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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A World Cup reflection in my darkest hour

    There’s no tournament better than the World Cup. This 2002 World Cup has been so far spectacular and it will continue to be that way until the final game. We have seen the non-favorites raise their game to the highest level. A magnificent level that left the pundits speechless with their dull predictions.

    In this World Cup we have seen the majestic defensive tactics displayed by Sweden and Denmark. We have seen the courage displayed by Mexico to fight against the giant Italy, which was on the verge to suffer a dramatic upset. As I was watching the last minutes of the injury time of Mexico vs. Italy, It seems that I was watching a basketball game where the players were passing the balls to wait for the final whistle. The Mexicans gave a lesson to the Italians, a very good one indeed for the men of Trapattoni. Due to a little bit of luck, the Italians have managed to stay in the tournament after Croatia failed to obtain 3 points against Ecuador. Now, Italy won’t make it easy for the other teams.

    I was very pleased by the Mexican national team's performance and also very happy for the CONCACAF. In the 1970s and early 80’s, my parents and friends used to tell me that Mexico used to be a nightmare for Haiti. Although both countries were the best teams at the time in the CONCACAF, somehow it was very difficult for Haiti to get rid of the Mexican ghost like Beckham did against Argentina. However, the Haitians have managed to get there in the 1974 World Cup after some controversial calls made by the referee. Nonetheless, Haiti made it to 1974 and somehow managed to score first against Italy of Zoff and Bettega, and the country exploded after the goal by the talented Emmanuel ”Manno” Sannon.

    Watching Mexico playing that magnificent game against Italy definitely sent some chills to my bones. I wish I were in Mexico City that day, and certainly I would have taken to the streets to jump up and down with the Mexican people. I would have jumped up and down because Mexico represent the CONCACAF. I would have jumped up and down because there used to be many memorable games between Mexico and Haiti at the Sylvio Cator Stadium in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I recall in my childhood when Haiti was 1-0 against Mexico, and I started to celebrate in injury time, but only to see the talented Hugo Sanchez tie the game. It was a memorable game; it was nailbiting time as Victor Angel and Hugo Sanchez were determined not to lose that game against Haiti. I’ve seen the same determination of this current Mexican national team in front of Italy; it was such a memorable performance. This is the World Cup, the biggest tournament, a tournament that brings joy to the winners and sadness to the favorites.

    This World Cup has thought the pundits a lesson; for myself, I’ve learnt my lesson. Fans have been writing to me giving me their point of views; and I do appreciate their comments. It has been very painful for the last few days, and I would not want to suffer the same pain again in 2006. Being a columnist, one has to move on and appreciate the game and the style of the other teams. This is the World Cup, it’s all about happiness and frustration for the true fans of the game. I remember my joy in 1986 when Maradona sent England packing for London. I must have the courage or at least find the courage to accept the English celebration when they sent Bielsa packing. I said “Bielsa” because he had refused to change his ridiculous system; he died with that system and humiliated Batigol by substituting him and making him suffer this agonizing farewell on the bench. However, the Boca Juniors organization is ready to give a fantastic farewell to the great Bati.

    This morning I was reading a British newspaper when I noticed a photo of some Argentina players holding feminine handbags. It was pretty funny, and to tell you the truth, I had to laugh even in the midst of my deepest hole. This week has not been sweet at all; my predictions were wrong and will continue to be wrong. I pledge not to make any prediction; I pledge to keep it to myself. But I would like England to win it. I would like England to win it because the English people have been waiting for this opportunity for 36 years. I would like England to win it since the Hand of God claimed by Maradona humiliated them. I would like them to win it because they beat Argentina, and I hope they can go through. Lastly, I would like them to win it because of the talented David Beckham. He deserves to win the World Cup. He has suffered the humiliation from the British people who considered him as a culprit in 1998, but now he has proven to the world that he can deal with the adversity. He has the desire to succeed even when he is playing with one foot, and that one-day should be called the “foot of God”. I hope England win it all--I hope so. I hope the cup end up in the majestic land of Queen Elizabeth. If not, I will say it as Batistuta said: “May Blatter win it”

