Pierre Boisrond

Pierre Boisrond has followed soccer and the World Cup closely for many years and also writes for other websites. We at PWC are proud to have him as a columnist. He will share his views about the past, present and future of the World Cup.

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The world united in the World Cup

    The World Cup signifies joy to everyone in the world. It is the only tournament that can unite the whole world in a single sport. What makes the World Cup so special is that every country can qualify. It is quite special for the countries that are qualified for the first time. For these countries, it's all about national pride to be among the best in the world. It's a tournament where countries that are at wars become friends. It's a tournament where everyone is rejoicing, dancing, and celebrating in his or her street capitals. It's the only tournament in the world that I'll sacrifice anything to enjoy it. It's the only tournament where young soccer players will identify themselves with a player. In the streets of Petion-Ville, Haiti, I was known as Jorge Luis Burruchaga. In my older days, I was known as Batistuta and always played with the #9 on the back. This is what the World Cup is all about. Kids will associate themselves with particular players. I hope many of them will associate themselves some day with Juan Roman Riquelme and I can only hope that Marcelo Bielsa will give him the call for the next world cup. Otherwise he will hate him like Diego Armando Maradona despised Cesar Luis Menotti for not including him on the 1978 World Cup Roster.

    During the '70's and '80s, when one talked about the CONCACAF, two countries came to mind. Mexico and Haiti were the pillars of the CONCACAF. It would have been unfair not to mention the Haitian team that participated in the 1974 World Cup.

    Haitian Football is synonym to Emmanuel Sanon. He was a deadly striker, and always came to the rescue of the national team. When Sanon played, no one knew what to expect since he had the ability to please the fans. He was the symbol of Haitian football; he was the catalyst. When Trinidad beat Mexico in the CONCACAF Elimination for the 74 World Cup, Emmanuel "Manno" Sanon knew that the world would have a chance to see his majestic skills in West Germany.

    During that WC, Haiti shared the same group with Argentina, Italy and Poland. This Haitian squad had many talents such as the goalie, Henri Fancillon; the talented, Philippe Vorbe; The Iron man in the defense, Ernst Jean-Joseph. However, Sanon was the hope of Haiti in the 74 WC. He had to face Dino Zoff who had a world record shut out lasting 1143 minutes. Facing the Italians was not an easy task for the Haitian Internationals.

    The game took place at the historic Munich Stadium. The world was watching a battle between Goliath and David. Haitians celebrated in the streets just to see their country among the best in the world. They knew that their team would not be able to compete against the giants of the world. On the other hand, they knew that the world would have a chance to see the Haitian Pele. Certainly the world did see the talented Sanon in the 46th minute.

    After receiving a magnificent thru-ball by Philippe Vorbe, Emmanuel Sanon managed to dribble Zoff and catapulted the ball in the net to give Haiti a 1-0 lead over Italy; thereby ended the 1143 minutes Zoff shut out. I could imagine how the Haitians felt. I was unable to participate in that celebration since I was only 5 years old. I wish I were part of celebration. Even though Haiti lost the game 1-3, the world had witnessed the Haitian Pele who shocked the world by beating one of the best goalies in the world, Dino Zoff.

    I could compare the atmosphere in Haiti after Sanon gave Haiti the lead against Italy with the atmosphere in Honduras after beating Brazil 2-0 in the recent Copa America. Who would not want to be part of these celebrations? Only football could bring such a joy to a whole country. In Africa, we have witnessed the Nigerian celebrations after qualifying for the World Cup 2002 and left Liberia of George Weah in such agony. It would have been a similar Nigerian celebration if Daniel Amokachi had been able to get rid of Roberto Baggio and Italy in the 1994 World Cup.

    Football does bring joy to every nation; Football unites the world. In Colombia, we have seen the emotions of the players after winning the Copa America when no one thought that the Copa America could have ever been played. This is what football is all about. This is what the World Cup is all about. It's all about emotions and pride. It's all about taking it to the highest level!

    As 2002 is approaching we hope to see the underdogs. There's always something special about the underdogs. It took a Haitian International to end Zoff's shut out. It took Honduras to humiliate Brazil. We hope to see some of the new faces from Africa, from the CONCACAF, From Europe and South America. For the underdogs, winning is not everything. By being there, they have achieved their goals, they are defending their national pride.

    What a day it shall be, the opening day of the WC 2002! Certainly, one must find some ways to escape from professional duties in order to follow such an exciting tournament. For most of us, the time for the games might become an issue; my words of advice get some caffeine. For myself, nothing will put me to sleep, I will be ready to watch whenever time it might be. I can sincerely attest that the avid soccer fans will be wide-awake as the whole world comes together in Korea and Japan. May the best team win. I won't make any predictions yet since Ruud Doevendans, our columnist, had already made his. But, I will make one too! Who knows? I might follow the path of Ruud. So far, my life has not been spared by Brazil. I can only hope that the boys of Scolari will do their best to keep me alive at the end of the CONMEBOL qualifiers.



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