Every FIFA World Cup match is interesting enough to watch but to say frankly, not every match can be watched. One needs to prioritize, like I have done, like many others do.

So after the Spain and Holland match, the focus was fixed on the England Vs Italy fixture.

And in spite of being played in the extreme odd hours of the day, 3:30 to 5:30 AM India time (June 15), that pushed me to ignore it initially, the uplifting quality of the game lifted the spirit high enough to push the sleeping hours away and motivating and thrilling enough to share the moments with others.

It is how it unfolded for me, who happened to be a Cricket fan – my Twitter feed updates (minus Twitter modification of words):






©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


It was the next game of the ‘most interesting ones’ of the FIFA World Cup 2014, and for me, the stakes were even higher as I had to stay with my TV at that odd hour, i.e., 3:30 AM India time, and a dull show by both the teams or even a one-sided match would have made me question myself to stay awake till 5:30 AM when I had decided to go to bed around 3 AM.

Italy Vs England, the June 14 World Cup match (June 15, 3:30-5:30 AM India time) between the two former world champions, was an engaging affair till the last minute.

Yes, there were slack moments but were very few and can be ignored.

Four-time winner Italy and one-time winner England, two European Football giants, met each other and got to the business thoroughly professionally.

The ball was uniformly distributed on both sides. Defenses and attacks were at par. Players tried and they kept on trying till it was the time for the final whistle.

Marchisio scored first goal for Italy in 35th minute and England had their equaliser in just 2 minutes when Sturridge used Rooney’s pass to kick the ball in. ‘Super Mario’ Balotelli gave Italy lead again with his 50th minute goal that untimely proved to be Italy’s match winning goal.

Post it, England tried hard to equal the score and had more chances than Italy but, probably, it was not the day for England, as they missed all, including some heart-stopping moments.

First half was as good as the second half with a challenging fight between these two teams ranked 9th and 10th in the latest FIFA ranking.

Observations during and before a game that didn’t let me down for my decision to watch it at that odd hour of the morning:

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 14h
#EnglandvsItaly – #ITA win ovr #ENG 2-1. A game worth my time at this odd hour (even for me) (3:30-5:30 AM India time)

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 14h
#EnglandvsItaly – 90 mins – #ENG – #ITA 1-2, extra time begins, seems #ITA have it

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 14h
#EnglandvsItaly – #ENG-#ITA 1-2, did #Balotelli score winning goal for #ITA? #ENG charging but not able 2 convert

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 14h
#EnglandvsItaly – 75 mins into the match, worth my time so far (5 AM in India) – #ENG-#ITA 1-2

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 14h
#EnglandvsItaly – #ENG get 5th corner in 67th min but #ITA safe

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 14h
#EnglandvsItaly – #Rooney misses the post in a tense moment in 62nd min, #ITA the next min, #ENG again the next moment – what a game so far

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 14h
#EnglandvsItaly – #ENG mounting up to equal the score

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 14h
#EnglandvsItaly – 2nd #goal of #ITA by #MarioBalotelli came in 50th min

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 14h
#EnglandvsItaly – #ENG couldn’t convert the corner in 48th min – but #ITA score 2nd #goal the next min

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#EnglandvsItaly – 2nd half after the ‘worth your time’ 1st half begins

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#EnglandvsItaly – some heart stopping moments in extra time of 1st half – #ENG efficiently absorbed #ITA attack.

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#EnglandvsItaly – 1st half 1-1 – ball equally distributed – 2 good goals – thrilling moments-#ENG and #ITA live up to
#WorldCup, #WorldCup2014

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#EnglandvsItaly – #ENG equaliser came in 37th min by #Sturridge on #Rooney’s pass #WorldCup,

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#EnglandvsItaly – WOW – #ENG equal the score so soon!!

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#EnglandvsItaly – #ITA score 1st #goal by #Marchisio with corner in 35th min #WorldCup2014,

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#EnglandvsItaly – 1st 25 mins – #ENG – #ITA 0-0 – defenses, attacks: matching-#ENG missed close chances in 24th min

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#EnglandvsItaly – 1st 10 mins: both #ENG and #ITA on par – building up the game

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 16h
#EnglandvsItaly – another high stake #FIFA2014 game between #ENG and #ITA begins with #ENG having 1st close chance in 2nd min.

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 17h
#ISIS, #IraqWar n crisis, #Ukraine crisis, #Taliban spread, #AlQaeda resurgence and #WorldCup2014 celebrations: #Humanity’s paradoxes on swing

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 18h
#EnglandvsItaly – next big #FIFA2014 game. #ENG and #ITA meet in less than 2 hrs from now.

