Monday, July 31, 2006

Thank you Russell Davies

Russell Davies, the big daddy of account planning has a section called “HIRE THESE PEOPLE” on his blog.

As of today evening (DST) I also occupy that space, sharing it with a bright bunch of wannabe account planners. Russell has been kind enough to have my blog tagged there in that space.

Thank you very much Russell Davies.

Visit Russell here


After three days, YouTube is back for me. I can now access YouTube using www3. But is still inaccessible due to the government regulations here in Dubai.

I would have access to YouTube till someone in the government figures this out!!

Ask Dr. Z

This is the latest campaign run by automobile major DaimlerChrysler featuring its chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche. Zetsche talks about the benefits of the company's German engineering capabilities.

To me this campaign seems a little surrealistic. I can't for one, relate to what is being said here. Surely the loser here is the Employee Discount Program, the whole purpose of this campaign. I think that is sidelined to a 3-4 second super in the end.

Secondly when you have the Chairman of a company talking about the technology, performance, fuel saving, safety etc. which is the value proposition of the brand, I don't think it would be a good idea to combine discount and a return if not satisfied message with that.

May be this ad would have been better off without the discount window. Or they must have made an ad for the discount program without Dr. Z.

For more on this read a report from Adage here

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Zila Khan

That is the name of the singer who’s caught my fancy these days. She is an Indian classical singer coming from a family of great singers. Her father is Ustad Vilayat Khan, one of the greats playing Sitar (You will for sure know the other, Pandit Ravi Shankar).

I was amazed to know that her family, for the past 4 generations have been recording or recorded artists. A seventh generation artist from the Imdad Khani Gharana or the “House / School of Imdad Khan”.

Her repertoire includes classical Indian, the semi classical genre, folk, gazhal & the Sufi styles of music (and many more). She is blessed with one of the most powerful voices in the subcontinent. Well, the voice would be nothing if the singer doesn’t have control over it. Hear Zila and then you would know what control means. A very well trained voice from one of the great families of Indian music.

If you are looking at enjoying an hour of good Indian music (anytime in a day), then Zila would be a good bet. She has got about 3 albums till date and has also performed a number in the movie “99.9FM” called Kesaria”.

Grab a copy of one of them and I’m sure you wouldn’t be disappointed.

More about Zila Khan here

Thursday, July 27, 2006

YouTube is past tense

The government of UAE has restricted access to YouTube. This is mainly due to the concerns the government has about people using YouTube for viewing restricted or inappropriate stuff.

With this decision of the government, from now on there wouldn’t be any video posts on this blog. May be I would save all my videoblog ideas for later and have them posted whenever I get access to YouTube.

So for now, YouTube has become past tense for me.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An interesting piece of communication

I had been to a place called Umm Al Quwain, another emirate about 60 Kms from Dubai. We went to a flat where one of my friends is moving in shortly. This piece of communication was stuck at the entrance of the flat.

As you could see this is for a beauty parlour meant for ladies.

So what is so special about this typographically marvellous poster printed in single color (ink-jet printer)?

1. Saloon (su'loon) is a a room or establishment where alcoholic drinks are served over a counter.

Anyone who knows about the Middle East knows how serious this typographic blunder is. So what should this have been?

It must have been Salon ('salòn ), a shop where hairdressers and beauticians work

2. Read the headline "Woman and beauty are like life and consciousness"

This for me is a great, deeply thought provoking, amazing line (can anyone please tell me what exactly it means?).

3. Now the for the best of copy. They also have this poster done in Arabic and pasted just above this masterpiece in English. Though I don't know to read or understand Arabic, the small addendum using pen on top of the Arabic poster is brilliant.

This reads, "We take orders also"

Let me know what this "orders" must be in case you understand.

Wonderful piece of communication. One should appreciate the courage of the people who designed this marvel.

God Bless!!

I am also reading and would continue to

I landed a copy of Stephen King's 1974 JWT Planning Guide, along with a 1972 Jeremy Bullmore’s speech to Kraft. Thanks to Russell Davies.

