Tuesday, January 11, 2011

India v/s Australia - a mismatch

Watching India v/s Australia lock horns at Qatar in the league stage of AFC-asia cup football was an ordeal. All the time I kept thinking that there was some problem with the transmission - all the Indian players seemed to be moving in slow motion. The ball was just sliding across, their passes were easily intercepted by vigilant Aussies.

Even in their wildest dreams, understandably, the players wouldn't have expected a win (given the disparity between the FIFA rankings, and going by history of football). Australia is rising fast on the football scene, and India is barely turning in sleep. We can talk forever about the physical strength, but as one of the commentators correctly pointed out: it doesn't necessarily take a physically strong side to put up a good show (pardon the cliche of David v/s Goliath etc). If the basics are right (passing, defending the set-pieces, etc etc) we could put up a far better show than last night. I guess by the time India got some rhythm going, they were already two goals behind. And as in any other sport, (more so for football - which is physically quite demanding) recovering deficit is very hard.

I am sure all this AFC 'stuff' is getting lost in the blaring music of IPL and upcoming world cup. Also, on the whole, Indians are more interested in watching football on TV (conveniently on lazy weekend evenings) and take pride in supporting Red Devils and who-not. In the land of cricket, I am sure football has been (and always will be?) a laggard. Unless it makes some headlines by winning some silverware internationally. Just like the Chak-De team did a few years back.

Until then, it's going to be a rough ride, pretty much reminding of the slo-mo torture of last night.

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