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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Showdown in the Sapporo Dome

    There’s no friendship between Argentina and England, and no one should expect these two countries to be friendly towards each other. If England is a world super power when it comes to war, then Argentina is a world super power when it comes to Football. The Argentines will always have the savor of defeat to the British based on the results of the Falklands war, but the British shall always remember the hand of God crafted by Diego Armando Maradona on June 22nd ,1986 at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. If the British had refused to remember the hand of God’s goal, they should have least remembered the unbelievable second goal that sent the British packing for London. Controversy of not, the British could have not resisted the majestic display of the talented Maradona.

    This time in Sapporo, there won’t be any Maradona for Argentina and there won’t be any Lineker for England. We shall have the battle between Juan Sebastian Veron and David Beckham. Perhaps, the British are in disadvantage since it might become a battle between Veron-Simeone vs David Beckham. This time, the most focused team in this tournament is Argentina. I can’t really see how England will beat that team. The stakes will be high this Friday in Japan, and both teams are ready to defend the pride of their respective country. For England, it has been very difficult for them to cast out the Argentina’s ghost, and this time again, it will be more than difficult. The underdogs have been doing well so far in this World Cup, but none of the underdogs would like to face Argentina at this current phase.

    Argentina’s mission is to bring the trophy back to the Americas. With a shaky Brazilian Team, a distraught Paraguayan team, a crumbled Uruguayan national team, and a weak CONCACAF, Americas’ hope is relying on Argentina. Thus the men coached under the direction of Marcelo Bielsa are ready to step it up to defend the pride of a nation and the pride of a continent. In Europe, there are giants like Italy, England, Germany, Portugal and France, but in the Americas we only have Brazil, Argentina, and a not so good Uruguay that continued to disappoint the Americas’ fans.

    The fans from all over the world will be ready to watch this clash again. Perhaps England will have a chance due to the recent upsets caused by the underdogs. Perhaps, Beckham can bring some of his magic as he did against Greece or perhaps Owen will prove why he is the European Footballer of the year. Perhaps Owen, will bring some new moves as he did in France 1998. But this time, he will have Walter Samuel on him, and we all know that Samuel is the best in the business. Owen will have to invent something new in order to have a chance to pierce the Argentine defense. If 1998 was a shock to the British after Argentina sent them home, this time in 2002, it might be a coup de grace for the British since losing this game will make it very difficult for them to advance to the second round. Let’s embrace ourselves to watch this game with all the emotions needed; this game will be much more than a game; it will have a symbolic meaning to both countries; the players are ready to defend their country with pride.

    Players like Juan Sebastian Veron knew how the press treated him while playing for Manchester United this year. He is focused to bring the trophy back home at the expense of the British. Veron will be ready for the showdown; He will be extra motivated to show why he is regarded among the best in the world. He will be England’s biggest enemy this Friday. He will defend his country, and he put it clearly this week when he said:” I have no feelings for the British people.” With statement like this, Veron will have to back it up on Friday. In the Battle of Veron vs Beckham, there’s no doubt that Veron will win the battle, but the most important thing to Argentina is to continue with the legacy established by Diego ”Dieguito” Armando Maradona. La “Brujita” Veron will have something very special for the British fans. There won’t be any friendship between Veron and Beckham this Friday, but there won’t be any ill feelings either. Both of them will do their best to drive their country to the glory land.

    If the glory land means going to the second round for the British; in the case of Argentina, it means to bring the trophy where it belongs; and that is in the Americas. If the provocation of Simeone against Beckham in France 1998, will motivate the talented Beckham to bring his best, then so be it. However, the British players need to know that they will compete against world class players such as Gabriel Omar Batistuta, Diego Pablo Simeone, Juan Sebastian Veron, Hernan Crespo, Claudio Lopez, Killy Gonzalez, Claudio “el Pajaro” Paul Caniggia, Ortega, Pablo Aimar, Gallardo, Diego Placente, Ayala, etc. These players can create nightmares for England, and we all know what Batistuta can do. Well, one might say that Bati had a bad year in Roma. Ok, but he has nothing to prove, he has been scoring goals for the past 10 years. His goal is to win the World Cup and retire from International duties. This is his last chance to be in the rank of Maradona, Kempes, Olguin, Tarantini, Luque, Valdano, Jorge Luis Burruchaga, etc. Thus, the British defenders must be in high alert, if not he will do the same thing he did to Manchester United when he was playing for Fiorentina. For Bati, he has been there before, he knew that in 1998 he hit the post against Holland, but this time he will make sure that it ends up in the bottom net of the team under Ericksson.

    The men of Eriksson will come with a vengeance, but they better be careful since the final score could be a disgrace for the British. Everybody expects a close game, I don’t see it that way, Argentina’s strikers are ready to score and they will score whether Seaman is on goal or not. There will be many long balls from the British in that game that could cause headache for the Argentina’s defense, and that is the only sure way that England will score or on a Beckham free kick. But Argentina is ready to face England, as England is also ready to do the same. Which team wants it the most, it must be England, but I doubt it.

    Argentina is on a mission to take care of any unfinished business. So far so good, 6 more games to go for the Men conducted by Bielsa; only six more, and now let’s wait for the game as Argentina is ready not to follow the path of the 1982 Brazilian team. It is a solid team that is ready to make history. The game in the Sapporo Dome will not end in a tie; forget about a tie. It is a game where we shall see everything and we might even see some red cards, but may Collina have some sympathy for the players. Collina is familiar with the Argentine players, and I hope he will do very well and not to fall in the trap of South Korean referee Kim that handed the game to the Brazilians and angered the Turks. Being the world’s best soccer referee, he is ready to take charge between the giant of South America and one of the giants of Europe. Let’s get ready; let’s be focused as we are ready to witness history in the making on June 7th in the Sapporo Dome in Japan.



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