It has been two months since I landed these invaluable piece of work by two towering personalities through another. I have just finished reading Jeremy Bullmore’s speech and am going to finish reading the Planning Guide.

Reading these masterpieces you would find whatever you are doing / learning now (in terms of planning) has already been experimented and done about 2-3 decades back. It also makes you enjoy this “from the horses mouth” feeling.

Let me know if you are seriously interested in reading these masterpieces I would have them sent to you or direct you to a place where you could get a copy.

Thank you very much Russell Davies, the big daddy of planning.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Lost and sold

There was this interesting question about sales that a person had asked Tim Harford on one of his “Dear Economist” columns.

The question “I want to sell my lost bicycle in its lost state and I couldn’t. How do I do it?”

Well it is a bicycle lost, meaning you don’t anymore own possession of. So how on earth would you want to transfer ownership of something you don’t own (at least at the moment) to another person?

Now, for Tim’s answer…

“Economists are always looking for new ways to broaden and deepen the world of markets and there is no doubt that this market should create value by shifting ownership of the missing bike to someone willing to bear the risks.

You presumably need one bike with certainty, and only one, and so are unlikely to value ownership of a contingent bike. On the other hand, some investors might well welcome the opportunity to buy the right to a thousand missing bicycles for just ₤30.

So - if eBay will not support your sale, what is the appropriate market? Perhaps you should try to sell the bicycle to the police. They are well placed to increase the possibility that the bike is found, and so they should be willing to pay a decent price...”

I was reminded of the independent debt collectors for the multinational banks back in India.

In India the multinational banks appoint independent agencies (normally the thug or ruffian types) to collect their bad debts (before they are declared so in their account books) or to simply put it, collect their debt from the rouge customers who don’t pay-up. These agencies get paid a commission every time they collect monies from these rouge customers. This model / concept is pretty similar to what has been spoken about by Tim in the bicycle case.

Here you transfer the risk to another entity, if at all he overcomes the risk factors and manages to gain possession of the bicycle it is his. So if you have independent entities (a quasi-police) who take ownership of lost items, find it and do whatever they want (sell, gift or use the object found).

But again this sounds good as long as the item you have lost is something you wanted to sell-off for long and you couldn’t. What if you loose your degree certificate or something else that might be of some use to you.

So don’t be shocked. Just in the near future you might be asked to sell the mobile phone you had lost for a negative premium (less than face value). And the person who bought the lost phone from you would take the pains of finding the phone for him.

About Tim Harford

Tim Harford's is the author of the best-selling title ‘The Undercover Economist'. He writes the 'Dear Economist' column for the Financial Times, in which readers' personal problems are answered, tongue-in-cheek, with the latest economic theory.

For more on Tim Harford go

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What I am going to read from today

I am going to start reading All Consumers Are Not Created Equal: The Differential Marketing Strategy for Brand Loyalty and Profits by Garth Hallberg.

I would post a review once I am through.

In case you want to buy this book go here

Monday, July 17, 2006

Brands in my life

Continuing with what I had started a couple of days ago, I find suffocated by brands all around. Once I leave home for office there are brands everywhere, surrounded by a sea of brands. I tried putting them in order, in vain. There must be easily over 250 brands, a combination of those voluntarily consumed, consumed out of compulsions, those that spam me or ambush me from over various quarters.

Given below is a small list of those brands that bother me in my daily life.

Eppco petrol pump
24+ car brands ranging from Corvette to Corolla
Hoards of hoardings, may be around 40+
Gulf News
Bottle of Masafi water
Sony CD-R
Casio calculator
Pelikan markers
Edding whiteboard marker
3M stationery
Advertising Age
24X7 utility store
Grohe bathroom fittings
Lexmark printer
Microsoft Office
Lipton Tea
Cisco telephones

The dynamics of today dictates that I as a consumer take what I want and leave others. The irony is that I don't even have the freedom and control I have over my mailbox, where I mark a mail spam, it would be automatically filtered the next time it reaches my inbox.

