Group A is the only one with 2 FIFA World Cup winners, in France and Uruguay. Uruguay who won in 1930 and 1938, and have never impressed, thereafter. Mexico, in fact, have been more dominant than Uruguay, on the world stage, with several FIFA WC appearances.
France, of course, were the winners in 2002, and are the best of the group, though their controversial qualification dominated the headlines, recently. Nothing much is expected of the fourth team, South Africa, whose best claim to fame is as hosts to the tournament.
France have an all-win record of three matches, against South Africa, in 2 friendlies in 1997 and 2000, and 2002
Germany’s 6th place in the FIFA world rankings does scant justice to their pedigree and record that includes three World Cups won, in 17 appearances, the last one coming in 1990. But Germany’s history in recent years has been a case of missed opportunities, whether at World Cups 2006 and 2002, or at Euro 2008.
In the qualifiers, however, the European giants performed to potential, twice putting it across Russia, apart from dismissing Wales, Liechtenstein and Azarbaijan.
The man to watch is Miroslav Klose, a crafty striker, with a prolific scoring record. Pudolski, midfielder-cum-striker, is another great prospect. Tragically, Germany have lost their star midfielder and captain, Michael Ballack, to injury, on the eve of the World Cup. They have another talented midfielder in Bastian Schweinsteiger, who will be under greater pressure of expectation, in Ballack’s absence. They also have a great defender in Phillip Lahm. But German fans will lament the absence of Torsten Frings, from the line-up.
However, Germany should have little trouble heading their group D, the other teams being Serbia, Ghana and Australia. In fact, Germany hold a record of sorts, of not losing a single group game, from 1986 onwards.
Their first real challenge should be in the quarter-final, in the form of Argentina. If they survive Argentina, Germany are likely to run into Italy, in the semi-final. In Ballack’s absence, Germany seem beset by an unsurmountable problem. But don’t write them off; like true champions, they are given to rising to the big occasions.
Suresh Iyer is an avid sports fan and blogger. His new blog on sports is fast becoming popular, as it is backed by comprehensive knowledge and research.
Ten sportsmen and women from across the United Kingdom and from nine very different sports, make up the shortlist for BBC Sports Personality Of The Year 2009, BBC One, Sunday 13 December, 7.00-9.00pm.
The live event will be held at the Sheffield Arena for the first time and is a sell-out with around 11,000 people attending, making it the biggest Sports Personality ever.
The shortlist (in alphabetical order) is:
These 10 sporting celebrities (2009 highlights below) will now compete for the public vote on the night of the live show.
The public will be able to vote for their BBC Sports Personality Of The Year by telephone; details of the numbers to vote on will be given out during the programme.
The shortlist of 10 contenders was put together by a panel of 26 sports editors from (national and regional) newspapers and magazines.
Details of the sports editors’ votes can be seen on the website at bbc.co.uk/sportspersonality at 7.30pm on 30 November.
The live show will be presented by Sue Barker, Gary Lineker and Jake Humphrey.
In addition to the main award of Sports Personality Of The Year there will also be awards for:
Team of the Year
Coach of the Year
Overseas Sports Personality of the Year
Helen Rollason Award
Young Sports Personality of the Year
Sports Unsung Hero
For voting criteria on all the Awards, further information and updates please visit bbc.co.uk/sportspersonality.
Notes to Editors
Jenson Button will never forget 2009. Just weeks before the season started in March, he didn’t have a car to drive – but by October he was Formula One World Champion. He started out in pole position winning an incredible six out of the first seven Grands Prix, building up an unassailable lead thanks to a combination of brains and a Brawn car that was just too good for the competition. Jenson – who was 100-l to win the title in January – had only won one Grand Prix before this season and is now the 10th Formula One world champion Britain has produced.