Next game in my prioritized list is Germany Vs Portugal at 9:30 PM India time tomorrow.

It’s time for some good moments, some quality TV viewing time..

Enjoy the game. You don’t need to be a soccer expert for it. Football was never my first love, yes, but the FIFA World Cup is different.

The motion, the action, the crowds, all so volatile, all so paced up, like the high-pitched notes of every type of foot-thumping music – its so charming, so loving, so captivating.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Yesterday (Brazil time or the local time – today early morning 12:30 AM India Time) was the first match of the FIFA World Cup 2014 all were waiting for – the first game between two equally tough challengers who were also the finalists of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa – where Spain emerged victorious over the Netherlands after scoring the lone goal of the match in the extra time and winning its first FIFA World Cup trophy – a game with some spectacular action was expected – but the end result was a mixed one with the Netherlands taking their game to an amazing ferocity in the second half while Spain completely lost the plot.

The first half was a true Spain Vs Netherlands fight.

The second half was Netherlands over Spain with no true fight on the ground and in the minds.

Observations during the game that kept everyone hooked:

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#SpainVsNetherlands – #Spain lost its 1st match 0-1 in 2010 and went over to win the WC. Can they pull back from a 1-5 loss?

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#SpainVsNetherlands – #Netherlands score amazing win over #Spain. Can Spain come back after this humiliating loss?

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#SpainVsNetherlands – 1st half was like the world champ Vs the runner up of 2010. 2nd half, #Netherlands decimate #Spain.

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#SpainVsNetherlands – can #Netherlands pull another 1?

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#SpainVsNetherlands -#Robben and #VanPersie, 2 goals each, give #Netherlands winning lead 5-1. 5 mins lft. #Spain now look resigned.

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#SpainVsNetherlands – 10 mins left, #Netherlands score 5th, #Spain looks completely lost

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#SpainVsNetherlands -#Netherlands score 4th one, # Spain hands over the goal to the Dutch. Spain looking lost at the moment.

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#SpainVsNetherlands – #Netherlands looking more charged up, score 3rd goal, keeping the ball more with them.

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#SpainVsNetherlands – #Netherlands missed just another one. #Spain, heat up the rains.

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h
#SpainVsNetherlands – #Robben’s goal gives the Dutch 1-2 lead. #Spain mounts up.

Santosh Chaubey @Toshch · 15h

#SpainVsNetherlands – the 1st #FIFA2014 challenger lives up to the expectations in the 1st half. Bravo! #Spain Vs #Netherlands like the 2010 WC final.

The 2nd such much awaited game is tomorrow, 3:30 AM India (today Brazil time) when Italy and England, the former two FIFA World Cup winners, meet up.

It’s time for some good moments, some quality TV viewing time..

Enjoy the game. You don’t need to be a soccer expert for it. Football was never my first love, yes, but the FIFA World Cup is different.

The motion, the action, the crowds, all so volatile, all so paced up, like the high-pitched notes of every type of foot-thumping music – its so charming, so loving, so captivating.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Going by the reports, the Goa government junket (of ministers and MLAs) to the FIFA World Cup is no more the Goa government ‘junket’. It stands cancelled / modified now.

Cancelled, as the trip will be funded by the ministers and the members of the Goa legislative assembly (MLAs) now in their personal capacity! Modified, as the trip is still on. But, anyway, that is just playing around the words.

The baseline is, the taxpayers’ money is not going to be wasted on this ‘pathetically’ conceived ‘exploratory study’ sort of tour.

Obviously, it came after its due share of humiliation and political manifestation that could have been easily avoided.

But given the past track record, and his good name (with the legend of being a chief minister who still drives his scooter), Mr. Manohar Parrikar should be given the benefit of doubt and should be duly thanked for listening to the voices and taking this ‘in time’ decision.

Yes, the trip is still on, but the Goa sports minister has withdrawn his name and four other BJP members and one independent MLA will pay from their pocket to enjoy the Brazilian hospitality.

So, we can say the junket has been junked, rightly and in time.

Whatever went into – the delayed conscience of a good human being-cum-politician-turned-chief minister Manohar Parrikar – or the BJP central leadership pressure with Narendra Modi on a ‘cleanliness’ drive – or the pressure of mounting criticism by media, social media, civil society and political opposition – the decision or the ‘U-turn’ by the Goa government after the strong defense by Mr. Parrikar came just a day later, yesterday – and therefore, Mr. Parrikar deserves to be thanked, even if he doesn’t come forward to clear his position.

I have been an admirer of him and was feeling bad while writing the satirical piece* on the junket day before yesterday. And therefore this decision just in a day has come as a personal relief.

