Wembley, 28th May 2011
With hype that this would be Alex Ferguson’s chance for redemption on one hand and Barcelona’s chance to cement their credentials of being the best team in the world, this mouth-watering clash was just what the neutrals ordered to bring a close to the football carnival in Europe! With the raw force of Rooney guiding united to their 3rd final in 4 years and on the other hand the mesmerizing skills on Messi Who has out done himself my scoring goals for fun!
With as many as 220 million television viewers watching the epic final that offered different styles of play pitted against each other. With the flamboyant possession football that starves the opponents played out by the Le Marcia grown players and with United’s fast paced counter-attacking style that has taken down so many in the past and Octopus Iker tipping United to win had the Spanish fans in a little bother, with Alex Ferguson with one eye on the record books and other on the tactical style of Pep Guardiola’s wonders. It seemed an Ideal finish to a season that threw so many surprises such as Schalke, Gareth Bale etc to name a few.
When the whistle was blown by the referee to kick-start the final it seemed that Barca neatly got into their passing routine in the early stages but to the surprise of many United were eager to close their opponents and paid of with United coming up on top in the opening 20 minutes or so. But Barcelona gained a grip on the game and were rewarded a goal by Pedro who was picked out beautifully by Xavi in the 27th minute. United were on the back-foot but kept their defense organized with Vidic putting in vital tackles in. In the 34th minute a swift move on the right flank and neat inter-play saw Rooney equalize with a shot into left top corner! The half came to close with a deadlock between the sides.
The second half saw the usual passing proves of Barca and in the 54th minute with Messi finding a little space to play around in front of United’s box fired a thunderous low shot that beat Van der Sar to his left, thus scoring his first goal on English soil! With Barca having full control on the game at this stage Alex sent Nani to improve his attack but Messi with a lighting move on the right side skipped passed Nani and got into the box to put the alarm bells ringing. The ball found its way to David Villa who curled a beauty into the top right corner leaving Van Der Sar no chance thus sealing the clash for good!
With the final whistle the game, saw the Barca players erupt in joy which saw them do a double with the league and the champions league for the 4th time in their history. United on the other hand lamenting a chance lost to add to their trophy cabinet!
“They do mesmerize you with their passing. We never really controlled Messi, but many people said that. We never really closed the midfield well enough to counter them. It’s alien to us to try to man-mark players. We tried to play as normally as we can. In my time as a manager it is the best team we have faced. No one has given us a hiding like that” said Alex Ferguson after the game.
Pep Guardiola said “I didn’t see the Ajax of Cruyff, I didn’t see the Real Madrid of Di Stefano and I didn’t see the Santos of Pele. But if in 10 or 15 years time people remember us for the football that we are playing now, that will make me very happy. If you play this football you need these players. At another club may be I would have problems. I feel privileged to have these players. My future will be very tough as I’ll be at another club with other players, thinking ‘where are these kinds of players?’ “.
It was a final played in great spirits between the teams and it will be interesting to see what future battles between the teams holds for us!
On numerous occasions i seemed to have argued with my friends why Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar isn’t the World’s Best (thought Ponting or Warne were better off)!! quite odd you may say for I happen to be an INDIAN, where Cricket is a Religion and Sachin happens to be the #GOD .
My basic logic behind this unusual argument was that one becomes the best if one has graced the final frontier in ones sport which is the World Cup!
Sachin basically has numerous records to his credits and his first class records seem to be fairytale stuff for mortals like us. Even if I were to play starting today I would be able to achieve the same statistics as he has in his illustrious career.
|His Records>Test Career Batting and Fielding (1989/90-2010/11)|
|Test Career Bowling (1989/90-2010/11)|
|One-Day International Career Batting and Fielding (1989/90-2010/11)|
|One-Day International Career Bowling (1990-2010/11)|
On his Test debut he was the third youngest debutant (16y 205d) and to achieve stats like these, it doesn’t come too often, i would go on to say it comes only once in the game’s history itself! His stats can never be put into words cause no one has the credentials to talk about its pros and cons cause no one has ever achieved such things ever before!
Individual honours and appreciations :>
- Tendulkar was the only player of his generation, and the cricketer to have played for India, to be included in Bradman’s Eleven.
- ICC Award-Sir Garfield Sobers trophy for cricketer of the year 2010
- Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award, 2008.
- ICC World Test XI: 2009,2010
- ICC World ODI XI: 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010
- Rajiv Gandhi Awards – Sports: 2005
- Player of the tournament in 2003 Cricket World Cup
- Maharashtra Bhushan Award, Maharashtra State’s highest Civilian Award in 2001
- Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, 1999
- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest honour given for achievement in sports, 1997–98.
- Wisden Cricketer of the Year: 1997
- Arjuna Award, by the Government of India in recognition of his outstanding achievement in Cricket, 1994.