Mark Cavendish was simply the fastest man on two wheels in 2009. The Manxman won a history-making six stages in the Tour de France and his final victory in Paris was extra special as he became the first Briton to win on the Champs-Elysees. During the Tour, the Team Columbia rider wore the prestigious Green Jersey and in the early stages of the Giro d’Italia he wore the leader’s Maglia Rosa jersey. Mark won many stages in many races throughout the season – with another highlight being his victory in the Milan-San Remo Classic earlier in the year.
Tom Daley sensationally became a world champion this year – at the tender age of 15 years and 61 days. When most teens would be studying at school, Tom was ruling the world thanks to an incredible display of dives in the 10-metre platform event in Rome. The 2007 Young Sports Personality of the Year beat a top class field which included Olympic champion Matt Mitcham and he saved the best for last thanks to a flawless final dive which moved him up from third to first.
Jessica Ennis showed all of her Sheffield steel this year with a golden performance at the World Athletics Championships. Just a year after cruelly missing out on the Beijing Olympics with injury, the Yorkshire star shone during the heptathlon, leading from start to finish in Berlin to take gold. The ’tadpole’ – as she’s affectionately known – posted seven sensational performances in the 100 metre hurdles, the high jump, shot put, 200 metres, long jump, javelin and 800 metres. And her score of 6,731 points was a personal best.
Ryan Giggs just gets better with age. The 36-year-old Manchester United playmaker is the most decorated player in English football history and in May this year, he won a record 11th Premier League winners’ medal. He’s been in outstanding form all year – and was instrumental in helping United reach the Champions League final. He is one of the most respected players in the game and in April this year he won the prestigious PFA Player of the Year award for the first time. In the same month he made his 800th appearance for United – the only club he’s played for in a professional career spanning 19 years. In 2009 he scored his 150th goal for United.
David Haye realised a dream in 2009 by becoming the heavyweight champion of the world. Despite conceding nearly a foot in height and seven stones in weight against giant rival Nikolai Valuev, the 29-year-old scored a dramatic majority points victory thanks to a boxing masterclass. Haye used all his speed and skill to make up those deficiencies in the much anticipated ’David v Goliath’ battle in Nuremberg, Germany, to become Britain’s sixth world heavyweight champion in history. The ’Hayemaker’ now has his sights set on adding more belts to his WBA version in 2010.
Phillips Idowu became Britain’s second gold medallist at the World Athletics Championships thanks to a brilliant performance in the triple jump. The Belgrave Harrier from Hackney leapt to 17 metres and 73 centimetres in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, which was also a personal best. The victory was consolation for 30-year-old Phillips after he missed out on Olympic gold last year. And it was fitting too, as he was presented with his medal by former world and Olympic triple jump champion Jonathan Edwards – who was also BBC Sports Personality Of The Year in 1995.
Andy Murray once again flew the flag for British tennis in 2009. The 22-year-old had an outstanding year, winning six tournaments (correct at 9/11/09) including two top tier Masters events at Miami and Montreal. Those wins helped propel him to a career high world number two – the highest ever ranking by a British player. Andy also won a first tournament on home soil at Queen’s just before Wimbledon – but his dream of glory at SW19 was ended by Andy Roddick in the semi-finals. That was his best ever performance at Wimbledon – and he also enjoyed his best run in the French Open, reaching the quarter finals.
Andrew Strauss had a wonderful summer. England’s cricket captain masterminded the Ashes victory over Australia – and he did it in style by being named player of the series. Strauss always looked cool and he led from the front as England reclaimed the famous old urn by winning two Tests to one. The opening batsman topped the run-scoring charts with 474 – at an average of 52. And with an innings of 161 at Lord’s, he also hit the highest score of the five-Test series. Always in control, always in charge, Andrew was captain fantastic.
Beth Tweddle had a year she will never forget. Britain’s greatest-ever gymnast won gold after a glorious routine on the floor at the World Championships. What made Beth’s achievement all the better was that it was in front of a huge home crowd at London’s O2 Arena, and it came just days after she suffered a fall during her signature event on the bars. But like all top class athletes, Beth dusted herself down and came back to perform a brilliant flawless routine which was full of high risk and technical difficulty.