Every prime minister is not as strong by his position as Narendra Modi is. Same can be said about chief ministers.

Manohar Parrikar is not as strong a chief minister by his position as J Jayalalitha or Mamata Banarjee or Naveen Patnaik is. And we should not be surprised if this whole ‘FIFA junket’ exercise was an imposed idea sort of thing that Mr. Parrikar could not ‘junk initially’.

But, ‘all’s that ends well’! It’s clear now.

And thanks for that Mr. Parrikar!


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


During the college days, I was a crazy cricket fan. Playing cricket, it was like day in, day out, whenever the time and the elders in the family allowed.

Though playing took backstage with increased academic rigour after the college, the interest remained, with watching cricket, on TV, in stands, discussing it at home and with friends, interspersed with playing cricket occasionally.

Soccer or Football, whatever we say, not going into the technicalities of the nomenclature, was not that much in demand.

Yes, we did play football but it could never replace the craze for cricket, until….until the cricket fixing big started taking centrestage.

But all this while, the FIFA World Cup was a standalone, unique event that even pushed to the background the cricket-run whenever the tournament was on.

The motion, the action, the crowds, all so volatile, all so paced up, like the high-pitched notes of every type of foot-thumping music – it has been so charming, so loving, and so captivating.

And the time is again here. FIFA World Cup begins tomorrow 1:30 AM India time. The host Brazil is to take on Croatia. The opening ceremony is underway (June 12).

Its time for some good moments, some quality TV viewing time..


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


“Goa wants to promote football in the state. These ministers will see what are the infrastructure is required, how crowd is controlled. Government considers this as an investment.”
Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister, Goa

Great! Bingo!

After all, our dear beloved, frugal-styled IIT educated engineer-turned-politician, is an Indian politicians.

So, today, he took on the ‘irrelevant’ opposition bravely and came out strongly in the support of his government’s trip (tour/study tour/junket/business tour – whatever you want to term it) to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Junket sounds good and is in vogue, so let’s use junket here.

Well done, Mr. Chief Minister of the state where Football has been declared the state game.

The eminent members of the group are a good mix to draw the maximum mileage out of the junket so as to ‘convert/modify’ the Football culture into a Brazilian extravaganza pepped up with a Brazilian version of the Rio Carnival.

The six members of the group include Goa’s Sports Minister, Fisheries Minister and Power Minister and three other members of the legislative assembly. The group composition has been formulated after much deliberation keeping in mind the intended outcomes.

The Fisheries Minister has been tasked to suggest fish types and other sea-foods to be included in the dietary regime of Goa soccer players to make them stronger and agile in order to make them globally competitive.

The Power Minister would come with a report on how to infuse more power into the playing style of Goa soccer players on the line of the Brazilian football culture, something that runs in every Brazilian’s vein.

Both of them would work in consultation with the Goa Sports Minister.

The other three members have been tasked to assess the cultural aspects like the craze for Football in Brazil’s popular culture and the associated liberating song and dance events.

Whom the report will finally be addressed was doubtful until now, but given his strong support today, the chief minister is going to the chief examiner of the report.

What a grand plan and in just Rs. 89 Lakh! Frugal! Sincere!

What a vision for a country that consistently ranks among the lowest in the FIFA ranking (146, the latest one) – a country that, going by its present state of affairs of Football, cannot, for decades, even think of qualifying for the main draw of the FIFA World Cup!

From the abyss to the Zenith – only a visionary can dare to scale directly from the low of Indian Football to the high of FIFA World Cup – and Indian Football has found that visionary in the Goa chief minister.

The task of the highly qualified members of the group who have been rightly given preference over sports professionals and administrative members of Goa’s sports fraternity is demanding we need to accept as they have just a week or so (10 days probably) to carry out visits, collect data, watching soccer in action, analysing the crowd management (as the CM says), analysing the Brazilian Football culture and ‘observing and assessing’ the associated cultural aspects.


What is heartening and encouraging is that an ‘alleged’ past failure on this line did not deter the chief minister. According to a report in the Times of India (June 12, 2014), a 2012 junket to England, with four members of Brazil group, sent to study the FIM World Motocross Championship to “explore the possibility of introducing motocross in Goa in a big way and also explore the possibility of hosting international motocross events in Goa in the future” (as the report says), has failed to produce any ‘tangible’ outcome with the state even losing the contract of hosting one round of FIM Motocross World Championship (as the report says).

But what a fighting spirit! The criticism didn’t discourage him. Mr. Chief Minister is back. And he would have certainly incorporated the elements from the learning into planning this one, as the available details (so far) tell us.

Bravo! Mr. Chief Minister! Keep it up!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –