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
A reflection on the 2006 World Cup
It has been quite a month; a month where we have witnessed the pain of losing and the joy of winning. For some of us who live in the Americas, we neither will see Argentina, nor shall we see Brazil as well in the World Cup Final. For me, I am still in the recovering process after Germany had sent Argentina packing for Buenos Aires. As difficult that losing this game might be to the Albiceleste fans, we should say that Germany stepped it up when it counts the most. We should credit the coach of Germany to stay with his lineups while Pekerman, Argentina’s coach, crumbled under pressure. Argentina was the hope of a country, and a hope for the South American continent.
Despite the elimination of Argentina, there was a bit of hope for the Americas, but again the French sent the Brazilians packing for Rio de Janeiro. To this day, I am still wondering, what has happened to Riquelme and Ronaldinho? These two players were supposed to bring the World Cup Trophy to the people of the Americas. Now, Zidane and Totti have rightly stolen the big show. One could easily say that it was acceptable for Argentina to crumble against Germany; but the Brazilians should have done better. However, we all know that the French owned the Brazilians when it comes to the World Cup. However, I refused to accept that Argentina had lost against Germany and I also refused to accept that Brazil had lost against France. It is time for countries such as Uruguay and Paraguay to step up because Argentina and Brazil are the only two countries that can fight with the European giants.
I think that we can agree that the Brazilians deserved to go home since they did not show up at all. I can accept this. However, for Argentina to go home, that was a blow to a whole country and to the avid fans of the Albiceleste. I’ve said enough about Pekerman, and I hope that Julio Grondona, the President of the Football Association of Argentina and FIFA Vice-President, won’t try to convince Pekerman to stay. Some fans are still asking for Pekerman, but I hope he sticks to his resignation. A team like Argentina should have been in Berlin on July 9th. There should not be any excuses, but the coach has destroyed the team against Germany.
Despite the coaching decision to get rid of Riquelme. I must also say that Riquelme has also disappointed me. Most of you know that I truly appreciate Juan Roman Riquelme. For me to go against Riquelme, it took a lot. This is not the Riquelme that I used to see. I did not see the aggressive Riquelme. I don’t know what has happened to him. The game against Germany was a game that Riquelme was supposed to drive Argentina past the Germany. I did not see a confident Riquelme. I saw a tired Juan Roman Riquelme. To this day, I am still trying to find what has happened to Riquelme. In an article from Infobae.com in Argentina, the journalists came that Riquelme had some issues with Crespo and he did not want to pass the ball to Crespo. Perkerman stated that Riquelme made some bad decisions in the Germany’s game, and he took him out. I could support Pekerman on this, but he should have brought in Aimar and Messi instead of Cruz and Cambiasso. This is football; at times it does become very painful.
If Juan Roman Riquelme did not play like Diego Armando Maradona or Mario Alberto Kempes, then we would have expected Ronaldinho Gaucho de Assis Moreira to show to the world if he’s really better than the best player of all times, Diego Armando Maradona. On November 27, 2005, Edson Arantes Do Nascimento, Pele, made a ridiculous statement that Ronaldinho is better than Maradona. Well, I must say that Ronaldinho has proven to Pele that he’s not better than Diego and that will never happen. To be the best, one has to show it in the World Cup. To be the best does not mean to only show it at the club level. For Maradona, he has shown it both at Napoli and also gave the 1986 World Cup trophy to Argentina. This is what we have expected to see from Riquelme and Ronaldinho. They were the players that we have counted on for the Americas, and they did not take charge to bring the World Cup 2006 to the Americas.
We have seen Kempes taking over Argentina in 1978. We have seen Zico taking over Brazil in 1982 despite the devastating lost against the Italians. We have seen Maradona taking over in 1986 after Germany tied the final game 2-2. In 1990, the same Maradona fought his way to the final game against Germany again but only to be robbed by the Uruguayan born Mexican referee. In 1994 we have seen the Bebeto and Romario of Brazil taking over to win the World Cup for the Auriverde. In 1998, we have seen a determined Rivaldo succumbed against the France of Zidane, but in 2002 he drove Brazil to the World most coveted prize, the World Cup Trophy. Now, in 2006, we have continued to ask ourselves, what has happened to Riquelme and Ronaldinho?