Here the only way is to try closing your eyes, ears and nose. You might avoid, but you will in all probability still get the spam you wanted to avoid.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The time mess

I have been noticing for long that I had to manually change the time to DST everytime I post something.

It was just now I discovered that my blog setting was configured to somewhere in the Americas. I dutifully reset the time to DST to notice that the time setting on all blogs till date have gone for a toss.

This means that the timestamps you see on all the blogs are a farce.

From this post on, you will get to see the REAL timestamp.

Brands in My daily life till I left home for office

Being on the bed for a couple of days gave me time to think about some fascinating stuff. One of those was to list the number of brands I consume on a daily basis. It turned out to be a very long list, so I decided to break it into capsules, this is the first of those. Just see how many brands I consume in my first 1 1/2 hrs of every day.

Three unbranded things I could think off (which I see in the morning) are Roopa, Anirudhha and the mirrors in my bathroom and on my wardrobe. Except for these everything else is branded.

I wake up in the morning to my Nokia 9500’s (1) alarm.

2) Tenby switch fitting
3) GE light bulbs
4) Dynair exhaust
5) Oral B brush
6) Close-Up
7) Ideal Standard bath fittings
8) Gillette shaving foam
9) Gillette Mach 3 Turbo
10) Old Spice aftershave
11) Rapetti water jet fittings
12) Dettol soap
13) Head & Shoulders shampoo
14) Westside Towel
15) Dermi Cool prickly heat powder
16) Jockey inner wear
17) Dockers trouser
18) Louis Philippe shirt
19) Sonia Rykiel’s Rykiel Homme “Grey” perfume
20) Maggi noodles
21) Oasis water
22) In an Arwa bottle
23) Horlicks
24) Panasonic TV
25) NDTV
26) CNN
27) BBC
28) Citizen “Blue Angels” Navihawk
29) Emirates Air Wallet
30) Ray Ban sunglasses
31) Marlboro Lights
32) BIC lighter
33) DaimlerChrysler Pen
34) Hushpuppies shoes
35) Fujitsu Siemens laptop
36) Hyundai elevator
37) Nissan Pathfinder

Thirty Eight brands consumed within a span of an hour and a half. This is mindboggling. Then imagine the amount one would consume in a day (today).

My next exercise would be to list down the brands I consume till lunch break on a working day. Let’s see how many.

Why was I quiet for 4 days?

Looking BACK, things ain't alright.

Yes indeed, I am back to my breaking normal. This time it is my back which has given way (L2, L3, L4). My doctor suspects that I may have a slipped disc. Am currently under medication, very heavily drugged and physiotherapy.

This should continue for the next couple of weeks when my ortho would suggest the next course of action.

It is rather painful and I am not quite enjoying it (both the pain as well as the drugs & physiotherapy to kill the pain)

Hope I get up & running soon...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Looking beyond the worldcup blogs...

I just figured that the football worldcup kept me a bit too busy blogging. Never before as you could notice have I blogged more than 2 times a day. But I suddenly got football crazy, starting the semifinal stage and I notice that there have been days when I even posted some 4-5 blogs.

The football made Wimbledon look like a poor stepchild, not only on my blog but everywhere. I noticed that nobody in my office spoke even one word about tennis.

There were no junk mails of those tennis starlets in their fabulous attire, mind boggling which are prevalent during the tennis season. May be the Anna Kournikova's are gone but there still are a couple of players who are worth a few junk mails and a couple of good, visually appealing JEPG's.

I even got a couple of junks about the dangers of driving without a seatbelt during this time, but tennis was surely missing. Thanks to football.

The mood even reflected in client meetings. Who will win?, Who would take home the Golden boot? have been FAQs. No meeting during this time started or ended without a 15 minute worldcup talk / analysis. Thank god meetings would be meetings from now on. Lots of Coffee, biscuits and some business.