The following is issued on behalf of the 2009 East Asian Games (Hong Kong) Limited:
The first days events in the Fifth East Asian Games are set for a bright start with a fine sunny day and gentle breeze being forecast for Hong Kong tomorrow (December 2).
With the official opening of the 2009 Games still four days away, a number of popular events will begin tomorrow. Three events are indoors and football will kick off at the Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground. Basketball will be held in the Western Park Sports Centre, volleyball at the Hong Kong Coliseum and table tennis at Queen Elizabeth Stadium.
As World Cup fever begins to grip the globe, there is no denying the popularity of football. Six of the nine competing nations will field their best players. It is expected that Korea, Japan and the DPR Korea, who have qualified for the South African finals in six months time, are the favourites. But Hong Kong, playing on home soil and to a home crowd, may have an eye on the crown.
Volleyball teams from seven competing nations will spike up the hit-and-smash action within the Hong Kong Coliseum for the next eight days as favourites China and Japan aim for gold. The dark horse in the field may be Korea or its northerly neighbour.
The Chinese juggernaut is also expected to steamroll through the table tennis tournaments in the mens, womens, doubles and mixed doubles events. Hong Kong favourite sons, Ko Lai-chak and Li Ching, will try to emulate their past Olympic glory. They know that when they step up to play, the home crowd will cheer them on to medal contention.
The basketball courts of Western Park Sports Centre will see keen cross-court charges and dunks between top teams of China, Korea, Mongolia and Japan. The seven-day preliminary games culminate in the Hong Kong Coliseum on December 11 when the top two teams go for gold.
A spectacular ceremony, using the magnificent Hong Kong harbour as a backdrop, will be staged on Saturday evening (December 5) and State Councillor Madam Liu Yandong and the Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, will declare the Fifth East Asian Games officially open.
In all, almost 2,300 athletes from eight regional nations – China, Mongolia, the Democratic Republic of Korea, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Macau and Guam – join the 438 athletes from Hong Kong to lock horns in 1,700 competition events.
And after two weeks of sporting excellence 262 gold medallists will go away with fond memories while the rest, with shattered dreams, can only hope to do better at the next sporting pit-stop or wait for the next Games.
The multi discipline awards ceremony witnessed icons from across sports spectrum
— Sahara India Pariwar, a major business conglomerate and the prime promoter & patron of sports in India hosted its newest sports initiative ‘SAHARA INDIAN SPORTS AWARDS’. The comprehensive glittering awards ceremony was held with a view to felicitate the achievement and efforts of Indian sportspersons in their respective fields. The awards ceremony was initiated to also provide recognition to the upcoming young talents as well as to recognize the contribution of coaches, sports officials and administrators. The gala awards ceremony was held on November 9, 2009 at Taj Lands End amidst sporting legends and icons from various sports disciplines.
