France won FIFA World Cup 2018!


Congratulation, France! It must be a very festive and joyful atmosphere now in France for it has just won the World Cup! It defeated Croatia 4-2 in the final held yesterday in Russia. France took the cup once again after 20 years as their last win in this prestigious tournament was back in 1998. This is their second win in the history of the tournament. Although losing in the final, but we should give a big round of applause to Croatia. It is a small country and has ranking much lower than its competitors in football, and yet managed to go through all the way to the final. It is already a wonderful achievement.

This marks the end of Russia 2018 World Cup. No more football fever or staying up late for the matches. I didn’t watch any of the matches this time unfortunately. I’m not that interested into football and the timing is not good (most of the matches are on late night or past midnight). I originally planned to watch the final but I couldn’t even do so as I was stuck in a traffic congestion on my way back to Singapore from KL last evening. I’m expecting to reach home at about 11pm just in time for the final, but I ended up reaching home at 1am. The match ends exactly at 1am.

In the history of the World Cup, only 8 countries have won before. They are Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina, France, Uruguay, England and Spain. They are all European countries. Asian countries just couldn’t perform to their level in this sport and I wonder why. Brazil won the cup for the most times at 5 while Germany and Italy are right behind at 4 wins. Germany which won the previous edition in 2014 got eliminated in the group stage this time to the surprise of everyone. Other powerhouse countries like the ones which have won before (mentioned above) also lost and none of them made it to the final besides France (which eventually won the cup).

France has just celebrated Bastille Day (National Day for France) on Saturday (14th July) and this World Cup win the next day is just simply amazing. Must be an awesome weekend for the French. With the World Cup 2018 now concluded, attention now slowly shifts to the next one which will be held at Qatar in 2022. Another 4 years to wait for all the football fans. Nevertheless, there are still many other football championships besides than World Cup to watch like UEFA Euro, etc.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

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Half of the year is gone, and so is the current on-going World Cup.


The month of June has ended and that means half of year 2018 is gone. Things come and go at lightning speed. I couldn’t believe that I have finished my thesis about 8 months ago, graduated in a beautiful ceremony at Perth and went for a trip to China 5 months ago, and have worked in this new office in Singapore for 2 months already. In no time or to be exact, just 6 months from now, we will bidding farewell to 2018. That is quick.

Half of the year is gone and so is the current on-going FIFA World Cup 2018. The round robin stage is over with all countries having gone through matches within their assigned group. One of the major shocking news is that the previous champion, Germany has lost at this stage to people’s disbelief. People are now talking about this champion’s curse whereby the previous winner will usually lost in the next edition. It happens to many countries in the history of the World Cup too coincidentally.

We are now in the knockout stage at round of 16 before proceeding to the quarterfinals. Famous teams like Portugal and Argentina failed to succeed here and that means a surprising early goodbye to famous footballers like Ronaldo and Messi. A lot of good teams were already eliminated. England looks to have a good path ahead to get closer to the podium, Brazil seems to be making a comeback and will not face Germany this time around, Sweden and Spain are strong teams so far, and the host nation, Russia is still in the game.

It looks likely that there will be only intense matches to come before its climatic final on 15th July. So far, I have not watched a single game of this once-in-a-four-years tournament as I have no particular excitement for it and also I do not have a lot of free time for it. I think I will be only watching the final. Anyway, I am still updating my blog here with some info about it since it is a prestigious and a very popular sporting event. When the tournament reaches the later stages, it’s time for some predictions.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Malaysia’s journey in Thomas Cup 2016 ended in semi-final.


Thomas Cup (and Uber Cup) arrived again. These two tournaments (Thomas for male and Uber for female) are one of the most prestigious badminton tournaments and they are held once in every two years concurrently. This year, both are held in China. The reason I’m paying attention to this is because Malaysia is in it for every editions of the tournaments since their inception.

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Malaysia lost out in earlier rounds in the group matches for the Uber Cup. That is expected since our girls team isn’t good all along. We just bank in on our boys team from the very beginning. So, I’ll just put my focus and a bit of my analysis and observation to Malaysia’s performance in Thomas Cup this year. In the earlier group matches, Malaysia won its opponents quite easily, including winning over South Korea. South Korea is now seen as one of the very strong countries in this particular sport and yet, Malaysia defeated them to my surprise. Hence, Malaysia topped the group and was to face Taiwan, a much easier opponent in quarter final.

We had no trouble going through that and then we made it to the semi final. Here, Malaysia was up against Denmark. It should be looking good for our side too especially when we had won the first two matches. We just need to win another match to score 3 points out of five planned matches. However, things started to get unfortunate for Malaysia from the third match onward. In first match, Lee Chong Wei won over Viktor Axelsen as predicted. However, this Denmark player gave Chong Wei a tough time but luckily, Chong Wei managed to win in two games of which their scores in both games were neck-to-neck.

