FIFA World Cup: Simplified for Cricket Lovers

Posted on June 18, 2010
Filed Under >Faisal Kapadia, People, Sports
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Faisal Kapadia

The FIFA Football World Cup is underway and Pakistanis are enthusiastically watching matches, cheering for their favorite teams, and organizing football get togethers. Football is everyman’s game and requires not much other than a ball which we are adept at producing in the millions in Sialkot. It is simple to understand, easy to follow, and can be spectacular to watch. So it is no surprise that Pakistanis are getting as excited about the Football World Cup as fans anywhere else in the world.

But our sports sensibilities are still defined by cricket. We look at the whole world – from international politics to local scandals – through the lens and metaphors of cricket. So, why should football be any different. So, as a Pakistani guide to understanding what the commentators on TV are screaming about, I thought I should produce an interpretation to the key teams playing in the FIFA Football World Cup as explained in the context of our own Pakistani cricket stars. Earlier versions of this have been published on my own blog, Deadpan Thoughts, and on the Dawn Blog. I hope ATP readers can add more to the guide, and maybe suggest some more novel comparisons.

#1. Brazil. They are the Wasim Akram of the football world.
This team has done it all and achieved it all. They have unmatched skill with the ball, they can dance well both, on and off the field and have fans all over the world, but they have yet to grace Indian reality shows. They are the favorites each time they play and have a tendency to not being able to defend a lot of unexpected movement in the air, focusing only on attack.

#2. England. They are most similar to Shahid Afridi.
They performed brilliantly in one World Cup and were the Champions back in 1966. Even though they have rabid fan base, acute media hype and coverage up the wazoo, they are unable to achieve much on the international stage. The team has also appeared in a number of endorsements in print and electronic media, much like Afridi.

#3. North Korea. They are like Shoaib Akhtar.
The team is egotistical and is controlled by god knows whom. They are most secretive in holding closed practices and claim to have the ability to conjure miraculous feats while in actuality, achieving nothing. Not yet established in Bollywood but hoping to break into form at any given time for the last 10 years.

#4. Spain. They are closest to Misbah Ul Haq’s behavior.
Loaded with talent and skill having displayed it all throughout the league stages of any tournament but fail at the grandest stage. And yes Misbah, we still remember that paddle-scoop of disaster against India and we will make sure you do as well.

#5. Argentina. Muhammad Asif personified.
Argentina has oodle’s of skill, an almost mesmerizing ability to entertain when on song but most of the time, they trip or fall on obstacles conjured in their own minds. Drug issues, check. Ego, check. Ability to be gods or walk off a cliff, check!

#6. Italy. Can be compared to Younis Khan.
A history of success, great presence on the roster but very divisive to its fans, you either love Italy or hate them, there is nothing in between. Also, like Khan, the team displays the same mood swings, temper and flair both on and off the field.

#7. USA. They possess Umar Gul-like skills.
But for them to be noticed on the world stage is the same – negligible. Like Umar Gul they try very hard; like Umar Gul they can cause plenty of upsets but like Umar Gul whether they do or don’t, no one seems to give a damn.

#8. Germany. Exactly like Imran Khan.
Strong team values, they attack as a unit, making a science out of the beautiful game, very strong mental attitude and dedication, almost clinical at times. Their only flaw is too much confidence which has lead to their own downfall.

P.S. The jury is still out on which football team is most like Javed Miandad. If you think you know the answer, do please let me know! I am still having trouble understanding him!

44 responses to “FIFA World Cup: Simplified for Cricket Lovers”

  1. Farman says:

    So, this will be Misbah ul Haq’s world cup this year?

  2. Dan says:

    Yes, Netherlands played a great game. Although I was rooting for Uruguay.

  3. Sami says:

    I have been saying from the beginning to keep eye on Dutch. Check page 3 of these comments. Go Orange.

  4. hamza says:

    I am anxiously waiting for Football final!!…. If we talk about our country, I think Pakistan is full of talent but still there’s no one to promote football in Pakistan. Government must work on the promotion of sports.
    I have heard about djuice work done to promote Football at:
    I truly believe that such initiatives can play a greater role in promoting the awareness of football in Pakistan.

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