Spanish bulls annihilated by the flying Dutchman, what’s next?

On July 11, 2010, in the cauldron of the Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg, the Spaniards shimmied their way around the unsparing Dutch to win their first world cup, a victory of classy tiki-taka over oafish display. Four years later, at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, we witnessed a Dutch Reconquista. It was a sight of corrida de toros (Spanish bullfighting), where Dutch bulls ran, veered and jostled past Spanish matadors, reducing their morale to dust by netting a cascade of goals. It was one of the most unforeseen results in FIFA World Cup history. On each of the previous occasions, where a team, that is defending ...

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The ATP World Tour: What to expect

After the French Open, the tennis giants move on to the grass courts. There are only five grass court events on the ATP World Tour calendar. The conversion from clay to grass is tough and the short time span between the French Open and Wimbledon makes it tougher. Players hardly get a couple of weeks in between these two grand slams. Before Wimbledon, the four tournaments that help players establish their feet on clay are the Gerry Weber Open, Aegon Championships London, Aegon Championships Eastbourne and the Topshelf Open. All the aforementioned tournaments are ATP 250 tournaments which are comparatively smaller to the ...

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Hypocrisy at the Pakistan Football Federation is killing our chances at FIFA!

Despite lack of infrastructure, no comprehensive grassroots program and a mediocre league, Pakistani football does have one major gain – foreign-based players. Throughout the globe, national teams opt to pick the best players no matter where in the world they are playing. In Asia alone, you can see glaring examples with world cup candidate Iran recruiting players such as Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham) and Daniel Davari (Grasshopper) from Germany to bolster their ranks. Similarly, Lebanon has done the same with a host of European-born Lebanese players opting to play for The Cedars on an international platform. As a result, Lebanon has reached the last round of the 2014 ...

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Is Carlo Ancelotti the greatest manager of all time?

Florentino Perez, Real Madrid fans and everybody connected to the club are breathing easy now. And why shouldn’t they? At long last, their tenth European title has been secured. The obsession for La Decima has been put to bed once and for all, after a dozen long years of hysteria. Real Madrid’s captain Iker Casillas and team celebrate with the trophy after defeating Atletico Madrid in their Champions League final. Photo: Reuters In 2002, Real Madrid marked their centenary year with their ninth European triumph. In the rain in Glasgow, Zinedine Zidane’s unforgettable volley sealed a 2-1 win over Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen. ...

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French open: Halep vs Sharapova and Djokovic vs Nadal, excitement galore!

Nine days ago, in my French Open preview blog, I wrote that Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova will be the main contenders for this year’s French open. As predicted, the decision of this year’s ladies championship will be finalised, at court Philippe Chatrier, when Halep and Sharapova will battle it out for the 2014 French open crown with prize money of 1.65 million Euros and 2000 ranking points at stake. This year’s French Open saw elite players crumble and the rise of a whole new generation of tennis players. For the ladies final, both Sharapova and Halep have played some ...

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Anti-FIFA graffiti in Brazil: Could Pakistan ever protest against cricket?

The first time the World Cup caught my interest was when the official theme song was being selected. The competition between Shakira, J-lo and Pitbull was worth following because no one could predict what the amazing musicians could have up their sleeves. Although I was utterly disappointed, when Pitbull and J-lo released their unimpressive and clichéd We Are One (Ole Ola) – which was eventually selected as the theme song of the tournament – Shakira’s powerful and colourful LaLaLa Brazil 2014 was refreshing enough. I still have it on my cell-phone. On repeat, might I add. This time, my attention was caught by the FIFA World Cup ...

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4 players who will be missed at the FIFA World Cup 2014

One of the greatest and highly anticipated sports event is about to kick off on June 12, with the host nation Brazil facing Croatia in the first match of the FIFA World Cup 2014. Participating teams have already started preparations ahead of the competition, with some European teams travelling to the Americas a few days beforehand, to get used to the warm weather conditions in Brazil. Coaches have announced their squads for the World Cup, comprising of the best and fittest 23 men – according to them, that is. However, there are some notable miss-outs from the squads being carried to Brazil. For ...

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Learn from the BCCI, Pakistan, don’t hate on it!

High school is all about hierarchy. You have the cool kids who set the trends and everyone else is a follower. And then you have the drama geeks, the science club and the kid with the braces and the asthma pump who watches as teams are picked and groups are made but he is left watching from the sidelines.  Welcome to the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Pakistan cricket team and the wonder of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). This year marks the seventh season of the IPL, six of which have excluded Pakistan. The BCCI has tactfully managed ...

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Will Louis van Gaal bring back Sir Alex Ferguson’s legacy?

Now that the euphoria of Louis van Gaal’s appointment as Manchester United’s new manager has evaporated, it is worth assessing the scale of the task he has at hand. After seeing the club encounter their worst run of form in a generation, the ruling Glazer family and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward decided to sack the hapless David Moyes. After weeks of speculation of his appointment, Van Gaal was finally confirmed as the new manager on May 19, 2014. However, he has plenty of work to do to bring the recently displaced English champions back to where they belong. Ryan Giggs (R) and David ...

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Tennis 101: French Open 2014

Under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, the world’s best tennis players are battling it out for the second grand slam of the year. The 2014 tournament is the 113th edition which will be held at Stade, Roland Garros. Both men and women have been competing at the French open since 1897 with mixed double added in 1907. Last year, the ‘King of Clay’, Rafael Nadal defeated country man David Ferrer in straight sets to claim his eighth French Open title while Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova to claim the women’s title. This year’s French Open, however, ended up disappointing tennis fans when Serena ...

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