Even the household chores changed a bit. There wasn't a morning when my wife didn't ask me if I were coming back for dinner or I am going somewhere to watch football. And there wasn't a night when she forgot to ask me who won, who scored and who was sent off.

Roopa is now football savvy, she knows exactly why Zidane got his red card, How Italy won and more importantly she knows that a person red carded can't be present during the prize distribution. Such has been the power of football.

And now it's time for us to move ahead, Germany is gone and South Africa 2010 is a while from now.

There is going to be some cricket in a while from now (and lots of it in the coming months), there would also be other interesting stuff that might pop in from time to time.

So bye, bye football. See you later.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A grass act

It is Roger Federer again, in all the heat surrounding the worldcup football we forgot this champion player who won his fourth successive Wimbledon championship.

If that is quite a feat to accomplish, then how about winning 47 matches on the trot on grass courts.

The man Federer beat in the finals is no less than the Clay court master Mr Nadal. A great match between two champion players ended with Federer winning 6-0, 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (2-7), 6-3 in four sets.

Federer missed a milestone created by the legendary Bjorn Borg in 1976, winning the title without dropping a set. Nadal did well to take the third set to tie-break and win it to deny another feather in Federer's cap. Want to know about more on the champ? Go here

Game, Set, Match, Federer

"It is a reckless act of idiocy"

That is how the commentator described Zinedine Zidane's red card winning effort.

It was probably a moment of grave disgrace for the game of football, the world cup 2006. It was a shocking end to what is supposed to be a momentous career of one of the finest footballers of all time.

I heard one spectator saying on TV "I was looking up to this guy in the league of Pele & Maradona and now..." Ironically he was a France supporter.

For me Italy winnning the cup was completely overshadowed by the dard clouds of Zidane's red card.

Which champion player on earth would loose his cool on field to head butt an opponent? It was appalling to see a player of his caliber do this and choosing the worldcup finals as the stage to do this act is distasteful.

Zidane's antihero act overshadows the fitting winner of the Worldcup 2006, Italy. They worked hard, improved by the game to give a superb performance in the finals, first to equalise France's goal by Zidane (by a debatable penalty) and then take the game to penalties past the extratime and win it.

In the end it was very well done World champs Italy,
And disgrace to Zidane

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Bye Bye Mr Luis Figo

Figo one of my favorite footballers retired with Portugals 3 - 1 loss against Germany. While he would have liked to retire on a winning note, destiny dictated otherwise.

The match also marked the end of the Kahn era for Germany. One of the great goalkeepers of the modern era, King Kahn fittingly retired with the captains armband and a bronze medal around his neck.

So Germany wins the Bronze medal and the Portugese are to be content with a fourth place finish for this time.

It's Amelie...

Amelie Mauresmo has won her first Wimbledon Championship beating Justine Henin-Hardenne 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

It was a keenly fought final.

This means Justine Henin has to wait for an year more to try win her first Wimbledon Championship. This is her second runner-up performance (first in 2001 against Venus Williams)

To know more about Amelie go here

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Home coming

I felt at home when I met them. It was at least 5 years ago since I had missed them.

I was his cricket captain and drinking partner for a while. They got married and had left to Dubai in search of greener pastures. They made an ideal couple, a practical husband and a pragmatic wife. The moment they moved to Dubai and I lost touch. I moved to Dubai an year ago, I had forgotten they were here.

It was a couple of weeks ago when this long lost friend figured I was in Dubai. He gave me a call, abused me for not calling him (a little too much, and for a while) and not even trying to figure out where he was. This in spite of me knowing he had moved to Dubai. And then we made up and decided to meet, this meeting has been happening for the last couple of weeks before it materialised & we decide to meet, today (07.07.2006) . And when we did meet, it was a memorable occasion (meeting) on many counts.

Thank you, Prince & Ann. It was quite an experience meeting you guys.

