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Adios Spain

Rashneel Kumar
Friday, June 20, 2014

THE world of football was left in shock and awe after defending champion Spain bowed out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

As Chileans celebrated, district teams at home took a cue from the upset, saying they, like the gutsy Chile side, had an equal chance of doing the same when the Fiji FACT kicks off at Ratu Cakobau Park today.

Spain lost to Chile 0-2 in its second group match in Rio de Janeiro to face an early exit from the World Cup alongside Australia. The Iker Casillas-skippered side was earlier stunned by Netherlands, going down 1-5 to the Dutch last week.

Defending FACT champion Nadi is wary of the underdogs in the tournament, which will be played over two weekends.

Nadi is grouped with Suva, Navua and Lautoka while hosts Rewa leads Group A with Ba, Labasa and Nadroga

"For us, we treat every game as a final. We don't wait for the second game. Football has changed now and any team can win," Nadi Football president Navneeda Goundar said.

"Football is anybody's game."

Minnow Nadroga is seeking inspiration from the results in the World Cup to guide it through in the opening domestic tournament of the season.

Regarded as the giant-killers of Fiji football, the Stallions are ready to surprise the favourites this weekend.

Nadroga Football president Vijay Singh said past records did not matter anymore in football.

"As seen in the World Cup, it doesn't matter if you are number one or the top favourite. What matters is the commitment of the players because they are the ones who are on the field," Singh said.

"Football is like a game of chess. One wrong move will cost you dearly. It's about taking chances and making it count.

"It's not about names because football and other sports as well have advanced in many ways and upsets are nothing new. It has happened in the past and can happen in the future."

Vodafone Fiji under-20 coach Ravinesh Kumar shared similar sentiments, adding Spain's exit in the World Cup would inspire the smaller districts this weekend.

"The concentration level of the players is more important than the rank or the status of the teams that they play in," Kumar said.

"It's what you do within that 90 minutes that will decide the fate of the game. Anything can happen in the game of football."

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