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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My World Cup memories

    The World Cup is a tournament where the fans enjoy seeing the world's best players. In this World Cup we are going to see many individual talents among the contenders. However, it will be quite difficult for one player to bring the trophy back to his country. If Diego Armando Maradona did it in 1986, then which player of these days can bring the trophy back to his country? Perhaps not, however we, the fans, will be ready to see some new technical moves this summer. As a young kid, when I use to watch World Cups (78,82,86,90), it was a joy for all of us in the neighborhood to reproduce some of the best moves made by the following players: Arie Haan, Rene and Willy van der Kerkhof of Holland; the talented Polish international, Boniek; The magnificent Roberto Bettega of Italy; the matador, Mario Kempes of Argentina, the magnificent pass by Philippe Vorbes of Haiti to Emmanuel Sannon who scored in 1974 to give Haiti a 1-0 lead against Italy; The magnificent defensive skills displayed by Marius Tresor of France and Amaral of Brazil; The divine moves of Roberto Baggio, the majestic skills of Gary Lineker; the talented Roger Milla; the graceful skills of Michel Platini coupled with the brillant display of Zico and Maradona.

    These were the moves that kids of my neighborhood used to imitate; for myself, my alias was Burruchaga. It was a big deal to every kid in the neighborhood, many of us had an alias. It was quite fun and I hope that I could have been a kid again. But this time, there are many kids all over the world who are going to associate themselves with some of the world's best players this summer.

    Among those players, we shall find the magician Rivaldo of Brazil, Zinedine Zidane of France, the Franco-Argentine Trezeguet or should I rather say the Frenchman; the Argentine playmaker, Juan Sebastian Veron of Argentina; the talented young American, Donovan; the Archangel Gabriel Omar Batistuta or should I rather say the eternal Bati. The talented Portuguese, Luis Figo, oh what a joy to finally watch him at the highest level! I can go on with so many names that kids will associate themselves with. This is why the World Cup is fun. As I recalled the first World Cup that I had seen, precisely the 1978 World Cup, I could remember all the controversy. I could remember the controversial game Argentina vs. Peru (6-0); Argentina had to beat Peru by four goals in order to prevent Brazil going to the final against the Holland locomotive. This 6-0 result was questionable, but again how would we know? Definitely this was worth some investigations. The brillant display by Mario Alberto Kempes of Argentina was a joy to watch. The classic display of Roberto Rivelino kept replaying in my memory. The ball that hit the post that prevented Holland to win the World Cup in 78 kept playing in my memory bank, and many times Iíve asked myself, what if that ball had gone in? What would have happened in the Monumental Stadium of River Plate? Would that be comparable to the Brazilís loss against Uruguay in the Maracana Stadium?

    I also remember that Roberto Bettega of Italy gave Argentina their only loss in 1978. I also recall the fabulous Polish national team guided by Lato and Boniek. Letís see what Poland will bring for us in 2002, we all remember them from 1982 in Spain; Paolo Rossi had to put an end to this. I also remembered the tight defense of Gaetano Scirea on Maradona and the ejection of Maradona for kicking the Brazilian player; I also remember some of the great moves by Teofilo ďNeneĒ Cubillas and Hector Chumpitaz both of Peru. I can now see in my memory that killer shot by Leopoldo Luque of Argentina who sent Roger Bertrand-Demanes, the French goalie to retirement.

    I could also recall the great comeback of Germany against a talented French national team conducted by a superb Michel Platini, he really deserved a World Cup trophy. I quickly recalled the memorable game between England and Cameroon; too bad for Makanaky and Milla, since they could not pull it off at the end due to the two penalty kicks awarded by the Mexican-Uruguayan referee, Codesal. Needless to say the same Codesal awarded a questionable penalty to Germany against Argentina in the 1990 final. I also remembered the memorable game in 1994 between Italy and Nigeria, and too bad for Amokachi and company, Baggio sent Nigeria packing for Lagos. (Baggio, we wish you all the best with your operation, and thanks for all the great World Cup and Serie A moments) These were some of my World Cup memories.

    On a personal note, I also remembered that I got banned from watching soccer for the rest of the summer since I almost failed my schoolastic year; the Jesuit faculty members recommended to my parents that I spent the whole summer in school; It was not pretty but my parents learned a lesson for allowing to stay at my aunt's house to watch the World Cup with my cousins and friends. Needless to say that during this World Cup, I barely touched a book; OK, I was only nine years old, what did I know then? Well as a kid, I figured out that I already passed on average based on the grades of the previous two semesters, but the Jesuit faculty members were not happy my last result, although I passed; therefore my summer after the 1978 World Cup was miserable. For the kids out there, please do your classwork before the games.

    Iíve watched many World Cup games but out of all the millions moves Iíve seen; my favorite was the classic pass that Zico gave to Socrates to tie the game for Brazil against Italy 1982. This is buried in my memory, and many times Iíve attempted to reproduce it on the soccer pitch, of course not successful as Arthur Coimbra (Zico). This is what made the World Cup a great tournament. After watching the games, kids took their soccer balls and attempted to reproduce these highly technical moves, and many of them were successful. The World Cup is a passion, a joy, a pass time, and definitely a religion for those who live and eat football. It is a game where even if you are hungry and your team is playing, then you wonít feel like eating. In 1990, I had a Calculus course, and to tell you the truth, I skipped that session so I could watch the Argentina-Italy game. What a game that was! Again in 1994, I had a final exam in graduate school; I had to ask the professor if I could take my exam the day after so it wouldn't interfere with the Argentina-Bulgaria game.

    This is why passion is all about this game. Again in 1998, too bad I had to work, but thanks for the net; I had to force myself to stay at work during Argentina-England, the game went to OT, and I left work around 5:30 and did not know the result, and called my friends not to reveal any score to me. Needless to say when I got home, I quickly proceeded to watch the game. What a game! Letís hope we'll see another one like this this summer, and will Beckham have the mental fitness to lay the Argentine ghost? When the World Cup starts this summer, I am sure that I will be watching the games; but the only thing Iíll miss is the fact that I am no longer a kid to associate myself with a player. I know there are many kids who will miss watching Ruud van Nistelrooy, Shevchenko, Oscar Cordoba, Kluivert, Viduka, and many other great players; for all of us who do appreciate Henik Larsson, we hope that he will be able to earn his respect. Let's hope he does it. If I were a kid, the player that I would associate myself with is Juan Roman Riquelme, the Boca Juniors superstar. National Pressure will force Bielsa to call the young talented midfielder.

    Letís enjoy the World Cup since this is a true world tournament as fans from all over the world are ready to celebrate and may the underdogs bring the best out of the giants, and may the best national team win the prestigious trophy.



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