Spain wins UEFA Euro 2008

Spain’s wait for a major success is finally over as they end the 44 years barren run with a 1-0 win over Germany in the Euro 2008 finals in Vienna. Fernando Torres provided the only goal after 33 minutes. They started out as favorites and justified their status as among the best in Europe. They played well, rose to the occasion and beat Germany convincingly in the finals to be the champions. I was disappointed by Germany as they failed to score a goal even with a bunch of good attacking players. They looked out of ideas and weren’t in high tempo. Spain were much better and played some good football and were the deserving winners.

With this the Euro 2008 also comes to and end, and which means I can now sleep on time, which wasn’t the case ever since the Euro had started, thanks to the late kick-off timings here in India. But it was worth it I guess. We saw some great football action, some new talented players rose to the limelight, some disappointed, but in the end the football fan enjoyed what was a memorable Euro Cup. I missed England a lot. The likes of Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard not present in a major tournament is a bit of a turn off, but Russia, who thumped England to reach the tournament, justified their qualification by plaing some outstand football, and beating the favorites Netherlands convincingly. Marvo Van Basten’s side played some good attacking football themselves before being outclassed and outplayed by Russia. France had a miserable time and they need to give a hard look down the line to see where they were wrong. Italy had a decent run until they lost out to Spain on penalties. Portugal too were favorites to win it but couldn’t get past Germany. Germany on the other hand were not really in good form in the tournament but still managed to get into the finals. Turkey were the kind of comebacks as they played some thrilling football and managed to get into the quarter-finals. Croatia were again very good, and they deserved to play in the quarter-finals, but couldn’t do so.

Players wise we saw some good crop of talented players. Russian duo of Roman Pavlyuchenko and Andrei Arshavin emerged as a great force for Russia’s success. David Villa was the top scorer in the tournament and was a player to watch for Spain. Ruud van Nistelrooy was still in best of form and played some good football. There were some big disappointments as well. The French team dissappointed big time. Much was expected from Karim Benzema but he couldn’t do much on the field. Theiry Henry too didn’t make a big impact for the French. Frank Ribéry was somewhat better for Les Blues. Fàbregas played outstanding for Spain, he was a player who deserved to play in the finals. There were still a lot of other players who played their part, like the Turks, the Croatians, they all played some superb football, and got some glory for their teams. But in the end there is only one winner and that was Spain.

So now no football for a while now, until August when the new season of English Premier League kicks off, which promises to be a even more action packed than the last season. Will write a preview for the season, so watch this space.


In memory of people who died in Formula One

I was casually browsing Youtube when I found a video of the news report on the day when Ayrton Senna died. Everyone remembers that on May 1, 1994, the Formula One triple world champion Ayrton Senna died in a crash that occurred while he was leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, but only a few know that another Formula One driver died in the same grand prix a day earlier on Saturday 30 April, 1994, during the qualifying. It was Roland Ratzenberger who died in the high speed crash he had which resulted in his death. But Senna’s death overshadowed Ratzenberger, and still today not many people know the fact that 2 Formula One drivers died in the same grand prix event making the darkest day in the history of Formula One racing.

Ayrton Senna died the following day. According to Wikipedia “When track officials examined the wreckage of Senna’s racing car, they found a furled Austrian flag. Senna had planned to raise it after winning the race, in honour of Ratzenberger.” Such a tragic incident really, makes you feel very sad about it.

Ratzenberger was doing 314.9 km/h when his car struck the wall. The cause of his death according to Wikipedia “Suffering front wing-damage on the previous lap, the high speed on the backstraight, and therefore high wind pressure, finally broke the wing off, sending it under Ratzenberger’s car. His car failed to turn into the Villeneuve Corner and struck the outside wall at 314.9 km/h. After the car carried on down the track, spinning around and stopping at the next corner, Ratzenberger’s lolling head was revealed; he had clearly broken his neck. The cause of death was a basal skull fracture.” On February 18, 2001 NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt also had a similar injury at the 2001 Daytona 500 when he had a high speed crash and died because of serious injuries.

The double tragedy was marked before the start of the next race in Monaco, with the front row of the grid left empty and the two slots painted with a Brazilian and Austrian flag. Although Formula One cars are a lot safer, thanks to the San Marino tragedy, and even after a high speed crash, the drivers survive the accident. But we still remember the drivers we have lost in motor racing. May their soul rest in peace…


UEFA Euro 2008 Preview

UEFA EURO 2008 Logo

A SportZForumZ exclusive Report, by Varun K R:-

So after a big wait of 4 years, the Euro is back! Something that always lives up to the hype it gets, it’s also one of the tournaments where amazing football is on display, probably because of the fact that one bad game could mean another 4 year wait!