Concerning Riquelme, he had let a great opportunity goes by. After driving Villarreal to the Champions league semi-finals earlier this year, all he had to do was taking charge to drive Argentina to the World Cup finals, and then one could have seen the similarities between him and Maradona because the same way that Maradona had brought Napoli to the top of the world, Riquelme had done the same with Villarreal. All he had to do was to win it for Argentina and then he would have been somewhat looked like the great Maradona.
The same could have been said for Ronaldinho as well. All he had to do was driving Brazil to the World Cup Finals. He had a fantastic year both at Barcelona by winning la Liga and the champions’ league. For some reasons, he missed a great opportunity to be at the same level with Maradona. If he had managed to drive Brazil to the Finals then we could have said that he is another Maradona. Now, this is history.
At times, the superstars should forget about the coach tactics. At some point, when teams are in danger, we expect the superstars to take over the game and forget about any coaching theory. This is what separates the great players from the good ones. When Germany tied the game 1-1 against Argentina, I expected Riquelme to forget about any coaching theory from Pekerman, but to take over the game by driving the Albiceleste to the Promised Land. When Pekerman decided to take Riquelme out of the game, it was up to Riquelme to say “I am not coming out of the game; I am going to drive this team out of the furnace.” This what a great player should do. The great player must ask for the ball in every occasion. The great player must show ambition and determination to make it happen. The great player, at times, must make it clear to the coach, that in this game I am not going to be taken out unless I asked for it. On another note, when France went 1-0 against Brazil, I was expected the same for Ronaldinho. I was expected him to ask for the ball. I was expecting him to forget about these useless tactics used by Carlos Alberto Pareira. Unfortunately, Ronaldinho Isolated himself and watched Brazil crumbled for the 3rd time against France. In 1986, a superb Brazilian team lost against France in the quarter finals. It was a fantastic game, the best game in the 1986 world cup where we have seen both Dr. Socrates and Michel Platini missed their respective penalty kicks. France ended up winning it. In 1998, the French with Zidane captured the world by humiliating the Brazilians 0-3 in the World Cup final. Now again, when everyone thought that the Brazilians would have remembered these episodes; they crumbled against France with a superb and revived Zinedine Zidane.
In this World Cup we have not seen the stars. They have not shined. However, thank God, for Zinedine Zidane. He is the only one out of all the superstars that shows how to drive a team to the world Cup Finals. Where Ronaldinho and Riquelme had failed, Zidane stepped it up. This is what France had just needed. Thank you Zidane for making me enjoying this world cup! Against Brazil, you were unstoppable. You played like an 18 year old. And no wonder why the great Maradona had put you in a different class than any other players. My great friend and engineering colleague, Srinivas Karedla, called me that he kept watching over and over the great moves that you had done with the ball against Brazil, especially the technical move when you controlled the ball with your feet and gave the final pass with your head--- to the point that my friend’s wife has asked him if he were crazy. Even, myself, I was delighted to see that you have put the Jogo Bonito on the Brazilians.
One of my Haitian friends who supported Brazil called me to let me know that Zidane owned the Brazilians while he was watching the game. Although, I was still mourning for Argentina, you did spare me some embarrassment because had Brazil won the game then I would have been ridiculed by my avid Haitian friends who supported Brazil. So far, they have kept silent because the Friday that Germany sent Argentina packing for Buenos Aires, they have called me constantly and they were singing a REQUIEM for Argentina. I have all their messages recorded so that I can get have some fun with them. Thank you, Zidane! Thank you, Zidane! You have also brought some great consolation to my brother, Stephane, in Miami Beach, Florida. He had told me that after Argentina lost the game to Germany, there were places in Florida that he would have not been able to put his feet had Brazil won this game against France. If one thinks that I am a die-hard fanatic of Argentina, then my brother is at another level. Even my own father appreciated the way you effortless took the penalty kick against Portugal. Now it seems that you have converted my father from a fan of the Albiceleste to a French fanatic. I have asked him if he is French fan. So far he has not answered the question. But lately, he has been talking about France a lot to the point that I am asking myself, is my dad a French fan now? That remains to be seen. It does not matter to me what Riquelme, Ronaldinho, Beckham, and whoever this player might be, ZINEDINE ZIDANE is the best player of this World Cup and should also be FIFA Player of the Year in December. He silenced his critics, he stepped up when everybody thinks that France was about to crumble. This is what a great player supposed to do, he has done it in 1998 and now he is doing it again in 2006. It does not matter if you have Ronaldinho. It does not matter if you have Riquelme ( Most of you know that I truly like Riquelme), it does matter if you have Ballack, and it does not Matter if you have any superstar, please give me Zidane; Please give me Zidane over and over again.
