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Home > Sports > > Football Fiesta > Specials

The Rediff Special/A Ganesh Nadar in Panickanadarkudieruppu

'When Zidane or Ronaldo miss, I'm very upset'

June 19, 2006

Mine is a small village in the Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu. There is a football ground in the school. On Sunday morning at 6 am a small group of people assemble to play football here -- youngsters and middle aged men.

The coach, referee and the final authority on all aspects of the game is George Hastings. He is a retired Physical Training teacher. What they lack in skill the players make up with enthusiasm. Most of them, of course, are following the World Cup with great interest.

Check out all our exciting World Cup slide shows

R Murugan's favourite team is Italy. "They are good stoppers of the ball. They never miss. They are very enthusiastic and sporting." He says Italians are decent players. They don't brawl during the game.

He has been following the World Cup since 1988. Another team he likes to watch is Brazil. While his favorite players are Ronaldo, Ronaldino and Zidane.

His family doesn't allow him to watch the 12.30 am game as it interferes with their sleep. "Even for the games in the evening I have to argue with my wife and daughter as they want to watch their serials."

Football Fiesta: A moment in the sun

D Selvaraj likes to watch all the games but his favourite teams are Brazil and Argentina. He feels the refereeing in the current World Cup is not up to standard. "In one match, they showed the ball touching a players' hand. If it was not for his hand it would have been a goal. This is not fair play."

S Rajendran watches as many games as possible but pays more attention to matches featuring Brazil, France and Germany as they are past winners of the World Cup. But what he is more thrilled about are the grounds where the matches are played.

"The ground is so good. Wonder how much money they spent on it? In our school ground we have to sit down and pull out the grass. Sometimes a particular part of the ground becomes full of ditches in the rain. Our school boys have to carry mud to level the ground."

Brazil is also the favorite team for R Subramaniam. "They are the best in passing the ball. There is no confusion like other teams."

Earlier, his hero was Maradona; now it is Ronaldino. "The other day I saw the Americans playing the Czechs. Just because they were losing the Americans kept kicking the ball out to waste time. Brazil and Argentina would never do that."

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J Augustine watches all the games irrespective of who is playing and is amazed at the spectator enthusiasm in the World Cup. "One week before the World Cup there was a friendly match. There was a crowd of 42,000 watching the game. Just imagine the interest in football."

On the other hand M Kadhar was very upset with the France-Switzerland match. "France was dull. The Swiss gave them a tough time. Zidane did not play his normal game, the passing was very good but the finishing was not."

"When a player misses a ball or a shot at the goal I am not disappointed. But when Zidane or Ronaldo miss I get very upset."

The world's greatest show not only keeps people happy in the cities but also in the small villages of India.

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