Manchester United are the Champions League winners

“YESSS!!!” I must have scremed, yelled, shouted and whispered this word uncountable times tonight, and what a memorable night it has truly been. Manchester United has won the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. United deservingly won the trophy and did a double, winning the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League. And the only goal for United coming from that boy Ronaldo. What a season he’s had. United dominated the first half, and just before half-time conceded a goal which was unlucky. And it stayed level in the extra time period to go into a penalty shootout, which was very nervy, but it was Manchester United who came on top and they are now the champions of England and the champions of Europe!!!

Didier Drogba justified why I hate him so much. He’s such a jerk. You cant just get into such a mess and expect to walk out. I’m sure he has played his last game in a Chelsea shirt. The nail biter of a shootout it was, which I spent clinching my United badge on the shirt the entire shootout, kissing it every time we scored the penalty, and all hell let loose when Edwin van der Sar stopped the spot kick from Anelka to win the trophy for United, sending me into a wild celebration. Its been a great display from the team in the whole season. What makes it so special is the fact that its Forty years after first winning the European Cup at Wembley in 1968, and 50 years since the Munich tragedy. Ryan Giggs overtook Sir Bobby Charlton’s appearance record to make his 759th appearance for United. Paul Scholes who missed the final last time in 1999, started the game, and even after taking a blow and bleeding during an incident in the first half, continued and was a big factor in the first half. United dominated the first half, but Chelsea came back strongly in the second. United then again were the better side in the extra time and deservingly won the penalty shootout.

Its been a memorable season, a season which started very slowly, with goals hard to come by initially, but then the solid defensive displays all over the season combined with the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United got the double and underlined the statement that why they are the Champions. Sir Alex deserves it more than anyone, he’s been absolute solid personality, leading the team to this glorious night. Just a single European success didn’t reflect the true genius that he is. This team is truly among the best United has had and could well go on to become the best ever if they continue to show the character and grit during the last couple of seasons and build on the solid team we have. This team can go on to become the biggest and strongest team in Europe, which they already are, and for a long long time.

Games General Movies Music Sports

Missing for 2 months

My last post was on 14th February, and today is 14th April. 2 months since I last posted something on my blog, so in case people are wondering where I was, well I was just a bit lazy maybe, and I didn’t find/think much to write about. But just to fill that void, here is the first post in two months. So what did I do all this time? Well pretty much the same old stuff, office, gaming, music, movies, sleep. I’ll start with the movies I saw, so I’ll start off with Race

Race Review
Race was a good movie, I liked the cinematography, the performances of the main starts, and for its music. The plot had too many twists in it, and for once you did feel like what was going on. That said, its a good watch, and worth the penny. The car race in the end of the movie was pretty good. Saif Ali Khan was very good, and Akshaye Khanna was even better. His performance was very impressive. The same can’t be said about the girls though, I felt Bipasha was somewhat off in the film. Didn’t impress me much, neither did Katrina Kaif, infact she rarely does impress me. Sameera Reddy’s role was small, and she was only used for being the center of the jokes from Anil Kapoor, who himself was pretty much ok in the movie. Music was the strength of the movie, and some of the tracks are really very good. Overall a good and entertaining movie with lot of style and substance.
Rating: 7.5/10

Sunday Review
Then I saw Sunday, a little late, it was a ok movie, not great, but the suspense factor with some comic scenes saves the movie. Ajay Devgan gives an ok performance, Ayesha Takia, was good. The plot was main strength of the movie. Arshad Warsi and Irfan also did a good job in their comical roles. Vrajesh Hirjee was also a nice character in the movie. The starting scene of his was pretty awesome. Anjana Sukhani looks very pretty. Music wise, other than the title track not much was there in the movie. So overall its an ok watch.
Rating: 7/10

Shaurya Review
I went to this movie, with no clue whatsoever about the movie. Which is quite rare for me, as I usually have something in mind as to what to expect from a movie, but this was a different case. The movie was good but had some flaws in it, but not that big to make it a disaster. Acting was the main strength here, and Rahul Bose, Kay Kay Menon, Javed Jaffrey and Minissha Lamba all did a good job. Minissha Lamba looks very good, and acts very well too. Kay Kay Menon gives a solid performance, especially in the end. Rahul Bose was ok, Javed Jaffrey was in a different role, much different from the comic roles we have seen him in recently, and was quite fine. Music wise not many songs in the movie, but one song was very good. The guy who played the role of Javed was very good, his expressions were very good and impressive. Overall its a nice movie and delivers the message it wants to give. Flaws wise, the movie could have been better on some occasions, especially the build up to the whole story.
Rating: 7.5/10

