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Monday, July 6, 2015

In Sports disgrace too comes .... Chile wins Copa America - Messi's family attacked

Ozymandias is a sonnet written by the  PB Shelly and published in 1818 ~ its  central theme is the inevitable decline of all leaders and of the empires they build with the lasting power of art, the only thing that has any permanence.  In Politics and in Sports, people do fall from famedom !

Soccer is one of the most followed sports and its players earn high -  Lionel Andrés "Leo" MessiCuccittini (Lionel Messi) [1987] is an Argentine professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Barcelona and the Argentina national team. He is a forward and serves as captainfor Argentina.By the age of 21, Messi had received Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations. The following year, in 2009, he won his first Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. He followed this up by winning the inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or in2010, and then again in 2011 and 2012. He also won the 2010–11 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. At the age of 24, Messi became Barcelona's all-time top scorer in all official club competitions. In Sept 2014 he scored his 400th senior career goal for club and country aged just 27. In November 2014, Messi became the all-time top scorer in La Liga, and the all-time leading goalscorer in the UEFA Champions League. The winner of 4 FIFA/BallonsdÓr is considered one of the best players of the World, rated by some as the greatest of all time. 

Chile has never won a major trophy before. Not one. Ithad  come close four times as runners up in past Copa América tournaments. Copa América, is renowned for its storied rivalries, vibrant fan support, politically-charged history, and incredible star power on the pitch; a competition which, for the past near-century, has ignited a continent.The 2015 Copa América was the 44thedition of the Copa América, the main international football tournament for national teams in South America, and took place in Chile. The competition was organized byCONMEBOL, South America's football governing body.Twelve teams competed, the ten members of CONMEBOL and two guests from CONCACAF – Mexico and Jamaica.  Uruguay were the defending champions, but were eliminated by the hosts in the quarter–finals.

In the finals on 4th July in Santiago's EstadioNacional, history was created – following a goalless draw, Chile defeated Argentina in a penalty shootout to win their first title and qualify for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.  It boiled down  to Alexis Sánchez against Sergio Romero from 12 yards. The Arsenal forward attempted a Panenka, scuffed it badly, and scored anyway as the goalkeeper dived to his left. Misses from Gonzalo Higuaín and ÉverBanega in the shootout proved decisive and, finally, Chile, one of the four participants at the inaugural Copa América, had a first international trophy. ForArgentina the drought goes on: 22 years since their last trophy and an increasing sense that this gifted generation of players will remain unfulfilled.One of the reasons Argentina were so cowed was due to Chile’s aggression, which clearly outraged their coaching staff. This tournament has seen Chile chart a course from romance via the decision not to suspend Vidal over his arrest on drink-driving charges and Gonzalo Jara’s digital provocation of EdinsonCavani, to the pragmatic decision to try to kick Argentina off their stride. By half-time, all three central defenders had been booked and a game that had begun brightly had degenerated into something far scrappier.

The man of fame – Messi is facing the wrath - members of Lionel Messi's family were attacked during Argentina's Copa America final against Chile in Santiago on Sunday. Messi scored from the spot in Argentina’s opening game against Paraguay but that was to be his only goal of the tournament outside the shoot-outs. He simmered rather than starred early on before really coming to the boil with a sensational performance in a 6-1 semi-final win over Peru. Messi assisted three goals in that game alone but the final proved to be a different story. He was closely marked by hosts Chile and while he managed to convert his spot-kick in the shoot-out, no team-mate could match his efforts and another tournament ended in bitter failure.  The reported incident of attack, occurred just before half-time when supporters of Chile began to insult the Argentine's family.  It is stated that the 28-year-old’s brother Rodrigo was hit by one fan after an angry exchange and the whole family were moved to a television cabin at half-time. Sergio Aguero's family were also insulted by a group of Chilean fans.

Argentina lost the final 1-4 to Chile on penalties, ending a 99-year Copa America wait for Chile but lengthening their own 22-year streak without a major trophy.It was the second time in 12 months Messi had finished on the losing side in a major final following Argentina's extra-time loss to Germany at the World Cup last year. "This generation is desperate to win a title with the national team," Messi had said before this year's Copa America.

The attacks on persons are shameful but are not new to sport – as fans often cannot accept defeat and turn their ire on the once stars.   Way back in  June 1994, in a match against the US in Pasadena on Andres  Escobar stretched to cut out a cross from the left but instead stabbed the ball past his own goalkeeper for the opening goal. In a normal game, it would have looked like bad luck. In the context of Colombia, where betting on football is like horse-race betting in Britain, there was just a suggestion that he should have been able to steer the ball wide for a corner. For the rest of the game the Colombians continued to play below form.  Sadly, days later, Escobar only 27 [no relation to Pablo Escobar, the cartel boss] was shot 12 times by 3 men who fled in off-road vehicles of the type favoured by drugs and gambling mafiosi. 'Thanks for the own goal,' said one, according to witnesses.

MS Dhoni is one the best ever to have arrived on the scene – but shortly after India’s loss to Bangladesh in WC 2007,  his house in Ranchi was attacked by a mob.   Years earlier, AjitWadekar scaled newer heights winning Series in West Indies and England in 1971 and became a phenomenon.  In 1974, India played 3 tests and 2 ODIs in England, losing all of their tour matches too.  The season became known as the "Summer of 42",  referring to the number of runs scored by India in its second innings in the Second Test at Lord's that remains the lowest total for a completed innings in a Test match for  India.  The team returning were booed, attacked, soon the hero AjitWadekar retired from Test cricket.
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

6th July 2015.

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