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.
Read earlier columns
Happy World Cup 2006: A Tribute to the 32 Participants
[First, let me apologize to the British fans for stating in my last article that the 2006 could be the year of the hooligans. A passionate British fan wrote to me and voiced his concern over the hooligan’s term. It was a well written and polite note. To England and the fans of the 1966 World Cup winning team, please accept my most sincere apologies. Now, let’s get back to business.]
Many of you have been waiting for me to voice my opinion on the FIFA World Cup draw, but during that time, I chose to remain silent. Even if I wanted to come up with an article, it would have been quite difficult for me to have written such an eloquent piece like my dear columnist colleague, Peter Goldstein. Great Job, Peter!
On the other hand, I must also steal a line from Peter’s column by saying, if we have to get the Mathematics majors, the English majors and the Sociology majors, it will be a good idea to get the Computer Science majors involved because it appears that they might be able to get Sepp Blatter and his crew some algorithmic lessons to stop coming with these ridiculous World Cup draws. This is the only comment that I am going to say about the draw.
In 2002, I made some bold predictions. However in 2006, I plan not to make any wild prediction. But, as the New Year starts, I extend my best wishes to all nations that will participate in the greatest showdown on earth in Germany. To the fans of these nations, from the adolescents to the adults, may this 2006 World Cup bring you the greatest memories that will last a lifetime. After all, the little ones are the ones who will attempt to come with all the great soccer moves by imitating their World Cup idols. For myself, I used to be known in my community in Petion-Ville, Haiti, as the #7 “ Jorge Luis Burruchaga, that crucified Germany in 86. To some of my Brazilian childhood friends, they associated themselves, with Zico, Dr. Socrates, Karl Heinz Rummenigge, Falcao, Platini, Kevin Keegan, and some even claimed to be Maradona and Pele, and I won’t even comment on the fight to wear the # 10 jersey. This is what the World Cup is all about, and we welcome the 2006 because this is the year that all football fans across all continents have been waiting for.
From Africa to South America, we welcome the year 2006 with a big bang because we are about to see whether or not if the World Cup 2006 trophy will remain in the European continent. We are about to see whether or not the European contenders, Germany, Netherlands, England, Italy, France and Spain will have what it takes to destroy the Samba from Brazil and the Tango from Argentina. Better yet, will Cote d’ Ivoire ( Ivory Coast) defend the African Continent by proving all pundits wrong. Will Ivory Coast with the fantastic Didier Drogba bring the first World Cup trophy to the Dark Continent. Or, will the USA and Mexico fight for the prestige of the CONCACAF, and after seeing the 2005 Confederation Cup in Germany, I believe that Mexico can bring back the World Cup trophy to the land of the Aztecs.
Or will Costa Rica bring prestige back to the football of the Mayas. Or better yet, will Trinidad & Tobago bring the carnival atmosphere with them in Germany while their citizens are celebrating in the streets of Port-of-Spain. Surely, I would have been very happy to be part of this Carnival in the land of Jah, perhaps
the Ethiopians and the Jamaicans might disagree with me, but I’ll defend my position. Will the South American Giants, Brazil and Argentina face each other in the semi-finals and then to take on the European lions? If it were to happen, can Argentina stop this Brazilian HuRRRicane in referring to Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Robinho. Or will Argentina Tango be able to resist the AK-47 of the Brazilian arsenal in referring to Adriano and Kaka. Or Should I say that will the Trio, RTC (Riquelme, Tevez, Crespo) fight to the last minute to bring back the spirit of Maradona who sent the Brazil of Careca pack their luggage for Rio de Janeiro in Italy 1990. Or should I say that, will the South American footballer of the year, Carlos Tevez, reveal the Brazilians' secret to the great Juan Roman Riquelme, or does Riquelme really need to know the secret? Or will the young Messi become the Messi-ah for Argentina. Better yet, can Argentina overcome the fury of Didier Drogba the talented striker for Ivory Coast. Will he and Crespo drive their teams to the world’s biggest sporting event, better known as the FIFA World Cup. Will the Aussies shock the world again after they sent Uruguay of Recoba and Forlan pack for Montevideo? Will the Aussies under Guus Hiddink prove that they belong to the big dance by spoiling the party of the great contenders? That remains to be seen. Will South Korea and Japan step it up to the highest level to bring back the respect to the Asian football. Will Arthur Antunes Coimbra (Zico) shock his own country by replacing the Brazilian Samba dance with the Bon-Odori dance of the Japanese summer festivals? Can South Korea pull another 2002 in Germany 2006? We all have to wait to witness history again.
