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 Cup Rounds of Elimination: Time of Zero Tolerance

    There wonít be any more time for speculation. There wonít be any more time for rectifying mistakes. There wonít be any more time to come up with some mathematical formulas to figure out whether or not a national team will be making it to the second round. There wonít be any more time to take any opponent lightly. It is a time to focus and to play the game at the highest level. If not, then get ready to take a flight back to your country. It is a time of Zero Tolerance.

    Thereís no such thing as an easy team. Many of us wrote Ghana out of the tournament. Now, the Brazilians better be ready to face a tough opponent from the African continent. The only team that is going to represent Africa and no opponent can take them lightly. It is a historic moment for Ghana, and their people deserve to celebrate while theyíll be taking on the Auriverde conducted by the talented Ronaldinho. Iíve seen Ghana and I like what I saw. Will they overtake Brazil? That I donít know, but one thing I know is that theyíll give their best and I hope that they will play with discipline. If not the Brazilians with their quadratic magical formula will overtake them at ease.

    On the other hand, we have seen Australia. Is there such thing as an easy team in this World Cup? The answer is a solid no. The Australians have shown that they do belong the big dance, and now may the Italians get ready because the Socceroos can make it miserable for the men of Marcelo Lippi. There wonít be any time to use the concatenacio tactic. If the Italians decide to use this tactic, then they can pack their bags for Rome, the eternal city. The national team of Australia is not ready to go to Melbourne yet because their goal is to cause some major upset in this tournament. They have played with determination against Croatia. They showed character even when the English referee, Pohl, decided to give a Croatian player, 3 yellow cards, before ejecting him. It wonít be easy for the Italians and the same can always be said for the Australians.

    It is the moment of zero tolerance. Zero tolerance means no room for errors. Any error will be catastrophic. Teams such as Argentina, Germany and Spain are very hungry to win this tournament. These teams are much focused. And I donít think that these teams are going to commit errors that can cost them the tournament. They will be focused and their respective opponents, Mexico, Sweden, and France must play their best football if they ever think of overtaking these Giants of Football. The beauty of the game of Football is that it does not play on paper. One has to play the game. And thatís the bottom line. The pundits can come up with any combination but in 2002 I learned a harsh lesson not to ever listen to any pundits. It is for this reason that I refrain myself from making any predictions. As readers, I know that most of you by now know which team that I am supporting.

    Despite not supporting some other teams, I like to see good football as well. Thus, I must congratulate most of the teams that did not make it to the second round. I think most teams have given their best. However, I must mention Trinidad & Tobago for their fighting spirits. The players have given their utmost against Sweden. They have shown that they were up to the task against England; and it was great to see Latapy for a final moment at the world cup stage. I could not say it better than my columnist colleague, Peter Goldstein. This is the world Cup for all of us. On the other hands, I must congratulate the United States of America for their fight against Italy. Despite crashing out against the Czechs, they have resurrected themselves against the Italians and played a competitive game against Ghana. However, the referees were the USAís biggest opponents. As Claudio Reyna retired from International Football, I would like to thank him for the illusion that he had brought to football in the USA started at the University of Virginia. We shall not forget Costa Rica for giving their best against Germany. We shall not forget either the South Koreans for their attacking football. I had expected them to make it through the second round. The Ivory Coast has played great football and thanks to Didier Drogba and company. For the National team of Togo, we have to be sympathetic to them, since the Togo Federation of Football has refused to pay these players who have fought hard to bring joy to the people of Togo. The same thing could have happened in my own country, Haiti, as well. FIFA must put in place some strict rules or sanctions to avoid such ridicules.

    As we enter the rounds of elimination. We expect to see a fantastic German national team. We expect to see the Jogo Bonito from Brazil. We expect to see the Tango from Argentina. We expect to see the fighting spirit from Mexico. Will Mexico ruin my World Cup? I pray to God not to make it happen. We expect to see the Aussies shock the world. We expect Ghana to cause the major upset in this World cup; that remains to be seen. We expect Italy to gain some divine help from the Vatican, but again Pope Benedict XVI is from Germany. Will this ever happen? Any answer is acceptable, but I donít plan to answer it. Please email the pope benedictxvi@vatican.va and ask him.

    On the other hand, we have to ask ourselves Can Shevchenko find his way to drive Ukraine to the glory land? Can Beckham step it up to drive England to the land of greatness and help the English forgetting ďLa Mano de DiosĒ de Maradona? Can the Brits erase this painful memory? Will Kewell and company capture the world attention? Can Zidane rise up to the occasion by bringing the Trophy back to Paris, the city of lights? Will Raul show why heís the best of Spain by conducting the Spanish Orchestra? Will Appiah give the world one more chance to see Michael Essien of Ghana? First Ghana must fight to send Brazil back to Rio de Janeiro; this is not an easy task but not impossible. Will Delgado and Valencia find some altitude in their games to fight for the South American Continent? Will Deco and Figo bring some joy to the people of Portugal by writing the final chapter in the book that Eusebio has started since 1966? Will Arjen Robben and Van Nilsteroy of the Pays-Bas find away to succumb their opponents? Letís enjoy some great football as these questions are about to be answered.

    As we approach the rounds of zero tolerance. We hope that the referees will be up to the task. Iíve seen enough bad calls this week to the point that I will give the referees a total of 6/10. It seems that we are about to see a repetition of 2002. Letís hope not. To my great surprise, a Graham Poll, the British Referee have given a player 3 yellow cards before ejecting him. The worse of it all, none of the linesmen or the fought referee brought this to his attention. This was a circus. We are humans and we expect the referees to commit errors, but awarding bogus penalty kicks should not be part of the game. We ask all referees to judge the game fairly. This is as simple as it can get; The round of elimination is a crucial moment, and the games must be judges as they should be because going to the second round is no longer a dream

    In the round elimination, thereís no more dreaming. It is a real as it can get. Thereís wonít be any more sleeping time. This is as real as it gets. If a referee makes a bad call, let it go and play the game. Any millisecond is precious. And the game is not over until the fat lady sings. Play the game with passion! Defend the colors of the National teams with pride! Go out there and fight for the worldís biggest sporting prize. This is the FIFA World Cup! The excitement continues and the pressure is on. This is the time for Zero Tolerance.

Until my next article, Goed tot ziens!



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