This meeting made me aware of your daughters birthday (she’s going to be 2 next week), tell you that I’m married and I have a son who would be 1 a couple of months from now. This meeting also made us reminisce about our days back in JWT and Wunderman (and Ogilvy) and talk about all and sundry (including those couple of your classmates / college mates I met there).

I am privileged to have been invited home with (my) family. I’m keen to meet you guys home.

Thank you very much Prince. It was so kind of you to have called me on for a meet (and a drink).

I have off late, been in love with having a picture with every post here. I rue myself to have not taken a picture of the couple to post.

Hope I do that at least the next time I meet you guys.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Ladies singles finalists

Amelie Mauresmo will play Justine Henin-Hardenne in the ladies singles finals of Wimbledon Championships 2006.

This would be a good match as both the players would have a point to prove. Both have their first Wimbledon Championship title at stake when they clash in the finals. Justine Henin has once been to the finals of the championships (2001) and for Amelie semifinal is how far she has been to in Wimbledon (2002, 2004, 2005).

Overall this would be a very keenly fought finals.

Strawberries and Cream

While we have been busy attending our football fever, Wimbledon '06 has progressed past the usual rains, upsets and bowls of strawberry & cream. On day 10 of this illustrious tournament we have the ladies semifinals being played. Both the semifinals should be keenly contested and gripping.

We have Amelie Mauresmo facing Maria Sharapova in one and Kim Clijsters facing Justine Henin-Hardenne.

The second one will be a match not to miss out on.

See you on Saturday

The next is the third place match between Germany and Portugal in Stuttgart.

How is this for an embarrassment?

You are sitting in a meeting at your client’s.

The head of marketing and an array of other executives are lined around the table in the clients conference room.

You are discussing an important point with the client as you are having your cup of coffee.

Suddenly the coffee gets in to your windpipe badly asphyxiating you.

You are forced to spit the coffee allover the conference table at the full glare of your top client and 4 of his counterparts.

You take 15 minutes to get over the choking effect you undergo. Coughing, tears flowing and sweating badly.

One you get over with it, you realize where you are and what you have done. There is a stunning silence around.


Then, when the meeting gets over the client says “Thank you very much for coming, And thank you for spitting all over my table. It was nice having you here.”

This happened to me today. It happened to me at one of the most valued & important clients place. During an important meeting.

At the end of the meeting I thought I recovered well to respond to my clients thank you note saying “Thank you very much, I’m extremely sorry for what happened. I’ll make sure I do it better next time.”

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Portugal will go to Stuttgart

France go to Berlin for the finals and would play Italy.

The final score, 1 - 0 for France. It was a Zidane penalty kick in the 33rd minute. Seemed like Henry was fouled inside the Portugese box and the referee showed the dreaded spot. The replays were inconclusive but the referees decision as we all know is final and 1 - 0 is the final result in favor of France.

Figo's Portugal played very well, in fact they seemed better in all aspects of the game but finishing. Figo himself was to blame when he missed a simple second half header to level scores. Overall it was a good game of Football and someone had to go to Berlin and France prevailed.

The Portugese tried some opera like stunts to grab the referees attention and get a few penalty kicks as reward. But the referee today was stern and watchful. Scolari as usual was animatedly superb, unfortunate we wouldn't see his antics in Berlin.

I for sure would miss Figo in Berlin. But I'm pretty sure Zidane, Henry & Thuram would make-up for that loss.

Well done France.

Who will play Italy in Berlin?

In another 7-8 hrs time we would have a team from Munich that will go to face Italy in Berlin. France are playing Portugal in the second semifinal of the football world cup 2006. My personal favorites are Portugal, I am a Figo fan.

This match would be no less nerve-wracking than the first semifinal yesterday. This is going to be a fabulous match-up between two very good teams in the football world today. Both the teams took some time to find their touch in the tournament and are now in the peak of their form.

May the best team win (Portugal!!)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

And the winner is...

It was a match dominated by the Italians. The Germans held till the 119th minute, then they started crumbling. Conceding 2 goals in the span of 2 minutes.