    Talking about the majestic land of Queen Elizabeth, we must not forget the Eternal City, Rome. We must not forget The Vatican, and we must not forget the divine intervention that keeps Italy in this tournament. Whatever this divine hand that helped Italy pass to the second round might be, the opponents must be aware. Italy are not going to make it easy. After the disappointing loss in the San Paolo Stadium di Napoli in 1990 against the Argentina of Maradona and Goycochea, the devastating defeat against Brazil of the talented Romario in 1994 WC final, and the monumental loss against France of Zinedine Zidane in 1998, the Italians will do their best to take it to the Eternal City. Perhaps, they should win it all since they have been sympathetic to the Argentines based on my search for some consolation readings.

    I have been reading lot of news lately from foreign sites; some of these sites are Italian, French, British, Portuguese, Brazilian sites. Out of all these sites, the Italians seem to have some sadness for the Argentines. This is not a surprise since there are so many Argentine players in the Serie A. The British sites and the Brazilian sites were the most cruel of all, but this was expected. The Spaniards were somewhat in the middle. But “My God” the Brazilian forums were like a war between the Argentines and the Brazilians. It is the World Cup, fans would express their opinions, and that it was making it so interesting. The only issue is that when fans get very excited, they will cross the lines and then the war of words will continue. We all know that it is for the excitement of the game, no hard feelings.

    The fans have been exciting in this World Cup, we have seen the joy of the Koreans, the magnificent celebration of the Japanese, the unbelievable atmosphere in Dakar, the relief of the British people, the divine celebration of the Italians, the fantastic atmosphere in Mexico City, the Haitian-Brazilians fans’ Carnival in Port-au-Prince to the dismay of all Haitian-Argentine fans, the relief of the United States of America, the celebration in Asuncion, the Guarani (Paraguay) Capital. I wish I could have been part of all these world celebrations despite my misery this day after seeing the deadly blow suffered by the Albiceleste.

    True fans do understand my feelings. True fans do know what I am talking about. True fans know how excited it could be before and during the World Cup. True fans learn how to agonize a defeat. True fans know that the game is unjust at time. True fans know that the referee can cause them a game that will plunge them in the abyss. True fans do understand what is the World Cup. I’ve met a friend from Cameroon in Houston before the World Cup. We were speaking in French, and it was quite a conversation; it’s like we were living the old days of 1990. We were speaking with passion and excitement even we were from different countries. This is the World Cup, the biggest tournament of all. Let’s enjoy it whether your team makes it to the second round or not. Let’s enjoy it! I will try to resuscitate myself after being buried alive by the group of death and chastised by the Brazilian fans who will continue to be my nightmares for the next four years. I hope to meet the Verde Amarela in the Copa America 2003 to avenge some of this World Cup frustration suffered by the fans of the Albiceleste. Being an Albiceleste fan for 24 years now, I am refused to convert myself into the Verde Amarela, and I hope that the Verde Amarela fans recall June 24th 1990 in “Il Studio Delle Alpi” in Turin when Maradona and Caniggia sent them packing for Rio de Janeiro. Ironically, this time Caniggia was sent packing by Ali Bujsaim, the United Arab Emirates referee.

    There are Some Haitian-Brazilians fans that are trying hard to convert me into their sides but it will never happen. I am willing to suffer the humiliation for the next four years, but I like these fans since it has always been quite a debate with them. Some of them cannot wait to see me back in Boston to remind me of my early exit.

    By the way, Lionel, I will continue to enjoy the World Cup even when I am mourning Argentina’s loss. I hope you won’t be mourning as me, Lionel, now the real test is coming for Brazil and I thank you and all the fans for writing to me. Let’s continue to enjoy it as painful as it might be for some of us; this is all part of the World Cup. I’ve been suffering since 1990, and I hope for a better 2006. This is what the World Cup is all about it. After all, it is a game! A very special game indeed that crosses every boundary. Let’s hope the referees keep the game clean this time as Italy and Turkey almost not made it to the second round. Besides all, this is a magnificent World Cup, and let’s celebrate and enjoy the knockout stage. It will be painful for the die-hard fans like me, but one has to accept the pain like Beckham did in 1998.



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