2006 was an interesting year in sports. Although there might not have been many memorable events, there was one particular event that made 2006 a good year for sports. We here at BollySpice will count down the five best sporting events this year had to offer. Now remember there was only one that was memorable, while the other four could not reach the standard our number one set. Therefore we will go into heavy analysis with our number one, while giving a brief synopsis with the rest of the countdown. Here is the list:
5 . World Series (MLB) – This year was a great year for Major League Baseball as it had some of the most exciting baseball we have seen in quite some time. New teams rose to the top, as well as new stars being born. All was good and well for the MLB until the playoffs arrived. The playoffs for the 2006 MLB season was some of the weakest and uninspiring baseball we had seen in quite some time. Most of this could be accounted to the New York Yankees, the team with the best and biggest star players, making an early exit in the playoffs. Then the New York Mets, the second best roster in the league, could not reach the World Series as most expected them to. All this led to the worst World Series we had witnessed in years. The participants were the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers, two teams no one wanted to watch. The Cardinals beat the Tigers in five games in a best of seven. Thankfully it didn’t go the whole seven as it was brutal to watch these two teams play for MLB’S top prize. Only because the World Series is such a significant event did this make the list, or else we would have omitted it.
4. Winter Olympics Turin – Anytime the Olympics take place, it is something to look forward to. It only comes four times a year, so people get even more excited for it. It’s also a patriotic event as many countries all over the world participate in various sports to try and bring pride to their nations. This year’s Winter Olympics took place in Turin, Italy. Events that took place included ice hockey, ice skating, and skiing. Germany led the way with a total of 29 medals, followed by USA with 25, and Austria with 23. These were the top three, but many other countries won many medals. Sadly this was the Winter Olympics and not the Summer Olympics, so there was less focus on it since there is more hype surrounding the Summer Olympics. That is the main reason this event is not higher on our list.
3. Super Bowl XL (NFL) – For those of you who think XL means extra large, well it doesn’t. It is the roman numerals for the number forty. This year was the 40 th installment of the America’s biggest sporting event. Although the season always takes place at the end of the year, the Super Bowl takes place in the beginning of the year, so this was able to qualify for our list. This year’s big game pitted the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Seattle Seahawks. It was not as an intriguing match up as one would hope, but since it was the Super Bowl everyone was watching. The Steelers are known to have a history in the NFL, so it was great to see them at the game. But the Seahawks have not done anything of significance in the league, so it was a surprise to see them there. It also showed in there performance in the game as they were embarrassed against the Steelers. The Steelers went on to become victorious and added more hardware more to their storied franchise. This would have been our number two had it not been for the Seahawks.
2. NBA Finals (NBA) – The NBA had a great season last year as there was lots of interesting and cool things going for it. Fans haven’t been this excited of the product since the Jordan era, so you know they are doing something right. A good season was only the beginning. This year’s playoffs could have been the best playoffs we have seen in ages. There were so many nail biting games, close finishes, and spectacular plays that you could not help but jump up and down if your team won and fall into the ground and cry if your team lost. This year’s playoffs were that intense and emotional. It was all capped off by a great and entertaining final. The participants were the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks. Neither team has much of a history in the league, but they had great players that made up for it. Both teams play an exciting brand of basketball so it was wonderful to watch two new teams play in the finals. We have not seen a more riveting finals series since, well, the Jordan era again. When it was all said and done, the Miami Heat won in six games in a best of seven. They were the last team standing holding up the Larry O’Brien Trophy in what will go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, playoffs in NBA history.
1. World Cup 2006 Germany- The FIFA World Cup 2006 captured the attention of the world and linked them through soccer – the world’s favorite sport. Avid soccer fans and usually indifferent viewers were either swept into the frenzy or left behind. The spirit of the entire experience leaves me smiling every time I think about it. Not only did it generate a lot to talk but it made sure there was not a moment during those months when a proper fan could be bored – when the matches weren’t on air, we could easily loose ourselves in one of the hundreds of thousands of articles predicting the outcomes, analyzing players, strategies, and teams. Countries such as England and Spain, usually divided by friendly (and some unfriendly) rivalries due to club teams, combined their spirit and enthusiasm, creating an exhilarating atmosphere. Many fanatics recall feeling lighthearted, invigorated just by being alive in such a time.
Preparations for the next FIFA World Cup start almost as soon as the previous one ends. If you pay careful attention, the logo many of us became familiar with this summer has a copyright to 2002. Logos are created four years in advance, mainly for publicity purposes.
However, the process to even choose the 32 countries which play the World Cup is a long and winding one. Some preliminaries began as far as two years before the summer of the World Cup. The host, who was Germany this year, was guaranteed a spot. Excluding them, Europe had 13 spots, while Asia and South America had 4.5 spots each. Africa received 5, and North and Central Americas, including the Caribbean zone, received a total of 3.5 spots. The last 0.5 was given to Oceania. Each geographic region came up with their own way of selecting the best teams, usually involving preliminaries, group stages, and tie-breaker play-off. In Europe, there were 51 hopefuls! For the spots involving .5s, the country below the last whole number had a two-legged play off against a country in the same situation from another region to secure the spot. For example, in Asia, Bahrain placed fifth and had to play off against Trinidad & Tobago, Africa’s fifth-ranked team. The winner of that game (Trinidad & Tobago) went on to play in the group stage of the FIFA World Cup.
Technically speaking, stage 1 began on December 9, 2005 when the draw for the 8 groups in stage one took place. However, the actual games began on June 9th, 2006. Stage 1 consisted of 32 countries, split into 8 groups of 4 teams each. Each country played every other country in their group, resulting in a total of 48 games in the group stage. The teams were ranked by points. Each team received 2 points for every win in the group stage, 1 for a tie, and none for a loss. The margin by which the games were won would only have been taken into account if the points were otherwise tied. This eventuality did not arise. The top 2 teams from every group went on to the second stage. Stage 1 ended on 23rd June, 2006.
The qualifying countries began the Round of 16 the very next day. It was a knockout stage, where there were no second chances. Once a country lost a match, they were out. 8 more matches were played and 8 more teams saw their dreams shatter, breaking the heart of millions of fans worldwide. Ghana, who had surprisingly made it into the round of 16, inevitably lost against favorites Brazil.
A personal experience I had during this point was the France vs. Spain match, which France won in the last few minutes. For vacation, I was in London. I recall sitting outside a caf