Juno Review
Juno is a comedy about a 16 year-old who gets pregnant. Ellen Page plays the role of Juno, with Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman also starring. Its a very fine made movie, and Ellen Page gives a great performance. Its a great performance for a 21 year-old, and she was nearly flawless in the movie. Michael Cera wasn’t much in the movie, but was pretty ok. The direction was pretty good, and I liked the simplicity of things. Overall its a very good movie with Ellen Page taking the center stage and delivering a great performance. A good watch.
Rating: 8/10

So thats all about the movies, now for some music. Well not much to write about in here, but recently I’ve been listening to 2 albums quite a lot: Jannat and Tashan.

Jannat Music Review
Pritam makes another musical hit for Bhatts. After some great music in movies like Gangster, Woh Lamhe and Awarapan for Bhatts Pritam gives another album with great music. The first track, “Zara Sa” is a lovely track with the main tune capturing the mind of the listeners. Its superbly done, and KK always sings such songs beautifully. Then the song “Judai” was another good song in the album. Sung, written and composed by Kamran Ahmed, its a nice song, well sung by Ahmed. ‘Door Naa’ is a somewhat slow paced track, but its pretty good. Lots of areas where the song really grab your attention. The other songs were good as well, but the ones I mentioned were my picks from the album.
Rating: 8/10

I have done music review of Tashan separately. Please click here to read it.
Apart from these two albums, I got some Elvis Presley albums which I’ll listen to. I’m also listening to some old tracks as well for a change.

After music, its time about some gaming. Well pretty much the usual gaming, FIFA 08, Need for Speed: Most Wanted. But I played a new game, Aliens versus Predator 2 and its expansion pack Aliens versus Predator 2: Primal Hunt. I like the AvP franchisee so this game was surely I wanted to play. It lets you play as the Alien, as the predator or as a marine soldier. I completed the Predator levels in the game and its expansion pack. I started the Alien campaign as well and completed some half of it. Its a pretty good FPS and AvP fans will love it. Its kinda old, released in 2001, so the graphics look like of old games, but it still is very good to look.

Now about some sports. I haven’t played much football over the last few weeks, but Manchester United has been putting up some good performances, and so was Ferrari. Manchester United entered the semifinal of the UEFA Champions League and is also comfortably on top of the Barclays Premier League to retain their title this season as well. Ferrari got a 1-2 in Bahrain as Massa took the win after some forgettable first two races.

So that was my update about the last 2 months. Hopefully there won’t be another gap between the next post.


Kimi Raikkonen is the 2007 Formula One World Champion

Kimi Raikkonen won the Brazilian GP to win the 2007 Formula One World Championship by just a single point! F1 hasn’t been so closely fought over the recent years, and it was a fitting finale to a dramatic and eventful season. I’m glad I saw the race, exiting from start to finish.

Lewis Hamilton got so close to winning it, and even Alonso, but for Kimi to take the title eventually by a point’s margin. It must be said still that Hamilton came on the verge of making history by winning a F1 world championship in his maiden attempt, he still created waves nevertheless and it hit Fernando Alonso as well. I don’t quite imagine that I will see Alonso in McLaren next season. Its going to be tough for the relationship that he has with McLaren to get better and last another season. Anyways its Ferrari’s day and it was a fabulous teamwork in the end which saw them winning the crown. Kimi’s in-laps for that final pitstop made all the difference. Those scorching laps gave him enough gap over Massa that he could just come out ahead of the Brazilian to win the race. Some might want to call it a team order, but I don’t quite think so, it was Kimi’s pace rather than anything else which won it for him. I do feel for Massa that he couldn’t win the home Grand Prix again, but then I’m sure he will get more chances for that. Kimi deservingly won the title and after all those heartbreaking season at McLaren he won it with Ferrari in his first attempt. And also I think that the first corner of the race defined a lot of things, but ultimately it was the gearbox problems which ruined the day for Lewis. I’m sure he must be feeling bad about that but still his achievements have been far more impressive. Rosberg, Kubica and Heidfeld too had a great battle of their own for the fourth place. It was Rosberg’s best finish till date. Kubica and Heidfeld were as always consistent and BMW finishes as the runners up in the championship. I must admit its a great achievement for the team.