Despite being red carded for not controlling himself, we all must have the courage to say that he stepped up his game in the finals. Yes, the critics will crunch him. The critics will say that Zidane had blown an opportunity. Yes, it was a mistake at the heat of the moment. Who am I to criticize him? I don’t know what Materazzi had told him. Would I do the same if I were in this situation? I don’t know, but whatever Materazzi had told Zidane, it was not pretty. Remember also that Zidane speaks Italian as well. It’s unfortunate that Zidane received that red card. And that was right. If Maradona can receive a red card, then Zidane can also. Yes, Diego Armando Maradona did receive a red card as well in 1982 for kicking a Brazilian player. Now, who cares about the red card that Diego Armando Maradona had received? No one, I suppose. In this World Cup, Zidane is the only player that came close to Maradona. He was the pillar of the French team, and he had done his job. That reminds me about the Argentina of 1990, not a great team, but Diego Armando Maradona was running the show; and eventually lost in the final game against Germany on a bogus penalty given by Codesal of Mexico. I will repeat give me Zidane over and over again because he’s the only one that came close of Diego Armando Maradona. I repeat again, please give me Zidane and please give me Maradona one more time. One more time, please, that’s all I ask.
In this World Cup, I did not come to watch Fabio Cannavaro playing his best defensive game. I did not come to see Roberto Ayala stopping the Germans; I did not come to see Buffon, Lehman, Barthez, Abbondanzieri stop the strikers. For sure, I wanted to see the maggia of Ronaldinho. I wanted to see the classic Riquelme. I wanted Beckham to bend it. I expected to see a great Totti; I expected to see Beckham drive England to the Promised Land. I expected to see Ballack drive the Germans to the ultimate triumph and I expected Figo to drive Portugal until the end. And if it were not for Zidane, then I would have never seen any tricks. Red card or not, thank you Zidane for what you have done for football. Thank you for bringing joy to the fans of the round ball. Thank you for what you have given to us. You have forgiven, and you deserve to get the Golden ball. When everyone criticizes your age, you have silenced the critics. I would always agree with Riquelme when he always said that as far as he knows, Zidane is the best player of the world. No wonder why Riquelme and you have exchanged shirts in your last game for Real Madrid against Villarreal. You have also played for Juventus in the Italian league, and I do think that the Italians appreciated what you have done for football. You have lost against a great Italian team, but you have raised your game to a different level than any other superstar in this world. All you have to say is congratulations to the Italians for a great fight.
Concerning Italy, they have played their game and their coach Marcello Lippi knows how to coach. He knows what to do during the game. We have to applaud the Italians for what they have done. They did not try to play some complicated football. They played a simple football and they were always ready to destroy the opponent with a deadly counter attack. They have found some divine grace to get rid of the opponents even if that means getting a call from the referee. This is what divine grace is all about. They have stunned the Germans in their home turf with two fantastic goals, and the second goal was the coup de grace to the people of Germany. They have silenced a whole country. They have shown Argentina how they should have played Germany. They have beaten the France of Zidane. Forza Azzurri… It was not about concatenacio, it was about playing the game until the end. It was about getting the victory to bring some joy to the people of Italy. It was about bringing some joy to the fans in Rome, the eternal city. It was about bringing some eternal joy to the fans at the Basilica di San Pietro. Forza Italia! Forza Azurri.
