The 2014 FIFA World Cup has seen some of the most surprising results with big teams bowing out at the group stage and smaller teams causing huge upsets . In an exclusive chat with Aditi Tyagi of Zee Media, former Indian skipper Baichung Bhutia analysed the changing landscape of world football.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Going by the results so far at this World Cup, with big teams heading out, does it look like the world of football is changing?
Yes, it appears that way. Who would have though that World champions Spain would lose two matches and get knocked out. Also, England losing two matches and going out was not something we imagined. As things stand, either Italy or Uruguay will go out and Portugal`s condition is not great. This is also a good thing for world football as small teams are moving ahead. Costa Rica, Ecuador and other South American teams are doing well. Also the tournament is in South America so this is helping them.
A team like Costa Rica that was supposed to be the punching bag in the "Group of Death" has delivered the knock-out punch.
When the draw was out, nobody gave Costa Rica even one percent of chance. As you see now, they are the first team to make it to the Round of 16 when all of us thought they would be the first team to go out. That has been the beauty of this world cup, which is why is this turning out to be one of the best tournaments in recent memory.
The stats show that 77 goals have been scored so far in this World Cup. Some reports suggest it may be due to the new ball "Brazuca". Do you think so?
Well, it may be one of the reasons. I did have a look at the ball before the World Cup started. I felt it was too colorful. But the new synthetic cover on the ball defintiely helps in making better contact with the ball. But I feel teams are playing more attacking formation, which has led to so many goals.
Can you tell us a bit about the history of the Brazuca?
Yes, the Brazilian people were asked as to what should be the name of the official match ball and there was a contest to come up with this name. The quality of this ball is different. Players can get a good grip on the ball and make solid contact irrespective of the weather conditions.