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First of all, the reason why I have been missing in action for a couple of months on my blog has been that I have been rather busy (but “good” busy) with work. Lots of exciting things happened recently, including reaching two of my main milestones for this year. I am still busy, but I will try to be back here every now and then to share stuff that I find interesting.

Having said that, if you know me well, you know that these days I am doing crazy schedules and working many hours so I can also watch as many World Cup games as possible. I will not reach my great achievements from the World Cups of 2010 and 2006, when I saw every single game of each tournament (yes, you read it right, every single one), but I am doing a decent job. By the way, if you happen to have a lot of free time (I had just finished my undergrad in 2006 and I was on a lazy + learning German + travel hiatus, and I was a grad student in 2010), I challenge you to watch every single game of a World Cup. It’s an amazing experience. But not easy. As an example, I saw the Portugal-France semifinal in a ferry with poor satellite reception going from Athens to Paros. And I saw the final in some random restaurant in the less populated side of Siros.

Anyhow, I just wanted to share some thoughts about the World Cup so far:

  • Spain: I knew we were in a bad shape and there was 0 chances we would mean. But still, what Spain did was lame. The way they surrendered after the Netherlands’ second goal was very sad. I guess Spain always sucks in World Cups and now we just had the last 6 years as an exception. The exception that confirms the rule. I was back home in Barcelona for the games against the Netherlands and Chile, so it hurt even more.
  • USA: I like this team a lot, and I am not saying it because the US is my second (actually, now officially permanent) home. I like how they play, very talented young players. And I really like this Dempsey guy. Back in my grad student years, me and my Spanish friends we always played in the intramurals against the US kids. Playing futsal 5on5 we always kicked ass… but when it was 11on11, those guys had so much stamina and energy that we always lost! And I see that in the World Cup too. It’s very interesing how over the last few World Cups the US has scored a large number of goals towards the end of the game, when the rival is tired (a game every 3 days ain’t easy!). Having said that, sometimes one sees that the US does not have that much experience in soccer. For example, no team has used a “polo-type neck” for the jersey since the early 90s. They need a jersey redesign asap! Also, they did not win against Portugal for 2 reasons: 1) that guy whose dad is the former national couch had a terrible game and made an awesome pass to CR96 Ronaldo, and 2) the US has to master the ancient skill of wasting time.
  • Argentina: Playing bad, but with a stellar Messi. I hope they win the World Cup just so there are no more counter arguments (i.e. he never won a World Cup, unlike Maradona and Pele). The world needs to finally agree that Messi is, BY FAR, the greatest player of all times.
  • Germany: My favorite team (aside from Spain) for the last few World Cups. Playing very good. Although I really want Messi to win a World Cup, I hope for a Germany-Brazil final.
  • Ghana: Such a good team. The way they play is just amazing, and although I always cheer for Germany, I was quite annoyed when Klose scored the 2-2. However, kudos for Klose, top scorer of a World Cup tied with Ronaldo (the good one).

I want to write more, but I’ll leave it here for now. Back to work now! I have been here since 7 today. It will be a long day. But it’s all good, fun stuff at work. Projects going great. And, in parallel, a really fun World Cup. What else can one wish for?

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The greatest player in the world. A humble hero, dedicating his goal to his deceased friend and former RCD Espanyol player Dani Jarque. Anfrés Iniesta.

I plan on, as soon as I have time to write it, post a summary of the World Cup going over the teams that, in my opinion, made a clear football statement, such as Ghana. I actually might just dedicate on entire post to Ghana.

But until then, I wanted to share something that I find very interesting, A bunch of well known high tech companies – Intel, Toshiba and Tom Tom among them –  are hoping that Spain does not defeat the Netherlands in the highly anticipated tournament final.

Sometime during early Spring, some companies started their spring/summer-season campaigns. These companies decided, in a very smart move, that they should play along with the World Cup, offering their potential customers some kind of incentive to purchase their products. Probably the most interesting one is by PcCity (an electronics vendor, somehow similar to BestBuy). They promised to give away 10 Euros each time Spain scored a goal in the tournament. This payment would be made to the ones who had previously bought, with certain conditions, a Led tv of at least 32 inches.

Intel and Toshiba wanted to go beyond that and had an idea. Whether it was a good idea or not, we will find out in a couple of days. They told their customers that they would be fully reimbursed for any laptop or flat screen TV they bought between April 10th 2010 and June 10th 2010 if Spain wins the World Cup. Given that the sales of laptops and TVs generate 60% of the revenue in Spain, this promotion might result on being a very bad idea. Same applies for Tom Tom with a similar reimbursement-promotion.

On the other hand, Media Markt – another BestBuy kind of business –  was smarter and, despite offering the same full reimbursement promotion, they stated – in the small print of the promotion –  that the reimbursement would only occur if Spain wins every single game in the tournament. The unfortunate loss in front of Switzerland in our first game might have saved Media Markt millions.

As a final comment, I find the whole situation very funny because, in Spain, Media Markt is known for some commercials with a guy going for their bargains and claiming “yo no soy tonto” (I am not dumb). Indeed, they are not; and small print might have saved them.

Update:

Toshiba and Tom Tom are not refunding the purchases arguing some conditions that were stated online. The Office for the Defense of the Consumer is already analyzing the situation.

Brazil just lost against the Netherlands… deservedly, in my opinion. During the first 45 minutes, everything Brazil was doing was going well and they were not making any mistakes at all. Then, a “cantada” (as we call them in Spain) by Julio Cesar set the score 1-1. After that, Brazil simply faded away. Another goal by the Netherlands, Felipe Melo sentencing the game with a text book red card and the Netherlands wasting clear goal chances in the last minute were the remainder.

After the group stage I was a bit frustrated to see how most of the “big” teams were out and this World Cup was going to be lacked of “classic” games between France, Italy, England, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, etc. Seeing the schedule with games such as Paraguay-Japan in the round of 16 was quite frustrating (no offense to Japan – they did an awesome tournament – or Paraguay -they might still send my fellow Spaniards back home tomorrow-). However, after today’s game I changed my mind. This World Cup is actually turning out to be very interesting.

Ghana – my favorite team in the World Cup together with Germany and Spain – is playing beautifully and delivering great games. Netherlands and Brazil just played a great game. And everyone is excited about tomorrow’s games and the possible clash of titans in the semifinals – actually, to me, Germany vs Argentina is already a clash of the titans.

All in all, I love football and World Cup. May the best win.

Despite obviously supporting Spain in the World Cup, I think Germany is, by far, the best team up to the round of 16. Spain did show a clear improvement against Portugal though.

On Saturday at 10am (ET), Argentina faces Germany in probably the most attractive game in the quarter finals round. Argentina should be concerned; but this is what one of my friends from Argentina thinks about the Germans: (in Spanish)

About me:

Born in Barcelona, moved to Los Angeles at age 24, ended in NYC, where I enjoy life, tweet about music and work as a geek in security for wireless networks.
All the opinions expressed in this blog are my own and are not related to my employer.
About me: http://rogerpiquerasjover.net/

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