Italy goes to Berlin...

Fabio Grosso opened the account for the Italians in the 119th minute.

Alessandro Del Piero who came in by the second half of the extra time extended the lead by scoring in the 121st minute.

Italy 2 - Germany 0


At the end of 105 minutes of play (i.e.) two halves of play and one half of extra time the score remains 0 - 0.

Seems like this match is going down the wire.

It is fulltime

The fulltime whistle goes off. After 90 minutes of play it is 0 - 0. Italy were dominating with 57% ball possession through the two halves.

We now move on to the extratime.

Will a golden goal decide who goes to Berlin?

Or will we see penalty kicks deciding the finalist today?

What will happen in Dortmund?

It is halftime and the score is 0 - 0

Will the Germans win?

Are we in for an Italian shocker?

Did I say it would be 3 - 1 for Germany?

Well it has been a disappointing first half, at least for me who said the Germans would win 3 - 1.

35 minutes of first half play is over as I write this blog. The scoreline is 0 - 0.

But my worry is the state of affairs till now.

Italy has had a greater share of ball possession, 59% till now. They have also had "3" shots on the goal as opposed to "0" by the Germans. Italians till now have forced "4" corner kicks as opposed to "1" by the Germans.

As I finish this post in the 39th minute, Italians have forced another corner (5 overall) and they have had a freekick.

Germans need to improve a lot to win this match.

Italy dominating.

The football is back after a short break

Germany is going to Berlin. But I don't rule out a shock win for the Italians. Should be Germany by the end of the day (night here in Dubai). 3 - 1 is my final score, for Germany.

Let's wait and watch...

Monday, July 03, 2006

No football? How about some cricket?

India completed a historic series win over the West Indies, in West Indies. The four test series ended with a win for India at Sabina park, Kingston, Jamaica. This is India’s second series win in the Caribbean, 35 years after Ajit Wadeker’s team won a series. This win would also add some sanctity to India’s not so impressive away from home wins record.

It was a roller coaster of a match, with both the teams dominating in short bursts. In the end India prevailed by the end of the third day. It was a great match of test cricket and in the end the Indians definitely proved that they are a far better team.

Day 1

Rahul Dravid, the Indian captain won the toss and chose to bat
Jerome Taylor, the fast bowler from West Indies picked up 5 to reduce India to 200 in their 1st innings

Day 2

It was Harbajan Singh’s turn, he picked 5 West Indian wickets to reduce them to 103. A lead of 97 for India.

Day 3

Cory Collymore picked up 5 Indian wickets to end the Indian 2nd innings at 171. The West Indians needed 269 to win. They had more than 2 ½ days to win the test and wrap the series.

Kumble, emerged the hero for the Indians with a 6 wicket haul. And India won the test by the end of the third day by a margin of 49 runs, with 2 days to spare.



Batting – Dravid (as usual), Shewag & Laxman (back among runs), Wasim Jaffer (showed lots of temperament and promise), Kaif (should hold his place for another couple of series with that 100)

Bowling – The young ones did extremely well (Sreesanth, Munaf & VRV), Harbajan (among wickets again) and the old war horse Kumble (dependable as usual)

West Indies

Batting – Lara, Sarvan, Ganga & Ramdin (the wicketkeeper)

Bowling – Jerome Taylor (he was brilliant), Collymore (you could depend on this guy) and Collins (a modest comeback series for him)

Bravo scores full marks for living up to his allrounder reputation

No football for 2 days

Next game: Germany (Vs.) Italy in Dortmund on July 04, 2006

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Srilankan whitewash

The football worldcup euphoria subdued a fantastic game of cricket in Headingley, Leeds.

It was the fifth and final oneday game of Srilanka's tour of England. England scored 321 - 7 in their allotted 50 overs. The Srilankan's took 37.3 overs to maul that with 8 wickets to spare.

