• Top Players of WC 2010

    Here's a look at the top ten players, most of them uncelebrated (or under-celebrated), who rocked the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

    David Villa: He is addicted to goals! The favourite player of the tournament has netted 43 goals in 63 appearances for Spain, one shy of Raul's record. The striker's sophistication inside the penalty area makes him implausibly gifted. The goal machine helped Spain convert their ability into accomplishment in South Africa. The quick and voracious striker has the knack of scoring whenever he wants with threatening impudence. Spain's most valuable striker besides Fernando Torres has netted five times this World Cup.

    Wesley Sneijder: The clever Dutchman always comes up with a little bit extra to shock his opponents. After leaving Real Madrid for Inter Milan last summer, Wesley Sneijder has developed immensely under Jose Mourinho helping his team win the treble. The gifted playmaker's dangerous cross and his ability to slip into any defence

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  • Sing on, Mockingbird

    I discovered Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' very late — in fact, I'd read two books inspired by it, and its author, before I went looking for it.

    Today, it remains only one of two books that I reread soon after I finished reading it for the first time — the other being A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly.

    Of all genres of fiction, stories that tell of a search for truth and justice are my favourites, courtroom dramas being closest to my heart. My first brush with adult fiction was John Grisham's 'A Time to Kill' — a book I've read 12 times at last count, at a rough average of once every two years since I first read it. Grisham has acknowledged Harper Lee's novel as one of the influences for 'A Time to Kill' — the story of a black father avenging his 11-year-old daughter's brutal rape by taking law into his own hands and killing the two rednecks responsible in cold blood and then being successfully defended by a white man deserves another post, so I'll leave it be

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  • Uruguay, Germany Play For Pride

    Even if everyone says we played a great tournament, we are feeling really down — Schweinsteiger.

    After gaining their place among soccer's elite, Uruguay will take on Germany for the third place at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. After losing a high-tempered semi-final against Netherlands, the South American side will be up against a depleted German side, low on confidence. Joachim Loew's Germany lost 0-1 to a dominant Spanish side in the second semi-final of the World Cup.

    In one of the most exciting clashes of the 2010 World Cup, average Germany never got 'Klose' enough to pose any kind of threat to the 2008 Euro champion. One theory for their below-par performance can be the absence of suspended Thomas Mueller. Attacking Mueller, who had scored four important goals in the tournament, was suspended after picking a second yellow card in the quarter-final win over Argentina. However, his absence was only one of the many factors in Germany's defeat.

    On the other hand, Uruguay

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  • Sports and Superstitions

    People still talk with awe when they mention Nostradamus — the 16th century French astrologer. Wonder what would people talk about Paul the Octopus a few years from now. Hopefully, if he doesn't end up on somebody's dinner table, we can expect more of him the next Euro Cup when he grows wiser with age. Is there any truth behind the so-called predictions? Looking at the way the Germans played against Spain, I was left to believe that the octopus had taken up their mind eating away their confidence. Psychological effect? I'm not kidding.

    Bastian Schweinsteiger, the magnificent midfielder was nowhere near his usual form in their semi-final against Spain. And Klose, who was on the verge of making history, couldn't, unfortunately. Hopefully he can score some goals against Uruguay on Saturday and earn a place in history becoming an all-time top scorer. Coming back to superstitions, now even I'm scared to support my favourite teams. Starting from Italy, all my favourite teams have stumbled on

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  • As far as the automobile industry is concerned, 2010 has been an eventful year, especially after the Auto Expo that witnessed as many as 25 launches in various segments. Yet, hatchbacks rule the growing car market in India and the segment has been abuzz, with more foreign players entering the arena. From new launches by iconic brands like Volkswagen and Nissan to facelifts to the existing models, there were more than enough reasons for the middle-class car buyers to rejoice. Since the much awaited Nissan Micra is already here and there are not many launches slated for this year, this is the right time to have a quick analysis of the new and top five hatches of the year.

    Nissan Micra

    The Nissan Micra is the latest one to plunge into the already overcrowded B segment. Micra has enjoyed huge success across the world and now the Japanese carmaker is offering this bubbly car to Indian buyers with the latest generation technologies. Hope you all have read the road test and review

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  • The other day as I was browsing through channels, I stumbled upon the heartrending story of Aruna Shanbaug, a nurse who has been lying unconscious in a vegetative state for the last 36 years at Mumbai's King Edward Memorial Hospital.