The Italians have suffered enough nightmares in many other World Cups. Among them, they have lost in penalty shoot-outs in 1990 against the Argentina of Maradona in the Stadio San Paolo. They have succumbed in 1994 in penalty shoot-outs against the Brazil of Romario and Bebeto. In 1998, they have lost against France of Zidane in Penalty shoot-outs. In 2002, they were robbed by the referee. In 2006, with some divine luck from the Vatican under the direction of Papa Benedict XVI, the Vicarius Filii Dei, the Italians have sent the Australians back to Melbourne. And then, they have finished with the Ukraine of Schevchenko. On their route to the finals, they stunned the Germans and to finally give le coup de grace aux hommes conducted by Zizou, Zinedine Zidane. The celebration must continue in the eternal city. The celebration should have started there in 1990, but Maradona had stolen the show. This time, no more Maradona-- or as I might say in Latin, no more 'Maradona Sanctus est' , so said the Italians. They have proven that they could win it in penalty shoot outs. They have stepped it up to win it as a team. They have stepped it up to win in a symphonic celebration, or should I better say in latin, symphonia or in greek, sumphonia. The word symphony derives in greek ( syn à together-- + phone). And this is why you have seen the Italian players chanting because they were a tight group and they knew what was the final objective. It was quite a marvelous moment when they started to sing together the World Cup Song of 1990. At this point, I felt like I was in the stadium with them singing the beautiful song entitled “ Un’estate Italiana by Gianna Nannini & Edoardo Bennato :
Forse non sarà una canzone
a cambiare le regole del gioco
ma voglio viverla cosi quest'avventura
senza frontiere e con il cuore in gola
E il mondo in una giostra di colori
e il vento accarezza le bandiere
arriva un brivido e ti trascina via
e sciogli in un abbraccio la follia
inseguendo un goal
sotto il cielo
di un'estate italiana
e negli occhi tuoi
voglia di vincere
un'avventura in più
Quel sogno che comincia da bambino
e che ti porta sempre più lontano
non è una favola - e dagli spogliatoi
escono i ragazza e siamo noi
inseguendo un goal
sotto il cielo
di un'estate italiana
e negli occhi tuoi
voglia di vincere
un'avventura in più
inseguendo un goal
sotto il cielo
di un'estate italiana
e negli occhi tuoi
voglia di vincere
un'avventura in più
un'avventura in più
un'avventura goal !
What a beautiful language is the Italian language! As they were singing this marvelous, I began to sing as well and that had brought to me some great memories of the opening ceremony of the 1990 World Cup.
This is what the World Cup is all about! It's all about passion. And The Italians have deserved to win it. Throughout the tournament they have played their games, and they have won it with style. They were solid in defense, and we must all thank Cannavaro for a great World Cup, most of us expected to see Totti, but we have seen Cannavaro and Buffon on their best.
Grazie! Grazie! Ringraziamenti al gruppo nazionale italiano per portare gioia alla gente di Italia ed ai tifosi dell'Italia.
Despite the absence of Germany in the World Cup final, we must also congratulate the German team for job well done. We have to thank the German coach, Klinsmann, for bringing joy to the football fans of Germany. I truly like the way that Klinsmann celebrated every German goal. I would have jumped up and down the same way. Thank you, Klinsmann for a job well done. We must also thank the people of Germany for hosting the world, they have done a fantastic job. We must also thank the Kaiser, Franz Beckenbauer. Despite Germany had eliminated my team, Argentina, I would have been glad to see Germany in the final, because their people really deserve it. And, I certainly agree with my columnist colleague, Paul Marcucitti for supporting Germany because the People of Germany made him feel at home.
I still think that this is great for the German national team. This is a very young team, and the team will be back in 2010. Finishing third is fine, there’s nothing wrong about it. And I disagree with Platini when he said in 1982 that he does not really care about finishing third. I hope that the people of Germany and the German fans throughout the world do care.
For me, the time has come to thank everyone who has made this work possible. As columnists, we are also fans. Sometimes, we would like to write for the teams that we supported. And it can be very painful, when your team is no longer there. An Argentine columnist stated that it was very painful for him to write after Argentina lost against Germany because he could not watch the Germans fans celebrating in the streets of Berlin. Well, I had felt the same painful moments that lasted days. But this is football, and we must accept the agony of defeat. I think I do recover after a week of mourning. On the other hand, before the World Cup started, our editor, Jan Alsos, wrote to us by saying that ‘every columnist has a team, and if we count Pierre as an Argentinian, then his team is Argentina. For me, I don’t have any team’. Jan, I hope that Norway will make it through in South Africa 2010 and I hope that my own country, Haiti, will find a way to make it there as well. One must always dream, and hopefully that dream will become a reality.