The first men doubles pair, Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong also managed to make us proud by giving us a much needed second point. Then, the second single match arrived where disaster struck Malaysia. Iskandar is our player here and he had won in all his games previously in this tournament before this semi-final. He is over confident and was being too cocky after leading in the first few points. From there on, the opponent strikes back with good tactics and won over Iskandar in the end. I personally don’t like Iskandar’s attitude on court. He had to fix that up soon and he still lacks the experience needed. He must understand that only smashing will not help you to win.

Then, our second men doubles also disappointed us. Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong whom were once an excellent pair (been former world champion, former Asian Games champion, former Commonwealth Games champion) are getting old and tired already. They won first game easily but performed below expectation in the second and eventually in the rubber game as well. Finally, all hope was on Chong Wei Feng for the last match to determine which country will enter the final. Wei Feng was too slow and steady on his attacking, and he also made mistakes on net. Very obvious and careless mistakes, and he look like he has no ‘fire’ or energy at all even before he started playing. In the end, he got defeated. So, we won first two points but Denmark fought back hard to win the last three points. 3-2. Denmark won and get to proceed to the final which is scheduled to be held tomorrow. They are to face Indonesia. If Denmark win, this would be their first ever Thomas Cup victory.

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The sad face our our team’s captain, Lee Chong Wei shown on TV live with a glimpse of the Thomas Cup trophy on the left of the screen. There are still many things needed to be done to improve on our national badminton team, for both the boys and the girls. Denmark stunned me yesterday in the semi final with some excellent performance that I didn’t expect that could come out from them. They proved that an European country can still do very well in a sport favored in Asia. I was thinking that maybe Malaysia has chance to win the cup for the 6th time this year after we saw the surprising exit of China and South Korea in the quarter final. That hope went to an abrupt end in the semi final yesterday of which I did watch the matches live from YouTube. We have to accept the fact that we lost again and we have to move on. They did their best but certainly could be much better. So now, the next thing I’m looking forward to is seeing some of our players doing very well and winning a medal or two in Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games that will arrive in less than three months from now.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Malaysia in Sudirman Cup 2015: Great start but luck didn’t last any longer.


This year, the 14th Sudirman Cup is currently being held at Dongguan, China from 10th to 17th May 2015. It is a prestigious world mixed team badminton championship which takes place once every two years. There are five matches in every round: men and women’s singles, men and women’s doubles and mixed doubles. The Cup is named after Dick Sudirman, a former Indonesian badminton player and the founder of the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI). There is no prize money in Sudirman Cup and only a trophy to be won; players play for their respective countries and to earn BWF world ranking points and national prestige.

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Nations competing in Sudirman Cup 2015. Only teams in group 1 will have a chance to lift the trophy as the teams in other groups fight for promotion. The teams who finish last in the group will be relegated to the lower group, except the final group:

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How is Malaysia performing in the history of this tournament? Not good. Malaysia has never win this championship before. The best our country did was back in 2009 when we advanced to the semi-final. Just that. Not even a single final appearance in the history of Sudirman Cup. At least we have better records at Thomas Cup. And just like Thomas and Uber Cup, China won the most. They are indeed one super strong nation in this particular sport currently.

I’m particularly interested about the result of this Sudirman Cup 2015 recently, particularly from our Malaysian team as this also marked the return of Lee Chong Wei, our most credible men-single player to the sport after he was banned from playing for eight months due to a doping case last year in World Championship. And as usual, he delivered on all the matches and shown to the world that after a long break, he is still one tough opponent to challenge (besides than Chen Long and Lin Dan of course).

Earlier in the group stage, Malaysia surprisingly knocked down another badminton giant, South Korea by 3-2. I did watched parts of the matches, and I’m quite impressed by my country’s performance. Hey…we stand a chance at least to go to semi-final! South Korea is also unbelievably poor this time and delivered many mistakes and obvious weaknesses. I’m quite shocked that we defeated them. Next was India and we won them too by 3-2. This win is quite predictable.

Then, Malaysia advanced to the quarterfinal. Wait…this is a good sign for Malaysia. Let’s hope that we will be drawn to play against weaker opponent in the quarterfinal like Germany or Chinese Taipei. But, luck is not on our side. Malaysia was drawn to meet South Korea again of which the latter defeated India to get into Top 8 standing too. And so, in yesterday’s quarterfinal, Malaysia lost by 1-3, without the need for final match (mixed-doubles). Luck felt short for our country in the time when it mattered the most. South Korea had a successful revenge on us. And actually, the system is a bit wrong. How can we deal with the same opponent again? Badminton World Federation (BWF) have to look seriously into this matter and improve the tournament’s system.