Sahara India Pariwar developed the awards, with an intention to bring together all sports, including those which are very popular and also those which are not so popular, together on a common platform to recognize and honour the achievements of Indian sportspersons. The first ‘Sahara Indian Sports Awards’ was graced by Indian Sporting Legends like: Mr. Sunil Gavaskar, (Cricket), Mr. Dhanraj Pillai (Hockey), Ms. Ashwini Nachappa (Athletics), Mr. I.M. Vijayan (Football), Mr. Kamlesh Mehta (Table Tennis), Mr. Mehrwan Daruwalla (Squash), Mr. Michael Ferreira (Billiards), Mr. Nandan Bal (Tennis), Mr. Praveen Thipsay (Chess), Mr. Pullela Gopichand (Badminton), Mr. Vikramjit Singh (Golf)
The award ceremony also witnessed sportspersons like Mary Kom, Abhinav Bindra, M. S. Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Pullela Gopichand, Bhaichung Bhutia, Vijendra Singh, Sushil Kumar and many more. Enclosed below is the list of Sahara Indian Sports Awards winners:
Sahara Indian Sports Awards 2008-09
Best Young Achiever – Female
Best Young Achiever – Male
Coach of the Year
Vijender Singh – Boxing
Gaganjeet Bhullar – Golf
Jayanta Talukdar – Archery
Sushil Kumar – Wrestling
Best Cricketer – Female
Best Cricketer – Male
Most Memorable Moment
Sylvanus Dung Dung
Sportswoman of the Year
Sportsman of the Year
Team of the Year
Indian Cricket Team
Two special categories were honored & felicitated in the awards ceremony:
1. Legend Honour: Padma Shri Prakash Padukone: Arjuna Award winner and one of the noted Badminton player of India who have won the Danish, Swedish Open and the coveted men’s singles title at the All England Championship was felicitated and honored by Sahara India Pariwar
2. Unsung Hero: Sylvanus Dung Dung : A prolific former field hockey player from India. He has been a Gold medalist in Moscow Olympics in 1980. He successfully coached the central Command team from Lucknow to the four sequentially triumphs in the Army Hockey Championship. Sahara India Pariwar felicitated him with a monetary incentive of Rs 5 Lakhs for his outstanding contribution to Indian Hockey.
To add some more glitterati to award ceremony Bollywood beauties like Deepika Padukone, Dia Mirza, Neha Dhupia, Keona Mitra performed along with Shaimak Davar & world boxing champion, Vijendra Singh to some foot tapping Bollywood numbers and enthralled the audiences.
On eve of the inaugural ceremony of Sahara Indian Sports Awards, Mr. Subrata Roy Sahara, Managing Worker & Chairman, Sahara India Pariwar said, “Sports in India has seen its popularity and recognition in Cricket. The game has received the affection and enthusiastic participation which is inspiring for any sport. To take all other sports disciplines to the summit of popularity and recognition, a holistic effort is required. ‘Sahara Indian Sports Awards’, is one of our efforts in this direction. The award is aimed to provide an elevated platform to all sports and a congregating point for all sportspersons where sporting talent and achievements are recognised, promoted and celebrated in a unprecedented manner.”
The voting process of the awards was held in two tiers, where at the first level, Sports Journalist Federation of India (SJFI) initially nominated sportspersons from different sections of sports in different categories. From the shortlist drawn from the SJFI nomination, winners of the Sahara Indian Sports Awards under different categories were selected by a 13 person sports jury constituted by living legends from different sports discipline like Cricket, Billiards, Tennis, Golf, Squash, Hockey, Atheltics, Boxing, Badminton, Football, Chess, Table Tennis etc. The jury was led by cricketing legend Mr. Sunil Gavaskar as the Chairman of the jury. The entire selection process was audited and monitored by KPMG.
Sahara Indian Sports Awards is a medium to salute the spirit of sportsmanship and cheer fellow sportsmen. These awards also provide a forum for encouragement to young sporting talents and motivate them to bring laurels to the nation and sports.
Source: Press release distribution via India PRwire
Notes to Editor
About Sahara India Pariwar
Sahara India Pariwar is a major business conglomerate in India with operations in multiple sectors, including real estate, infrastructure and housing, financial services, housing finance, mutual funds, life insurance, print & television media, film production & distribution, information technology, medical services, hospitality & tourism and consumer products.
The sponsor of Indian Cricket and Hockey, Sahara India Pariwar, had earlier this year, adopted Indian Boxing, Wrestling and Archery and very recently Indian Shooting in addition to covering support of a total of 56 sportsmen in these four games until after London Olympics 2012. The group in order to uplift sports at domestic and grass root level supports the legendary Calcutta Football League, Sheesh Mahal Cricket Tournament and many other sports at the national, state and district levels. Recently the group has extended its sponsorship to the Uttar Pradesh senior cricket team which represents the state in Ranji and all other domestic tournaments.
For more information, please contact:
- Debaleena Chakraborty
- Associate Consultant