July 12, 2006

Soccer World Cup Wrapup

Now that the FIFA Soccer World Cup, the focus of much attention & discussion over the last few weeks, is over, it's time for a quick wrapup and then back to boring old baseball on TV!

The finals between Italy and France was a mediocre one but will be remembered due to the the Zidane head-butting incident (Now you can play the
Zidane-Head-Butting game!). I missed seeing the first two halves but caught the overtime, the head-butt, and the deciding penalty kicks thereafter...

So.. its Viva Italia... and we wait for 4 more years (I didn't realize
next one is in South Africa - they didnt even qualify this time - how do they get to host the next one!) before we see any soccer (MLS boredom notwithstanding) on American TV!!

Italy celebrates even as France mourns
Italy welcomes its heroes - Pictures from Rome

And expectedly, all news from France is around Zidane..

Zidane: still an enduring hero for French immigrants
Why France still loves Zidane
Materazzi admits to insulting Zidane
Materazzi 'wished death on Zidane's family'
Lipreaders brought in to decipher Materazzi's comments
Materazzi denies terrorist insult
Mad Materazzi
Zidane silent as Italy celebrates
How will Zidane be remembered?
Zidane the flawed genius Zidane the flawed genius departs world stage

And speaking of Thai football fans... read this!

Thai monks mix Buddha with Beckham
This article reminded me of a Bhutanese movie I recently taped on IFC.. I haven't seen the movie yet but seems really well made, based on the little I saw as it taped.

(Did you know that
Bhutan, a fascinating place to visit and often deemed the last Enchanting Eden on earth, (see the documentary the last Shangri-la), lived in isolation till recently. However, in the last 5 years, the Bhutanese king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck (known to me since I was in grade 5 as the youngest ever king of a country in the modern world, coming to power in 1972 at age 17. He recently celebrated his 50th birthday last year... buddhe ho gayein hum sab!!) has taken some drastic measures (Read: No blood, no coup; Bhutan king gives up power!), after giving up absolute power in 1998, has abdicated more and more of his powers, unveiled a new constitution, that even allows for his impeachment, announced elections in 2008, and has progressively led the country on a road to democracy. Due to changes made in the past 5-6 years, people now enjoy modern amenities like the TV & the troubles that come with it, and the country has also made a creditable foray into movie-making with a few really good movies so far! I had also picked up another good Bhutanese movie, Travellers and Magicians, from the public library but didn't get to see it either!)

Another interesting Bhutan-related movie is
The Other Final, which documents a football match involving Bhutan.

On the same day in 2002 as Germany and Brazil played in the World Cup Final in Japan,the national teams of Bhutan and Montserrat met in an official FIFA sanctioned, friendly match in Thimphu, the Bhutanese capital. Ranked at the very bottom of international soccer, they played strictly for the love of the game. The film (released in 2003) follows the two teams in their respective countries as they prepare for the match, travel to the stadium and play in the Other Final.

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