To be honest with you, after my observation in these recent matches, I find that our boys have the potential to excel to further improve their skills. They always delivered the points for us. But certainly not the girls. Sorry, this is not gender discrimination but a fact. We lost in all of our matches in women categories in the tournament (don’t count the mixed doubles). And yea…only the woman in that mixed-double has some hope. The girls have to really look into themselves and work hard quickly to achieve at least a not so embarassing outcome like this. Not to be harsh to them, but please, all have to improve and should not only depend on Lee Chong Wei to give an almost absolute winning point. Even if that is so, Lee Chong Wei is getting older and his strength and momentum on court is decreasing eventually.

Hmm…when can we go back to our country’s golden era in badminton?

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Germany is the FIFA World Cup 2014 Champion!


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All eyes and cameras on Germany football team! A huge congratulation to them for winning the FIFA World Cup 2014! It appears that my predictions for the semi-final, third-place playoff and the final matches were all right. Wonderful. I guess now I can call myself quite a good forecaster. Haha…And my favourite team, Germany won in the end! Simply amazing! Do you know why I support Germany? I don’t know why. Ever since I started watching World Cup since 2002, I have been a silent (not crazy) fans of this country for no reason. But I guess I’m fated to be favoring Germany since my Chinese name (excluding my family name) if directly translated means ‘German language’.

So, the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament concluded with all the 64 matches taken place at this beautiful South American country. Out of the 64 matches, I only watched the last two; third-place playoff yesterday between the host nation, Brazil and Netherlands. Brazil delivers another lousy performance and that gave way for Netherlands to score three goals quite easily. Hence, Netherlands is the second runner-up. At least consolation to Netherlands which went into the final (but lost) in the previous edition back in 2010. Brazil team was sent home with quite another complete humiliation due to the two consecutive defeats on their home soil, the worst in the history of their games.

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Try again next time, Brazil. Now, it’s time for Germany to shine and celebrate! Even the iconic Statue of Christ the Redeemer at Rio de Janeiro, the city where the final match was held just now is brightly illuminated with colours resembling the German flag. The team must have made their country very proud of this achievement. This is now their fourth World Cup title (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014). The gap from the last time they won it is quite huge; 24 years! Finally, the prestigious trophy landed on their hands again! They astonishingly defeated Argentina at 1-0 in overtime match as both teams score nothing in the 90-minutes game, hence given extra 30 minutes to compete. And Germany finally scored a surprising goal at 113′ minute by Mario Gotze, few minutes before the extra-time is going to end too.

Germany v Argentina: 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final

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It was quite an intense and brilliant game just now. Both teams played very well, both in attack and defense. I can see it’s very hard to score even a goal as their levels are almost on-par. Hence, no goal for such a long time and most of the audiences were already emotionally-drained. There are some mistakes from both teams, but in the end, luck was still on German’s side before the need for the crucial penalty kicks. Argentina played very well, and Lionel Messi is superbly great as usual. But this is not the day for him unfortunately. So, Argentina is the first runner-up.

So now, Germany is the official champion of the just concluded FIFA World Cup 2014 held at Brazil from 12 June to 13 July. On the other hand, the individual winners are James Rodriguez from Colombia  for Top Scorer (6 goals), Lionel Messi from Argentina for Best Player, Paul Pogba from France as Best Young Player, and Manuel Neuer from Germany as Best Goalkeeper. Congratulation to them and the overall champion, Germany once again! The world is cheering on them! Wonderful game! It’s okay for me to sacrifice my sleep (it’s midnight here in Malaysia when the final match took place). See you for the next edition of the World Cup, Russia 2018!

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

It’s Germany VS Argentina in FIFA World Cup 2014’s Final!


Congratulations to both Germany and Argentina for winning their respective semi-final match. Both are now only one step away from the trophy, of which only one team could enjoy the fame of being crowned the champion in the end. Yes! The most anticipated football match, the FINAL of FIFA World Cup 2014 between Germany and Argentina will finally take place this Sunday (Monday’s early morning in Malaysia) at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I promised myself to watch that match (I skipped all the earlier matches).

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It’s quite a long journey to be able to reach to the final stage; from collecting points in preliminary rounds in respective group, to last 16 matches, then to Quarterfinal, and last but not least winning the Semifinal. There are 64 matches in total, of which by now, there are only two more remaining; of course the FINAL and also the third-placing match (Brazil vs. Netherlands). Well, the latter isn’t the focus as the furthest the winning team of the match can get is only to be named the second runner-up of the tournament. Final is the one that the whole world will be excited for.