It was a really memorable season and certainly provided a lot of excitement, be it the spy scandal, be it Lewis Hamilton or be it anything. F1 wins in the end as still being among the most exiting sport.

General Sports

TouchLine – India’s first football magazine

Its a great day for Indian football fans, they finally have a football magazine which they can call their own. Its an e-magazine, free, and for everyone out there who loves football. So go ahead and grab your copy now



McLaren hit by constructors’ ban

The Spy Saga finally comes to a close with a decision finally out (Read my earlier blog post regarding the issue) :
“McLaren have been excluded from the 2007 constructors’ championship and fined US$100 million following Thursday’s FIA World Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris. Drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton have not been penalized and are free to continue their fight for the drivers’ title.”

Now I’m sure a lot of people will have different opinion on this issue, some will strongly agree (primarily Ferrari fans) and some will strongly disagree (primarily McLaren fans). And I won’t be surprised to see someone accusing FIA of favoring Ferrari, like Stewart did a few days back. But the thing is pretty simple, FIA has had some evidence in this case and thats what prompted such a decision. Formula One is not an easy sport, a lot of money is involved here, and a fortune is spent on the car’s development, and if someone takes that information from you in an unfair fashion, you have all the right to contest it in court and claim justice. Now how much did McLaren benefit from the documents they got? I have no idea, but FIA certainly has, no wonder they have made this decision, so if McLaren were found guilty of something, only then FIA has taken such a step.

The most important thing against McLaren was that there was evidence that the information was passed onto McLaren, but in the last hearing it was not proved on “lack of evidence” grounds, but it was clearly mentioned that if in future any further evidence is found, the issue will be again brought up into the court, and now it has. Since there were some evidence that some communication was done by Coughlan with McLaren drivers, so this might have been a big cause of this decision, and maybe even something which we don’t know yet.

Anyways, the issue will be more clearly be in news over the next days, but those you are still willing to contest this decision, I have a question for you. If you were Ferrari and carrying out car development work costing millions of dollars, and you come to know that your biggest competitor has the information, what would you do? I think your answer will be pretty much be the same as what FIA has.

Exclusion from the championship was quite an obvious thing, but I believe that the financial penalty is a bit too harsh. Its too big a money, and although its not what McLaren will have to pay, they’ll still get the television money and will pay somewhere around £25m. The issue will be more transparent when the full report comes out on Friday, and I’m sure there is something in it, which we don’t know yet. Ron Dennis is not happy ofcourse, and its really going to dent the McLaren image. But then its F1, the world moves on as fast as the F1 cars. The drivers’ championship is still in McLaren’s hands, and it was always the case to be, FIA wouldn’t have imposed any penalty to the drivers’, and this had to be the result. So now its all on the final four races, who will win the title…Alonso or Hamilton, in either case, McLaren retains the #1 badge next season, and is the winner.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – A Legend

“Beckham… into Sheringham… and Solskjær has won it!”
these words from Clive Tyldesley during the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final are forever going to remind us of the great night at Camp Nou in Barcelona on 26 May 1999. Manchester United won the European Cup and sealed a Treble season. All thanks to one man…Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The legend now retires from football, but he will be always remembered and missed at Old Trafford.


Its a Red Sunday!

It was a great Sunday! Lots of sports action, it started off with the Turkish Formula 1 Grand Prix and ended with the Manchester United v Tottenham Premier League match. Ferrari was looking good at Istanbul for a win, and they did win the race. A much needed win, Massa really drove a great race to win his second Turkish Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen too drove superbly and was able to match Felipe all the time. Hamilton finally ran out of some luck and suffered a tyre puncture which dropped him off the podium and he eventually finished 5th. It was a great result for the Ferrari team and they have now closed the gap to just 11 points from McLaren in the constructors championship.

Manchester United finally won their first match of the season at Old Trafford, playing home to Tottenham Hotspur. United were 19th before this match, and were desperately looking for a win after a disappointing start to the new season. There was still no sign of Saha or Anderson, but Hargreaves did start the match. It was goal less at the halftime, but Nani then struck a beauty to give United the vital lead in the match. Spurs were sharp and were constantly attacking, but United held onto the lead. Spurs came close to scoring in the first minute itself, when Robbie Keane hit a dropping shot only to hit the crossbar. Spurs had to penalties turned down, one which was quite close when Wes Brown cleared the ball with is chest, which appeared to have touched his hands. Anyways United went on to register their first win of the season, and with Saha and Anderson fit, United have something to cheer upon.

All in all a great day for Reds.