Shocks and football go hand in hand with each other. They cannot be separated from one another no matter what.
The 2012 Summer Olympics have just justified my above claims as the football tournament at the Games have produced some breathtaking shocks and surprises that not even the greatest of football pundits could have predicted.
Here are the five best of them.
1. Ryan Giggs, Joe Allen and Craig Bellamy Snub the National Anthem
Okay, this might be an off-field situation but if did create a furore among the British media.
Welsh members of Team GB refused to sing the national anthem at their team’s group encounters against Senegal and UAE.
However, this act has not been quite accepted by the people with former javelin thrower and Olympic silver medalist Fatima Whitbread saying- ‘I think it’s a poor show if you are competing under a British flag and you don’t feel proud to be British’.
Giggs, on the other hand, has downplayed the incident stating that it is ‘personal opinion’ and has insisted that it makes no difference whether Great Britain’s Wales’ stars sing the national anthem at the Olympics.
In true judgment, it has to be said that the media has exaggerated the situation and it would be better off if they just concentrate on real football matters rather than criticizing the players who have been and are going to be pivotal for Team GB’s success.
2. Spain National Team
Spain is considered as the best football nation in the world right now.
Not only their senior team, but also their youth teams boast truckloads of talents who will eventually go on to become great starsin the future.
At the Olympics, Luis Milla’s team was expected to take home the prestigious gold medal and complete a historic summer for the La Roja, in which they have already won the Euro Cup and the U-19 European Championships.
However, and to the shock of almost all the football fans around the globe, the Spaniards have been humiliatingly knocked out of the London Games.
Yes, the same team that boasts the likes of Iker Muniain, Juan Mata, Jordi Alba, David De Gea, Cristian Tello, to name a few.
The world champions lost both of their first two group games against Japan and Honduras one nil with all the key players mentioned above failing to produce the required goods for their nation.
The key reason for Spain’s ouster was their inability to finish off great moves and plays orchestrated by their midfielders. This can be clearly seen from the fact that Milla’s team hit the woodworks three times in their game against Honduras.
Moreover, the world was yet again shown that possession football is of no use if you cannot outscore your opposition.
3. Senegal 2-0 Uruguay
Another favourites that failed to live up to their expectations were Uruguay in their second group game against Senegal.
The latter were not even seen good enough to qualify for the quarterfinals of the tournament, but are now joint leaders of Group B after defeating their South American opponents on Sunday.
Even though Senegal got reduced to ten men in the first half of the game,a well-struck brace from 19-year-old Moussa Konate was enough to break Uruguay’s 88-year unbeaten record at the Olympic Games.
La Celeste, like Spain, consisted of big-name players in their teams like Gaston Ramirez, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani among their ranks but failed to find the back of the net even on a single occasion with the latter two being completely marked out by Senegal’s robust and tough defenders.
Suarez and Co. will now face host nation and the most overrated team of the tournament Team GB on Wednesday in a game that could well be termed as a do-or-die encounter for both sides.
4. Japan National Team
Before the tournament had started, like Senegal, Japan too were considered to get knocked out in the group stage of the tournament.
However, after what one could say a shocking turn of events, Japan have gone on to qualify for the quarterfinals for the London Games even before the thrid mathweek with successive one nil wins against Spain and Morocco.
The Asian nation have without doubt been one of the most impressive sides of the tournament so far and it wouldn’t surprise me if they go on to win the bronze or even the silver medal this time around.
Yes, Japan do not possess the glittering and famous stars-of-the-future like Spain and Brazil, but the Blue Samurai surely have the required team unity, passion and confidence to overachieve at the most coveted sporting event in the world.
5. Neymar and Oscar
Admit it or not, Neymar and Oscar are surely two future Brazilian legends.
In the two games the Sambas have played so far, the duo have been in scintillating and exhilarating form for their nation.
The two have been the attacking hub for the South American giants, producing beautiful plays and creating numerous opportunities at goal for the five time world champions.
As overrated and overpriced they might be considered, the Olympics have surely proved us that both Neymar and Oscar are surely deserving of the plaudits that have been rained down on them in the past and in my opinion they both have been the two best players of the tournament so far.