    Aruna Shanbaug who worked as a nurse was sodomized and strangulated with a dog chain on the hospital premises by a ward boy on November 27, 1973. The brutal attack had sent her into a coma from which she never recovered. The asphyxiation cut off the oxygen supply to her brain. As a result, she has become cortically blind — her eyes can see but her brain does not register the images.

    She is now brain-dead. She cannot speak, hear or see; and she is force-fed everyday. Doctors who have been attending to her say that there is no hope of her recovery. What is more shocking, is that her assailant is roaming free after serving his term and continues to work as a ward boy in another city.

    Pinki Virani, a journalist by profession, who followed Aruna

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  • Is Total Football Dead?

    In the Premier League his performances are staggering, spectacular. In the Champions League he is good, but less so. In the national team, he struggles rather more — Xabi Alonso on Wayne Rooney

    We have witnessed the unexpected happen as the 2010 Football World Cup enters into the semi-final stage. South American survivor Uruguay, who won the World Cup in 1930 and 1950, has rightfully earned the term fighters and survivors. The Netherlands, aiming for their first World Cup win, have been hauled up for the lack of creative flair despite winning five matches on a trot. Favourites Spain has already made history by reaching the semi-finals for the first time while a young German team is teaching the world what teamwork really means.

    Players in Kaka, Ronaldo, Messi and Rooney failed miserably along with their respective teams to light the big stage — forget living up to expectations. Reigning champions Italy were unceremoniously dumped out by charging Slovaks in the very first round.

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  • The Walrus in a Grey Suit

    I confess — I'm a recent convert to football. I've been a cricket fangirl for the longest time, but my colleagues made me love this beautiful game so much that I've left all thoughts of Dhoni's men far, far behind.

    For instance, Vinay wrote about the beauty of the bicycle kick and other spectacular goals here.

    And Princy made me fall in love with Messi, the boy, who overcame physical limitations to become the phenomenon that he is today.

    And Anirban educated me on the various contentious goals in the world of football — including Maradona's infamous 'Hand of God' goal, one that he later admitted to 'handling with care', like Bikash calls it.

    The more I read about the game, the more I wanted to know; the more I knew, the more I wanted to watch the game; and the more I stayed up to see the matches, the more I wanted Argentina to win.

    For two reasons:

    One, Messi — somewhere along the way, I started seeing him through Princy's eyes, and if I can be allowed a moment of utter honesty,

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  • Say What?

    We have all suffered this syndrome at some point in our lives, some of us more so than others and still continue to be plagued by it. This illness proves expensive for those who let it spiral out of their control. And it is worse when it inflicts those under the media glare, like politicians.

    It's called the "foot-in-mouth syndrome".

    When you or I make remarks that we wish we hadn't, it's usually ok.  The person we dissed may get a little angry, but we can deal with that, right?  However, what happens when national leaders are inflicted with this disease? It causes embarrassment to the government and to their party, not to mention a dip in their popularity.

    Gordon Brown's labour party lost the UK general elections this year. But it couldn't have been just the party's performance that led to their loss. Brown himself has a lot to answer for since he is the face of the party. So, calling a possible vote a "bigot" is a complete no-no. Even a high school kid knows that much

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  • Over the past six months there have been days when the world has seen faced terror attacks, natural calamities, and the pointless strife between people. But there have also been days when we've looked at the world and were happy to be a part of it.

    Some of us spend our lives, not just for thinking about ourselves but by helping others. Here are some heroes who, in the face of adversity, saw opportunity. By their achievements, they make the rest of us wish we were a little like them.

    Would a cobbler have ever thought that his son will one day crack one of the toughest entrance exams in the country and secure a place in one of the country's most coveted institutions? Not very likely. But that's just what happened. Abhishek Kumar Bhartiya's father is a cobbler, earning a daily wage of Rs 60. So having his son rank 154th out of over ten thousand students writing the IIT-JEE is no mean feat. "We have just one small room where six of us live and that too without electricity. So,

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