented player on the fields of Germany, except maybe for a small handful of other elite players.
Pavel Nedved, Czech
Oh my God, he's so damn shuai~ wahahaha~~~ I've noticed him three years ago, or maybe four, he's so shuai~ Those long blond locks of his and clear blue blue eyes and that chiselled face, nice and clear, like a porcelain doll~ I love him~ My housemate was saying that usually porcelain dolls were of women or children, why would I use it to describe a guy, a footballer especially. Well, he looks like a girl, not really, a boy maybe, a young boy, with so delicate featurs and those blue blue eyes and blond long hair. Oh man~ I can feel like I'm a paedophile already even though he's like 33 years old.

He was supposed to have already retired from international football to prolong his club career with Juventus, but he was persuaded to come out of retirement by the national coach to help his team to win, this just shows his importance to the team. Of course, European Footballer of the Year also adds that prestige in him. Everytime I see him on the pitch, my heart would flutter, not even any of my favourite football players can do this to me. omg~

Interestingly enough, I haven't talked about any of my favourite football players, nor have I posted their pictures up here. Because I'm now going to discuss another issue involving them.

The English captaincy after the World Cup.

We all know that David Beckham is the current English captain. Those who don't know are probably not football spectators. But well, Beckham is old, and with a new coach coming in after Sven Goran Eriksson leaves, I'm guessing that there'd be a new captain. Even though Beckham might still be playing in games from time to time, I think there will be a new captain to lift the burden off Beckham and also to spark off a new era of English football. Now the question is, who will be the next captain?

The current vice captain is Michael Owen. But I don't think he'll become captain. Backtrack a few years ago, Liverpool's captaincy question. Owen was the vice captain, but he didn't become captain. To Owen, the position of captaincy was too heavy a burden for him to carry and it was starting to weigh him down. In fact, after Gerrard was named captain, Owen started playing better being relieved off the burden of captaincy. With this past history of Liverpool's captaincy, I don't think the next coach would not learn of history and burden Owen with more misery and affect the team's efficiency. Hence, I'd be betting against Owen, not that his odds are very good anyway.

The forerunners of captaincy are namely John Terry, Chelsea's captain, Steven Gerrard, Liverpool's captain, and Frank Lampard, Chelsea's vice captain. I remember in an international match once when Beckham was not playing, after Owen was taken off, the captain's armband was passed to Terry, showing us that little bit of evidence who might just become captain in the future. Of the three of them, I still like Terry the most and of course would want him to be the captain, and I believe he has the ability after reading reports from the Chelsea camp saying that Terry is great in organising social outings and building team spirit (probably in the form of going to gambling dens together. hahaha~), so I'd think he's make just a good leader for England. But well, the national team also need that bit of marketing and sponsorship, and Terry is just not as glamourous as Beckham, or Gerrard and Lampard because of his position of a defender. This might count against him.

I've read another analysis saying that because of sponsorship deals, the FA might pressurise the new coach to keep Beckham so that they can have the adequate funding needed. That is unless they can get other fundings from other faces. Lampard and Gerrard have that edge. Well, adidas have recently signed Lampard as one of their spokesperson, but Gerrard is after all Liverpool's captain. I'm not sure if that would count for or against him, but I'd of course definitely prefer Lampard to Gerrard. And of course, of given me the choice to choose my captain, I'd just heck care the FA, and go ahead and hand the captain's armband to Terry of course.

But of course, I won't be placing a bet on it. I never bet on anything that involves teams like like. I never bet on Chelsea because I think I'm afraid. lol~ Even though Terry is like one of the biggest bettor, I don't think I'd ever emulate him. Usually I bet small, or bet in kind rather than in cash. I don't think I'd be betting in the World Cup, although I must say that feeling detached from the teams actually makes me more level headed to make calculated bets. But well, I don't have access to Singapore Pools over here and I have no idea how to use internet betting portals, nor do I actually trust those sites.

Anyway, there hasn't been any major upsets in this this world cup as yet, and I'm not predicting any major upsets. Switzerland, Spain, and Ukraine would most probably win their matches, I'd take Spain to win big, since I'm not expecting Casillas to make many saves, I'd expect a cleansheet for Spain too. Switzerland, probably a one goal advantage. Not so sure about Ukraine, if Shevchenko is in form, I'd expect goals, but if he's not getting the support, maybe a marginal win.

Tuesday's matches, I'm not saying anything on Germany vs Ecuador except I want Germany to win and top the group, but that's a want. hehehe~ Costa Rica and Poland, both losers, no point to bet not point to guess, since both are going home, it doesn't matter who wins or loses or draw or whatever. So, I'd take it as a high scoring match. England vs Sweden, I want England to win, so that England will top the group and if German wins too then they won't face each other, yet. But since I'm also supporting England, I won't bet on them. Paraguay and Trinidad and Tobago, if Trinidad and Tobago wins by a couple of goals and England wins, Trinidad will go through, but will they? I'd take Trinidad for a draw and Sweden to go through (by a loss though), because I think Paraguay got what it takes to prevent Trinidad from winning, hopefully. Or if not, I'd take Trinidad to win Paraguay by a goal.

I'll save the other matches for another time, I'm really getting very tired now. I've spent three hours on this blog entry. Oh my god... And I'm reminded by someone that I've yet put up my travel logs on Benelux. There's one big big thing that I want to talk about Luxembourg, but the preview is already up on his blog. damn... You'd have to hear from him first before you hear from the original source. And tomorrow is a long day ahead... hai... I think I need go sleep now, it's three hours past the time you see on the timestamp of this post.

Good night~


stanley said...

espn is not controlled by starhub cable la.. haa.. besides there are other sports to broadcast.. the world cup channel is a 24 hour world cup only broadcast mah.. lol

lampard disappoints!!!!!! ^_^ see him in the matches want to strangle him lol.. so many chances.. none are converted..

btw.. there're upsets.. so far.. not in the statistics sense.. but the game of soccer as a whole.. lol..

xxoos said...

i know espn not controlled by starhub la... espn the leading sports channel in the world, starhub is but a stupid, lousy national company.

i also damn pek cek with lampard. hai... his shots all misfire or saved brillantly. one day, it will come! it better come soon, if not, bah~

stanley said...

lol.. yeah hope so.. tomorrow.. or is it saturday.. well england got the easy way out so far sia.. and now a handicapped portugal?!? -_- better prove their worth.. haha..

italy got by great too fighting next with ukraine after a superb diving.. "or so to speak".. in the australian match.. lol..

oopz sorry bore you with world cup crappz.. me caught with the fever lately.. ha..

take care!