Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Referee From Hell - How Valentin Ivanov Screwed Up.

Portugal v/s Netherlands, World Cup 2006 Second Round Match. Referee: Valentin Ivanov, of Russia, taking place at Nurnberg.

The game started off decently. The first half was goal filled, well because it had the only goal of the game, a good strike from Maniche. But it ended with an ominous sign - the sending off of Costinha, by the Russian referee, for a second yellow card. It was a fair decision to a particular extent, but could have gone the other way too. Apart from the goal and the sending off, the other point of note was the piece of magic conjured by Arsenal's Van Persie on the right flank, but he spoilt it with a careless miss. All in all, I did not know what to expect in the second half.

Before I move to the 2nd half details, let me get this clear. I am a Brazilian supporter, but for this match I was supporting Netherlands because of Arsenal’s Van Persie and because well Portugal would pose a greater threat to Brazil if they went through. So, anyway the point is I was supporting Holland.

The score line was definitely frustrating. 1-0 at half time, damn! The second half though looked more promising for the Dutch. With an extra man, they were dominating possession. Then, Cocu agonizingly struck the bar. Kuyt missed a few more chances, and some dismal shooting from Van Bommel got me even more infuriated. Then, enter Ref. Ivanov. This Ivanov dude has some mental problem definitely. He seemed to be drawing pure sadistic pleasure from yellow and red cards. He seemed to be refereeing without the slightest implementation of logic and common sense. All in all, Mr Ivanov ended up giving a modest total of 20 cards, 16 yellow and 4 red. Freak. All through the game it seemed as though he wanted to steal the limelight, and it seemed as though he felt self-righteous for every single booking he made. Quite frankly it was insane. Some were deserved, but many were not. By issuing so many bookings, this clearly stupid referee fuelled the adrenalin of the players, leading to many silly tussles. This led to more bookings, and well more pleasure for our Russian referee. Injuries, bookings and fights constituted most of the second half in addition to the almost rare fast-paced football of the two teams. Netherlands came close many a time, but remained unable to unlock the Portuguese defense. Anyway, despite the wastage of so much time, the referee felt that only 6 minutes needed to be added on. It should have clearly been at least 8 or 9.

It was an extremely frustrating and enjoyable evening for me, and for many other football lovers. A bad referee, coupled with lovely football and a flurry of bookings, it kept me glued to every single piece of action. It had everything, but maybe a few more goals would have made it better. Any how, these ambivalent emotions depict the unpredictability and well, the beauty of football. You just don't know what is going to happen next. Yes it was entertaining, thanks to the referee, but hell it was damaging for both the sides.

This world cup has been a very controversial when it comes to referees. The reputed Graham Poll surprisingly gave 3 yellow cards to a Serbia & Montenegro player, which was pretty hilarious, but totally unbelievable, coming from such a revered English referee. Also, the referee of England's first game against Paraguay was a pain in the ass. Marco Rodriguez, the Mexican referee spoiled the game, according to me, by giving unnecessary free-kicks, interrupting the flow of the game. On the other hand, some referees have been exceptional. They have stayed low key, and allowed free-flowing football. That's how it should be.

All in all, the 2006 World Cup is turning out to be a truly entertaining spectacle; living up to it's expectations and enthralling millions of people worldwide, with some of the most unbelievable goals. Let's hope the rest of the matches live up to their billing too, and let us all hope that Brazil lift the crown for a record 6th time, and let us all also hope that stupid referees don't spoil any of the remaining games.

Friday, June 23, 2006


24 took me by storm. It was during my examinations, I think it was the Math weekend, when I was feeling quite bored and was quite fed up of academics. So, well, I thought of watching the 1st episode of this award-wining series, and find out what all the fuss was about. It took me precisely 5 minutes to know that I am going to be addicted to 24. I watched 4 episodes that night, and only stopped because; well I had only 4 episodes.

Anyone who has not seen 24 is a fool. I was one too, until recently. You don't know what you are missing. 24 has everything from a twisted, mind-boggling plot, accompanied by realistic acting, to the most creative concepts ever.

"The following takes place between 12:00am and 1:00am on the day of the California Election Primary. Events occur in real time" - that’s how each episode starts. Each season has 24 episodes, one hour each, which trace the events occurring in Jack Bower's life as a CTU agent. Convoluted, and filled with a million twists, with breath-taking shots, and highly realistic occurrences, 24 will blow you away and quite honestly, I have not see any video production better than this, and guess what I am not even through seeing the first season yet. Even though it has a very improbable story line, it is very realistically made and it has the ability to transfer you into the eyes of the protagonist, and you, the observer, are the only one who knows everything that's happening.

It's fascinating and a must see. I just had to rave about it. It's so good, that there will probably be a Bollywood take on it, and as usual they will screw it up. Let me make it clear, 24 outclass every single Bollywood & Indian Television production, and highlights the superiority of Western entertainment as opposed to the inferiority of the Indian television industry. Hats off to Paul Gadd (producer), Robin Chamberlin, Richard Rosser and Nicole Burke (directors) on a truly marvelous production.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bored At School 2

Remember Ms Ohri, well she is here right now. Wailing, crying, and hitting the innocent me. Apparently it's all for her sister - "What would I do without her?" Well it kind off reminded me of my sister. She's in Spain, living a fruitful life, and exploring the beauty of simplicity, with the aim to be a part of the elite few Indians who are well versed in Spanish, which is probably the fastest growing language in the world. The maker of 'Griddskipper' - one of the most popular travel websites in the world - has approached her to write for his website, and her 1st post is already up. Her blog is now Latino flavoured, with constant updates on the Spanish and salsa. Worth a visit! Hats off and good luck to her.

Coming back to the School IT center, the Head Boy and the Head Girl have now entered the IT center. Hmm...interesting. A few wonder couple sparks seem to have been flying. ;-)

We are going to meet the school alumuni, and get a little bored. I am really tired. Haven't really got any sleep for the past 24 hours.

Yes recently, my blog posts have been a little random with less substance and more well, 'masti', or non-sense. But do expect something a little more exciting in the future.

P.S. - This post was started in the school IT center. I was not able to finish and publish it then. That is the reason why I am publishing it now.