However we all know that the pundits already hand out the World Cup to Brazil. For some reasons, the pundits appear to be very confident that Brazil will take it all. To some extent, we might somewhat agree with the pundits when you start naming: Ronaldo, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Robinho, Adriano, Roberto Carlos, Dida… I, myself, will take a lineup like this overnight. But we have to wonder what the other superstars for the other countries are thinking. Now let’s continue with the superstars of the World Cup contenders.
Will David Beckham drive England to the biggest prize in the world after 40 years? Or will Wayne Rooney keep his cool to destroy the opponents with his majestic technical skills? Or will Stephen Gerrard display once again his magnificent skills in the 2005 Champions league when he carried Liverpool back into the game after being 0-3 down against AC Milan, therefore dashing Hernan Crespo’s dream of winning a Champions League trophy? We all are waiting to see the final outcome.
Will Ruud van Nistelrooy rise to the occasion by bringing the trophy back to “Pays-Bas”? Will Cocu find a way to avenge the 1978 WC defeat of Holland of Arie Haan against Argentina of Mario Alberto Kempes. Or Better, will Edwin van der Sar drive Holland to the world's greatest sporting Prize? That remains to be seen.
Will Cristiano Ronaldo show why Portugal deserves to be among the contenders of this World Cup? Will he bring back the spirit of Eusebio back to an excellent Portuguese team? Will the former Brazilian coach, Felipe Scolari, find a way to give Portugal the world's most coveted sporting prize? Again we will have to find out in 6 months for now.
Will Raul Gonzalez Blanco better known as Raul recover in time to lead Spain to the World Cup trophy? Will Canizares drive Spain to the land of milk and honey? Again, in 6 months, we will find out.
Will Michael Ballack put the fighting spirit of Lothar Matthäus in his mind by saying that this 2006 World Cup belongs to Germany? And therefore no other country can come here to celebrate in our country. May the fighting spirit of Karl Heinz Rummenigge, Paul Breitner, Andreas Brehme be with this German team that is about to defend the homeland of Germany with class and dignity.
Since we all have heard the famous Latin citation in 2005: “Habemus Papam” ( We have a Pope), does that mean Germany might win the World Cup since we have now a German Pope in the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI, who was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany. However, I wonder what the Italians might say.
Will Francesco Totti bring the glory days of Italy back? Will Totti avenge the loss of Italy of Roberto Baggio in USA 94 against the Brazilian team of Romario and Bebeto? Will Italy forget about using the concatenacio by letting the opponents know that this time it won’t be like in 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002? This time it will be serious business. Or should Totti go to the Vatican to ask Pope Benedict XVI, the permission to take over the Germans. Will the Pope be the fan of Germany or Italy? Most likely a fan of Vatican, and therefore we can conclude that the Pope will be on the side of Germany, but again, the Pope will keep this to himself.
Italy will certainly be a contender but their players need to play like they played in 82 against a superb Brazilian national team. We need to see another Dino Zoff performance in 2006. Italy needs to have another Paolo Rossi, Marco Tardelli, Gaetano Scirea, and certainly some sort spiritual blessings from the Vatican. Otherwise, we might witness an Italy who did succumb in front of Argentina in 1990 in the San Paolo Stadium “di Napoli”, a place where Diego “Dieguito” Armando Maradona was canonized as “Maradona Sanctus” ( Saint Maradona). May the Forza Azzurri step it up to the highest level because Rome, the eternal city, deserves another World Cup that will certainly be celebrated “in la Basilica di San Puerto”. If the divine ponytail of Roberto Baggio was not enough to catapult the Brazilians in 1994; in 2006 may the Forza Azzurri find a way to bring the Trophy back to the Vatican; After all, in mathematical terms, Vatican City is a subset of Italy.
Will Jared Borgetti of Mexico find away to display a spectacular performance as he did against Germany in the Confederations cup of 2005? Will he bring Mexico to the class of the elite? Will we witness the celebration in Mexico City on July 9 2006? Again, we have to wait to find out the reaction “en la Tierra Azteca”.
Will Landon Donovan fight to show why the Americans do belong to the big dance? Will the USA prove to the world that they are capable to beat any team, and will the men of Bruce Arena join the rank of the elite? Again, soon we will find out.
Will Pavel Nevded bring inspiration to the Czech Republic squad? Will the Czech Republic imitate the Greek performance in the last European championship? In June, we will know the end of the story.