At one point in time I thought the Srilankan's would finish the match off well within 30 overs. Both the Srilankan openers, Jayasurya & Tharanga scored 100's. Jayasurya went on to bag the man of match as well as the man of the series awards.

In the end Srilanka had completed a 5-0 whitewash of the English in the onedayers. This, after a very closely fought test series where the Srilankan's came back from a 1 - 0 deficit to level the series 1 - 1.

While Mr. Moody, the Srilankan coach will rejoice welcoming his good times. Finally fortune smiles on him after a very bad run since the day he took over.

And Mr. Fletcher, his English counterpart has lots of introspection to do. With Ashes down the corner, this drubbing would only add to England’s miseries of injury and indifferent form.

Who’ll go to Berlin?

We have four teams now, was wondering who will play in the finals and who might win.

And this is what I have got to say.


Germany (Vs.) Italy – Germany 9:2
Portugal (Vs.) France – Portugal 3:2

Final line-up, winner and odds

Germany (Vs.) Portugal – Portugal 3:2
Germany (Vs.) France – France 5:4

Italy (Vs.) Portugal – Portugal 1:4
Italy (Vs.) France – France 4:9

In my opinion there are only three teams now running for the cup (in the same order).

1) Portugal
2) Germany
3) France

Italy’s odds are a bit too high at this point in time.

So my pick, it will be Germany (Vs.) Portugal in Berlin. And it will be a closely fought final, must be physical as well.

Vinay M says Germany. I say Portugal.

Let the best team win.

Fittingly the fourth qualifier

France it is…

And I did spell a Nostradamus. Incidentally, I had also predicted the final score for a couple of my friends. I told them it would be 1 – 0 for France, fulltime.

So, France is the fourth team to qualify. Thierry Henry scored for France in the 57th minute.

They now face Portugal in Munich on July 05, 2006.

Thank you Vinay M for acknowledging my astrological prowess through a text message. But there was nothing astrological about my prediction.

I repeat France definitely are a better team and Brazil were grossly overrated*.

* This inspite of me claiming to have spelt a Nostradamus!!

Three of four

Portugal I had predicted and Portugal it is…

A good game of football with both the teams having their share of chances and half chances.

To make things worse for England, Wayne Rooney was red carded in the 62nd minute. It was 0 – 0 fulltime and after a series of eventful hit and miss penalties it was 3 – 1 for Portugal finally.

So as I had predicted Portugal goes to Munich.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Opinion: France from Frankfurt

It will be France from Frankfurt (that is my prediction for todays second match). Brazil in my opinion are a bit too overrated and quarter's is how far they would go this time.

So France goes to Munich...

Hope I spelt a Nostradamus on France. We will know it tonight

Who will triumph in Gelsenkirchen?

In my opinion it will be Portugal, even if they are without a couple of their stars. But I also like Sven-Goran Eriksson's England.

What to do? At the end of two 45's only one team can win and I think Portugal will go to Munich.

Two of four...

Italy is team number two in the semifinal lineup.

They made a short work of Ukraine, 3 – 0. Gianluca Zambrotta (6th minute) & Luca Toni (59th and 69th minute) scored for Italy.

But for excellent goalkeeping from Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon the match could have been close.

It will be Germany (Vs.) Italy on July 04, 2006 in Dortmund. Let’s see who goes to Berlin from there.

One of four...

It is Germany. The German's become the first to qualify for the Semifinals beating Argentina on penalties, 1 – 1 (4 – 2).

Jans Lehmann the hero saving two spot kicks and Roberto Ayala & Esteban Cambiasso, the antiheros for the Argentinians.

All said, it was a hardly fought match, with both teams locked 1 – 1 in fulltime. Miroslav Klose of Germany equalized ( 80th-minute) Argentina’s opening goal from Roberto Ayala (49th-minute).

Seems like Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision to choose Jans Lehmann as his number one goalkeeper ahead of the experienced Oliver Kahn is vindicated.

Let’s now see how far the hosts go in this tournament.