On Tuesday’s night, the result of the first semi-final match between Germany and Brazil is the most shocking of the whole tournament. 7-1! Germany with a whopping seven goals while the host nation, Brazil had only one. The match has been described as the most humiliating and embarrassing play by the Brazil team sadly. I knew many were supporting Brazil, and even before the match took place, everyone is predicting 50-50 outcome. The two are strong countries in football and neck-to-neck result is expected. I didn’t watch that match, but waken up that day to hear that result is really surprising.

My favourite pick is Germany but I never thought that Brazil would be defeated to such scale. It’s already semifinal! Perhaps, there are three reasons why they ended up losing so badly on that match;

(1) absence of Neymar, a successful skillful player whom is admitted to hospital due to injury in earlier matches.

(2) mounting pressure as their country is the host of this tournament. The stadium is packed full of their supporters, and that could lead to extreme stress for the players wanting so much to get things right not to disappoint them.

(3) few earlier scored goals by the German team had easily dashed the hope of the Brazilian players and broken their mood and spirit to go on.

(4) poor defense and tactics from the Brazilian team, while German has their luck that day.

Well, the match is over, and Brazilian team has to move on too. Let’s hope that they won’t contribute that kind of lousy performance again in the third-placing match, and most importantly in future matches too. Football means so much to their country.

This 7-1 result has been the chat topic the whole day yesterday. That particular match has created such a worldwide buzz that it is also been recognized by Twitter as the most tweeted match in the history of the site. This is not the case for the other semi-final match between Argentina and Netherlands of which the result is not that surprising. Both score no goals, and in the end, Argentina prevails with 4-2 in penalty kicks. Nothing much to comment on this match.

So, time for my last prediction. For third-placing match between Brazil and Netherlands, my pick is Netherlands. They have done fairly well, and looking from Brazil’s extremely devastating performance in the semi-final, Netherlands has the advantage unless Brazil returned to their top form (but it’s a bit too late). And….for the FINAL, I guess 60% winning chance for Germany and 40% for Argentina. I’m still choosing Germany. A solid team. Both of them appeared in Final back in 1986 once (Argentina won) and also in 1990 (Germany won). This is their third encounter in FIFA World Cup Final. Who will win? Germany? Argentina? Hmm…Three more days to the FINAL! Ole…ole…ole…ole..ole! Ole!!! Ole!!!

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(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

FIFA World Cup 2014: 4 more matches to go!


Just about a month ago, everyone is very excited to wait for the arrival of the 64 football matches in the FIFA World Cup 2014. Now, the excitement is almost over as the tournament is ending soon. 60 matches had taken place, and now there are only four more before this edition of the World Cup held at Brazil concludes. Well, these last four matches would be the most intense, exciting and anticipating ones. Two semi-finals, one third-place match and lastly, the Grand Final.

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So, if you didn’t watch the recent matches or didn’t catch up with the tournament’s latest news, people may say that you are left behind in the time when everyone is literally talking about it. No worry, as I’m here to post some highlights of the World Cup too. Eventhough till now, I didn’t watch all the past matches, but I do get myself updated with the progress and result of the tournament day by day.

All the four quarter final matches had ended not long ago and now, the last four standing in the World Cup 2014 are Germany, Brazil, Netherlands and Argentina. Four strong teams. The first three teams are the ones that I have predicted earlier that should have no problem on advancing to semi-final stage. One interesting fact  is that Germany is the only country getting into the semi-final in four consecutive World Cup (from 2002 till now, 2014) in the history of the tournament. Amazing statistic. They have been playing solid and steady all the time. Hence, I’m rooting for Germany to win this year’s World Cup. What about your choice?

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I’m predicting that Germany will clash with Netherlands in the FINAL, which will take place at Rio de Janeiro on 13th July 2014. Netherlands had been very aggressive and outstanding recently. For me, this team is the ultimate dark horse. They are here to take revenge as they have lost to Spain in the previous World Cup (2010) in the Final. As for Brazil, I knew many are supporting this country. But I’m afraid that the stress of being also the host nation of the tournament will gives them mounting pressure. Hmm…Argentina, another strong team, but not seen as a favourite to lift the trophy.

Well, that’s my prediction. Since now the World Cup is entering the last few crucial matches, I think it shall be time for me to sleep early in some days and to take the effort to wake up early in the middle of the night to watch them. Countdown: 1 more week to the much anticipated FINAL MATCH, no matter which teams are playing. On the other hand, it’s also interesting to see that the Google celebrates and highlights this World Cup during the duration of the tournament with distinctive Google Doodle design everyday.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)