I would like to thank the teams from Costa Rica for giving us a great opening game. We have to recognize the team from Trinidad & Tobago for spoiling the Swedes. We must thank Ecuador for giving it a fight only to lose from a Beckham’s free kick. We must remember Ivory coast for giving their best against the giants of football. We must not forget Angola who have fought hard. We must be sympathetic to the Togo national team; despite their ongoing issues off the field, they did play very well. We must think Ghana for playing some great football against the South American giant, Brazil. We must remember Iran for giving it their best. We shall not forget the Aussies for bringing some memorable moments in this World Cup. We shall not forget the South Koreans for their attacking football. We shall remember Japan of Zico for making it excited against Brazil.
We shall remember Mexican national team for giving their best against Argentina; and I did not know if I were up or down during the game since neither could I sit down nor stand up; and the annoying phone calls from my Haitian friends who supported Brazil were not pleasant at all. After that game, I had to take the bed first before celebrating. We must not forget the Spaniards for giving us the sensation that they were about to win it all, but we all know Spain’s history in the World Cup. We must not forget the Swiss for giving it all. We must always remember the heroic effort of the United States against the Italians. We must also remember the Portuguese national team for giving it fight. It might have not been pretty, but as a fan, I would have preferred my team to play a bad football but to be in the final four. We must not forget the young Dutch team for fighting hard; again, they will be back in 2010. We must think Tunisa and Saudi Arabia for giving us an entertainment game. We must praise all 32 teams that have given their best. We must think of Argentina for giving us the two most beautiful goals of the World Cup. It is very important that we ust thank Zidane for giving us his best while all the other superstars failed.
However, we must reproach the tactics of Pekerman and Pareira for respectively failing Argentina and Brazil. We must also let Riquelme and Ronaldinho know that they have destroyed the hope of million of fans of the Americas. To be the best, one has to win it for his/her native country. We must also criticize FIFA for choosing many bad referees. But we can be glad that there were no major controversies in the final rounds.
Well, to conclude, I would like to thank many readers who have read our articles and written to us. I must also thank all of us at PlanetWorldCup.com who have worked with passion to cover this World Cup both from our respective countries and in Germany. And a great thanks to our Paul Marcuccitti for covering the World Cup live for us in Germany, and I can imagine how he celebrated the fantastic run of his native Australia.
I must also thank my colleagues, including my brother Patrick and his staff at Radio Nouveaute.com in Boston, MA for giving me the opportunity to discuss the World Cup for the Haitian population in the United States; I must also not forget my current engineering colleagues and former engineering colleagues at HP, Sybase,Veritas, Interworld for their comments. And to my former computer science students, former classmates and professors who have written to me from Nova University, Boston University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College and the Union Institute & University, I would like to say thank you. To Kristen and Noah, thank you for sharing this World Cup experience! It was such an exciting moment! To Stephane, please keep the Crespo shirt, since It might become handy for 2010. For me, I’ll find some place to bury my Riquelme shirt. To Donal, Ron, Ghait, Max, Jimmy, Stefan, Dr. Nmutaka, Dr. Felli, my little brother Rochel who is serving in Afghanistan, Jean, Mamouchka, Papi, Manmi, thanks for writing. To my engineering friends and colleagues, Johnny, Srinivas, Sarowar, Max, Kurt, Srikanth, Nicholas, Billy, Lovejit, Virginia, Cindy, Marek, Zhen, Shyam,Weiping, Devi, and the Chief… thanks for a memorable month. I hope we won’t get a Red Card.
To my mother and father who have witnessed the mourning of many fans of Argentina who were crying in the streets of Miami, thanks for your words of consolation. To Wyclef Jean who have participated in Pre-game final Celebration, thanks for representing Haiti with class, prestige, and diginity. And Finally, Thanks to Zidane for all you have given to the game of football. I'll put you next to the Great Diego Armando Maradona.
As I put an end to this World Cup 2006 chapter; I thank you all and I pray that God shall continue to keep us alive so that we can enjoy many more World Cups. This 2006 World Cup was such a memorable month! It was a memorable month, indeed! A very precious moment! An Unforgettable moment!
Until my next World Cup Article, Congratulazioni alla squadra nazionale de Italia. Aspetto con impazienza di vederli tutti in Sudafrica 2010.
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