All of Germany and their national team supporters broke into euphoria after the stunning winner by Mario Gotze as a tremendous World Cup came to an end.
But we aren’t interested in the football specifics here, are we?
After watching the many teams who played the WC, many similarities with cricket playing nations were noticeable. Here is a compilation of Football teams whose performance this WC and in recent times, has been very similar to the performances of some Cricketing nations.
1. Germany (Football) : India (Cricket)
This comparison is purely based on their performances in their recent respective World Cups only. While India’s campaign had some poor bowling performances, they were masked by consistent batting performances. Germany, meanwhile gained steam coming into the knock outs. Both the teams wanted to win the trophy for their legendary players; Sachin and Klose respectively. And they both do manage to win. It is quite a “klose” call, as in case the Germans had lost, their apt comparison would have been South Africa, due to their choking tendency.
2. Argentina (Football) : Pakistan (Cricket)
Though the presence of a “Godly” Messi could have made a better comparison with cricket contemporary Sachin, going by Argentina’s performance this time around, it would be better to compare with them to Pakistan as they both were pretty inconsistent and reliant on one person – Messi and in Pakistan’s case, Misbah. In spite of having a great forward attack and a brilliant bowling attack in the respective teams, they collectively could not bring out their best performance and were too reliant, too often, on their star players to bail them out of trouble.
3. Netherlands (Football) : New Zealand (Cricket)
Again, another call which could have gone some other way, but I decided to stick to Netherlands- New Zealand due to one reason – perennial underdogs.
Both teams are reasonably talented, but calling them favorites could be laughed upon. And yet they manage to bring out a few splendid performances in the biggest stage of the respective sports, with spirited and gritty play.
Well, going by Netherlands’ deep history of choking at the biggest stage, SA could have been an option. But the very fact that they weren’t expected to proceed further than group stage made me pick New Zealand as the apt comparison.
4. Brazil (Football) : Australia (Cricket)
Although their shirts are of a similar bright yellow hue, their comparison is, for the most part, based on the fact that both these once legendary teams are now in shambles (a year ago as far as Australia is concerned), and are currently in the process of rebuilding.
While Brazil’s 4th place doesn’t sound like a disaster, it is their embarrassing score lines for the last two matches that shout out their weaknesses. Australia’s low was established after losing back to back Ashes, and a 4-0 drubbing in India. While the latter hasn’t been as bad recently, the former football giants need to rebuild from scratch.
5. England (Football) : England (Cricket)
Both of them know how it feels to be outplayed in their own-invented (?) game.
Both these teams have similar connections: Talented prodigies, media scapegoats and players who never face the axe and with the amount of media attention they attract, the Brits almost always go into every tournament as favorites and, well, come out disappointing.
by Kaushik Narayanan