Will Togo, Ghana, Tunisia, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Switzerland, Serbia & Montenegro, Poland, and Sweden challenge the contenders to be part of the big dance? Can Poland, Sweden, Croatia and Serbia & Montenegro prove that they belong to the 18th grandiose celebration of the World Cup by shocking the pundits? Can Ukraine and Switzerland prove that they can represent the European continent with class, prestige and dignity? Can Ecuador and Paraguay, at least, find the strength to represent the South American Continent? Can they at least knock some heavy favorites to pave the way so that Argentina or Brazil can keep the trophy in the American continent? Can the Iranian Internationals bring a bit of joy to the land of Persia where the people of Iran will celebrate. May the land of the Aryans bring some peaceful joy in the Middle East.
Will Zinedine Zidane (Zizou) guide France to the world ‘s most prestigious sporting prize like he did in France 1998? Will Thierry Henry and Trezeguet erase the memories of the 2002 World Cup that took place in the land of the rising sun? On July 9th 2006, Will the French take the streets to celebrate in the city of lights by chanting “Allez les Bleus! Allez les Bleus”. It’s up to Zizou, Henry, Trezeguet to conduct the French Orchestra like the famous French conductor, Claude Achille Debussy.
Will Juan Roman Riquelme show that he deserves to be the world footballer of the year? Then, this will be Roman’s opportunity for him to show to the world that he can drive Argentina to the Glory land in style. For Roman, the time has come for him to show to the Van Gaals, the Rijkaards, the Antics that he is the real deal out there. Will the ex-Boca Juniors midfielder, the Villarreal conductor, the master of all midfielders rise up to the occasion by offering to the “Albiceleste” fans the ultimate bragging rights in South America? Such bragging rights will finally give the Argentina fans the upper hand against the “Auriverde” fans. Will, the Quad, R-T-M-C ( Roman- The master of all midfielders; Tevez-the Revealer of the Brazilian Secret; Messi, The Messi-ah; Crespo, the finisher of all finishers) drive the trophy out of Germany to the land of the “Rio Platense”. The time has come for Argentina to erase the memory of Andreas Brehme in Italy 1990, the agonizing defeat in USA 1994 against an excellent Romanian team with a fantastic Gheorghe Hagi complemented by an excellent goalie, Prunea, who destroyed the hope of the great Archangel, Gabriel Omar Batistuta—Batigol; the devastating loss against Netherlands in France 1998 after Dennis Bergkamp left Roberto Ayala helpless and then sent Argentina packing for Buenos Aires and finally, the humiliating 2002 World Cup that caused a nightmare for every die-hard Albiceleste Fan. In football, there will always be another chance; but this time, will Riquelme step it up to drive Argentina to “La Tierra Promesa” since Veron failed to do it in 2002? Let’s wait for July 9th 2006 because the truth will set all of us free!
For myself, will my first new-born, Noah Christian-Pierre, bring me some fatherhood luck after 20 years of waiting for Argentina to win a World Cup? Will he bring his father out of that long period of suffering…And what a precious moment will it be? Or will I be again ridiculed by my dearest Brazilian, Haitian friends, engineering colleagues if Argentina suffers an early exit. Will my brother, Stephan Vladimir, be able to suffer another disappointment and the humiliation from his die-hard Brazilian fans. Or will I ever be able to show up in a well-known Haitian restaurant in Boston where 70% of customers do support Brazil? I’ll answer it on July 9th. For now, may Roman Riquelme be the savior and Lionel Messi, the messi-ah for Argentina.
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, let us celebrate another fantastic World Cup 2006. Let every kid in the world take a soccer ball and start imitating the magnificent technical skills of the world’s superb soccer stars. After all, this is the World Cup, it is a moment of joy where the whole world is united. It is the tournament of all tournaments. The whole world will focus its attention on Germany from June to July 2006. The whole world will witness history in the making. Yes, there will be sorrow… but scoring a goal against Brazil like Haiti did against Italy in 1974, will bring joy to a whole nation. The same joy that happened in 1974 in the streets of Port-au-Prince; or the fantastic celebration that we have witnessed in 2002 in the streets of Dakar, may the same joy erupts in the streets of Port-of- Spain, Lome (Togo), Yamoussoukro ( Ivory Coast), San Jose (Costa Rica), Zagreb, Quito, Asuncion, Accra (Ghana), Teheran, Tokyo, Seoul, Tunis, Mexico City, Luanda (Angola), Canberra ( Australia), Prague, Warsaw, Bern, Stockholm, Kyiv (Ukraine), Riyadh, Belgrade, and Washington, DC. After all, for the underdogs, it’s not about winning but it’s about being there.
However, for the giants, winning is everything. And, may the best national team win.
Happy World Cup 2006 to every soccer fan in the whole universe... And for the good of the game, may the referees keep it clean!
Until the next article, Good bye... Happy New Year... And see you in Germany this summer!
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