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Monday, July 14, 2014

substitute Mario Gotze nets the winner - Germany lifts FIFA 2014

After a month-long fiesta of football, it is all over - Germany are the 2014 FIFA World Cup champions, lifting the Trophy for the fourth time in their history after overcoming Argentina 1-0 courtesy of an extra-time goal by Mario Gotze at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing – and to understand things knowing something else too can be misleading …. Cricket too is a team game – there are 11 players and there are ‘substitutes’ too.

Way back in 1978 at Sydney,  with series 2-1 in Aussie favour, Australia batted disastrously and were dismissed for a paltry 131.  BS Chandrasekhar was the wrecker-in-chief with 4/30. It was a turning track - at draw of stumps on day 3 Gary Cosier and Kim Hughes were at the crease with score 40/1 ; the 4th day was the rest day in the Series which had 8 balls per over.   On playing day 4, Australians lost wickets regularly and at end of day, they were 243/8 still struggling to make India bat again, but had pushed the game to the fifth day of the match.  On the 5th day morning (early morning in India) the commentator screamed when Madanlal covering lot of ground got under the skier at long leg catching Toohey off Ghavri for 85 enabling Indian win by an Innings and 2 runs.   Madanlal was a substitute fielder and those days there was the restriction that a substitute shall not stand in close-in positions (nor in any special fielding positions !!) That day, the commentator remarked that given his abilities, Madanlal should not be allowed to be inside the field at all as he appeared to be a specialist in any position !!

Years later in 2005  - came the experimentation with ‘super substitute’  -   with supersub it was not 11 but 12.  According to that rule - : Each team designated a 12th man before the toss, who can be subbed to bat or bowl at any stage of the match. Once the 12th man is in play, the man he replaced cannot return to bat or bowl.. ~ that experimentation slowly faded ….

Germany lifted FIFA 2014 beating Argentina 1-0 courtesy of an extra-time goal by Mario Gotze at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. Gotze whose strike proved the difference, came in as a substitute.  With 30 minutes on the clock, Albiceleste did put the ball into the net, but luck continued to desert the South Americans as the officials rightly adjudged him offside. Germany captain Philipp Lahm hailed his side's collective ability after they downed Lionel Messi's Argentina.  Substitute Mario Gotze grabbed the only goal of the game in extra time as La Albiceleste paid the price for missing a host of good chances through Gonzalo Higuain, Messi and Rodrigo Palacio.Germany captain Philipp Lahm said : "Whether we have the best individual players or whatever does not matter, you have to have the best team.

There are four awards in total: the Golden Boot for the top scorer, Golden Ball for best player, Golden Glove for best goalkeeper, and Best Young Player. Lionel Messi won the Golden Ball, Manuel Neuer won the Golden Glove, James Rodriguez won the Golden Boot, and Paul Pogba is the Best Young Player at World Cup 2014. In tune with the best teams reaching finals, seven of the candidates announced by FIFA on Friday played in the finals. Messi had  been nominated along with Argentina teammates Angel Di Maria and Javier Mascherano. Germany had  four candidates: Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, Philipp Lahm and Thomas Mueller – vying for the best player spot.  Neymar was  the only candidate from Brazil among the players selected by FIFA’s technical study group of coaching analysts. Arjen Robben of the Netherlands and James Rodriquez of Colombia, the tournament’s top scorer with six goals, completed the list. Both goalkeepers in the final were on a three-man shortlist to be named best of the tournament. It was Manuel Neuer of Germany and Sergio Romero of Argentina, joined by Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas.

Earlier, Brazil’s cup of woes was complete as they went down 3-0 to Dutch in the third place match.  Robin van Persie, Daley Blind and Georginio Wijnaldum secured 3-0 victory; Brazilians already downhearted at missing out on reaching the World Cup final watched in dismay as goals came one after the other – not as torrential as it did in Semis.   One of the outpourings of a dejected fan best summed up : ‘You go into things with great expectations, but rarely do those expectations play out in reality,’ ….. so it is all over – and fans can feel relaxed for the next challenge four years later in 2018 -  21st  FIFA World Cup, is scheduled to take place in 2018 in Russia.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

14th July 2014.

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