Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup

The Famous and most loved game: football started who is going to win?


Dear Rebecca, this is MW, thank you for your question, the answer is: yes, Africa, and I'll explain you how.

In 80 years, up to now the World Cup has only travelled two continents: 9 times to South America (5 Brazil, 2 Uruguay, 2 Argentina) and 9 times to Europe (4 Italy, 3 Germany, 1 England, 1 France). It is high time that it goes to a third continent which in the past three decades has given so much to world football. This time a record six teams from Africa are playing:

- South Africa, or Bafana Bafana, have the advantage of playing with home support and their terribly noisy vuvuzelas, but they face a though competition in their group with France, Uruguay and Mexico, with whom they already drew on the opening day, which is good but frankly the team is not the best in the world (most of them play in South Africa and have little international experience), although their coach Parreira is Brazilian and therefore you can be sure he knows a couple of things about football!

- Nigeria, or the Super Eagles, have a better tradition in football (although they currently only rank #21 in Africa), some very good players (all of them playing in Europe, look out for Odiah and Martins [pictured] and, oddly enough, all their three goalkeepers play in Israel) and a relatively easier group except for Argentina, which will almost certainly go through. South Korea may represent a problem but Greece should be easy game.

- Ghana, or the Black Stars, have a good tradition too in African football: only Egypt is currently in better shape (but did not qualify). Look out for Inter Milan new star Muntari. They are in a though group with Germany, Australia and Serbia: funny, for Ghana's coach is Serbian! Germany will almost certainly go through, therefore Ghana will have to dispute second place in the group with Australia and Serbia. Not an easy task.

- Ivory Coast, or the Elephants, with a respectable tradition in African football and several "European" stars such as Tourè and Drogba (pictured) and very experienced coach Eriksson, but a terrible group: as for North Korea, consider them already home, but the other two are very bad news: Brazil and Portugal...

- Cameroon, or the Indomitable Lions, are historically the most successful African team, having been the first to reach the quarter-finals (in 1990), an achievement only accomplished again by Senegal in 2002. Up to now these have been the best results for Africa in the World Cup. Their captain is superstar Eto'o, the most decorated African player of all time, last year he won everything in Europe with Barcelona and this year again he won everything in Europe with Inter Milan. Cameroon are my favourite to go through: they face a relatively easy game with Japan and a quite difficult game with strong Netherlands, therefore it is extremely important that they beat Denmark.

- Algeria, or the Desert Foxes, despite their success in recent years they are not the best team on the pitch: in their group they have a good chance with Slovenia but it will be hard with England and the United States, favourites to go through. Pictured, not very happy for this sad situation, is their captain Yahia.

KEY MATCHES. In sum: best chances are for Cameroon if they beat Denmark, then Nigeria if they beat South Korea, then South Africa if they beat France (which I strongly hope as the French did not deserve to qualify with an invalid goal against Ireland), then Ghana if they beat both Serbia and Australia. Little chances for Algeria and Ivory Coast.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Assuming that all the African teams finish the group stage in second place, from 26th June they will be playing by direct elimination the winners of other groups. This is a possible scenario:

Mexico - Nigeria. Mexico is strong but not impossible, 50/50 chance for Nigeria.

Argentina - South Africa. I'm afraid this is very hard: blow your vuvuzelas!

England (or USA) - Ghana. Let's hope the USA win their group: it will be easier than facing England.

Germany - Algeria. No match, Algeria out.

Italy - Cameroon. Don't take the result for granted: in 1982, when Italy ended up World Champions, in the group stage Cameroon surprisingly drew 1-1 with us Azzurri, and since then they grew a lot. Cameroon have a chance!

Netherlands - Paraguay. Netherlands will probably go through.

Spain - Ivory Coast. No way, Ivory Coast out

Brazil - Chile. Obviously, best chances for Brazil

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Assuming that four African teams out of six go through to the quarter-finals (including South Africa beating Argentina!), from 2nd July the possible scenario is:

Nigeria - South Africa. If tha Bafana Bafana reach this stage (unlikely because of Argentina), I don't see why they cannot beat Nigeria. More likely, I'm afraid, that Argentina will knock out both South Africa and Nigeria.

Germany - Ghana. Only if Ghana beat either England or the USA in the previous stage. In this case they have some chances with Germany, but more likely, I'm afraid, a repeat of World War II between Germany and England.

Cameroon - Netherlands. Only if Cameroon beat Italy, and that means that they can beat Netherlands as well.

Spain - Brazil. On 3rd July, one of the best matches of the World Cup. I'm for Spain as Brazil have already won 5 World Cups against Italy's 4, and they are hosting the 2014 World Cup, which means they could become unreachable at 7-4.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? On 6th and 7th July for the first time in history an African team may reach the World Cup semi-finals! Let's sum up the possible scenarios: twelve teams are left out of the original 32, and four of them are African.

Argentina OR Nigeria OR South Africa VS Germany OR Ghana OR England OR Usa

Cameroon OR Netherlands OR Italy VS Brazil OR Spain

In this fantasy game we are for Africa, which means:

Nigeria OR South Africa VS Ghana. My money's on Ghana

Cameroon VS Brazil OR Spain. Go Cameroon!

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? THE FINAL !!! (on 11th July at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, pictured) 

Who's gonna win the World Cup? Cameroon or Ghana? I really don't know!, but one thing is for sure: either case it will be Africa :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Italian (and French) lesson #5

«E allora balliamo». È l’invito di Stromae, vero nome Paul van Haver, cantante e musicista belga che sta imperversando in tutta Europa. Numero uno in Francia, Olanda, Grecia, Germania, Austria, Svizzera, Danimarca e Belgio, «Alors on danse» è il video più trasmesso in Italia e al secondo posto delle più scaricata (legalmente) dopo settimane al numero uno. Un tormentone costruito attorno a tre elementi: un ritmo ipnotico, un violino che sembra uno strumento etnico, un cantato quasi rap che elenca una serie di problemi, da quelli di cuore a quelli finanziari a quelli della fame nel mondo... Corriere

Translation into Italian:

Allora balliamo...

chi dice studio dice lavoro
chi dice lavoro dice soldi
chi dice denaro dice spese
chi dice fido dice debito
chi dice debito ti dice ufficiale giudiziario
chi dice seduti nella merda
chi dice amore dice bambini
dice sempre e poi divorzia
dhi dice parenti ti dice lutto perché i problemi non vengono soli
Chi dice crisi, dice mondo, dice fame, dice terzo-mondo
chi dice fatica dice sveglia ancora sordo alla vigilia
allora usciamo per dimenticare tutti i problemi

allora balliamo...

E ora ti dici che è finita perché peggio di così ci sarebbe la morte
quando infine credi che ce la farai, quando pensi non ce ne sia più ce n'è ancora
La musica oppure i problemi, i problemi oppure la musica
Ti prende l'ansia, la testa e poi preghi perché finisca
ma è il tuo corpo non è il cielo e allora non ti tappi più le orecchie
E gridi ancora più forte, ma questa sensazione non desiste

allora cantiamo
Lalalalalala, Lalalalalala...

E poi solo quando è finito, allora balliamo
e ce n'è ancora