- In October 2010 he was awarded for Outstanding Achievement in Sport and the Peoples Choice Award at The Asian Awards
- On 28 January 2011, he won the ‘Castrol Indian Cricketer of the Year’ award.
After his brilliant 200 against South Africa (147ball 25×4 3×6) , I began to wonder why he still hasn’t touched the coveted World Cup!! That innings basically was a class apart from the rest, and proved why his talent is like none ever seen before.
It was pretty cruel for a man not to have won the most sort after prize in the game, When the like of Ponting, Warne, Viv Richards and countless others have done so.
With the sad performance in 2003 Sachin lost out on winning the WC along with others of the golden generation (Ganguly, Dravid, VVs etc) to a formidable Australian team. But when Mumbai’s Wankhede was to be the venue of the 2011 WC, people began to wonder if this were to be the one last chance he needed to get his hands on the trophy! Through the 6 World Cup’s, he would have played, Sachin would feel this was his chance with the sheer support of the Indian crowd to put that missing medallion in the showcase!
After the WC 2011 Finals :>>
Virat Kohli :> “It’s a huge moment for me. Its my first World Cup and I couldn’t have asked for more. I would dedicate this victory to the nation and Sachin Tendulkar. He has carried the burden of the entire nation for 21 years. It was our time to carry him on our shoulders after the match.”
Gautam Gambhir :> “We wanted to win it for Sachin Tendulkar. This World Cup is for him. It’s yet to sink in and I don’t know when it will. Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh have seen the nightmare of 2007, so they know how it feels to win World Cup. This is a dream come true. ”
Words from the man himself Sachin :> “Couldn’t have asked for more. This is ultimate. It is the proudest moment of my life, I thank the team for putting up a fabulous performance and playing consistent cricket. We have stuck together through ups and down, I wanted to thank Mike Horn. The sessions with him were of immense help. Also I want to thank Gary Kirsten and Paddy Upton. They have to be given the credit as they instilled a lot of self belief in us. We have been very consistent during the last two years and this is a result of that”
It was well and truly a brilliant tournament, with high-class cricket being played by all the teams. Indian’s especially proved their pre-tournament hype as favorites by putting a string of good performances and beating Australia (Quarters), Pakistan (Semis) and Sri Lanka (Finals) .
This was well and truly the icing on the cake for Sachin on his Truly Brilliant, Breath taking, stupendous, spell binding . . . . etc Career!
Kudos to the # GOD > Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar
P.S >> I went on to tag this post under INDIA cause this man has given it his all to make our country proud! \m/
Another article for my side!
Fabio Capello’s England team will have a totally different look considering he has decided to send most of his starters back home considering their grueling club schedules.The most notable change to the side that defeated Wales at the weekend would be starting with the captain leading them out of the tunnel. Capello announced Barry would lead his side out against the “Black Cats” at Wembley.
Capello announced, “Barry will be the captain, He played all the games with me apart from the last one. He is a good player and a good captain. Also he is the player with the most England caps.”
Handing the armband back to John Terry created a storm considering he was pulled up for his off-field fiasco and now the reinstated skipper has been sent back to Chelsea to rest ahead of a busy Premier League and Champions League schedule along with Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson and Wayne Rooney leaves Capello with very few choices left. Barry was his obvious choice considering the Man City man has considerable experience under his belt and has prior experience of leading his former club Aston villa for a period of 3 years. Barry on his part would be eager to put behind his missing of the match against Wales and would be more than delighted by Capello’s peace offering of leading the Three Lions out in their friendly at Wembley.
Barry would be leading a under-strength team out in front of a capacity crowd of 80,000 people with Andy Carroll playing up top. Carroll’s and Cahill’s likely inclusion offers a glimpse of the future and the other players drafted in will be raring to point towards the strength in depth Capello has in his squad. this match would be a feather in Barry’s hat which he would cherish for years to come.
Ghana, who did so well at the World Cup last year by reaching the Quarter finals losing unfortunately to Uruguay, are expected to field a strong line-up and are looking to become the first African team to win at the stadium will pose a stiff task for Capello’s men with Gyan being the main threat.
Barry said, “I can certainly see the reasons for (Capello’s) decision, It’s a tough part of the season, there are good reasons why the players were let home. There will be a few players chomping at the bit to take their chance. It’s obviously going to be a massive moment in my career, a proud one. I’ll be the same player as I always am. You don’t put the armband on and change. I’ve got experience of three years captaining Aston Villa. There is some extra responsibility but I won’t change the way I play.”
He also added, “I was disappointed not to be involved on Saturday but in football things can change quickly, I didn’t play against Wales then two days later I have been asked to captain my country. That’s how much can happen in a short space of time.”