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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World Cup Memory Lane: 1978 to 2010

    The World Cup year is here. 2014 WC is here. It will be a special time in Brazil 2014. For me, the World Cup has been a religion starting from grade school and continuing at the post-graduate level. It is indeed an amazing moment. I am about to take you all to the memory lane. In 1978, as a young school boy, I witnessed the majestic moves of the talented matador, Mario Alberto Kempes, gave Argentina their first World Cup Trophy. Most of you who have read my past articles have known that I am a die-hard Argentina fan. When ¾ of my family members in Haiti supported Argentina and the rest supported Brazil, I had to choose the Albiceleste. However in Haiti most of my friends were supported “el equipo auriverde” (Brazil) and I don’t blame them because I must said 55% of Haiti supported Brazil while 40% Argentina and the rest is divided among Germany, France, England, Italy etc.

    1978 was the start of my World Cup years. Here is a list of the notables for that world cup that I am pulling from my memory bank without consulting or reading any info. Some of the notables were Mario Alberto Kempes (Argentina); Ubaldo Matildo Fillol (Argentina); Oswaldo Ardiles (Argentina); Daniel Alberto Pasarella (Argentina) Leopoldo Luque (Argentina); Roberto Bettega (Italy); Roberto Rivelino (Brazil); Emerson Leao (Brazil); Dirceu (Brazil) Arie Haan (Netherlands better yet “Les Pays-Bas” sounded much better in French; The two brothers, Willy and Rene Van de Kerkhof (Netherlands); Rob Rensenbrink (Netherlands) – He almost sent the whole Argentina to a funeral—who could forget Rensenbrink ball that hit Fillol’s post just before the end of regulation; Johann Neekens (Netherlands) Teofilo “El Nene” Cubillas (Peru); Hector Chumpitas (Peru); Marius Tresor (France).

    In 1982, it should have been the year of Diego Armando Maradona, but all of us would have to wait 4 years laters for the talented. However, if Maradona was unable to produce the magical moves in 1982, it was a joy to watch the Brazilian dream team with Dr. Socrates; Zico; Eder, Junior, etc.

    In 1986, “El Grandioso, Diego “Dieguito” Armando Maradona took Mexico by storm with the “hand of god” goal and put the football fans on their feet to celebrate the most memorable goal ever by decimating the English midfielders, defenders and the helpless goalkeeper, Peter Shilton. It was a memorable moment…Indeed it was a memorable for the fans (perhaps not the fans of England) of the round ball to witness the celestial talent of Diego Armando Maradona. The great England’s striker, Gary Lineker put it that way: “England fans hate him because of the Hand of God - which, incidentally, I think the linesman saw, because his flag flicked up, but bottled it afterwards - but I will also remember the incredible skill and charisma of the man.” The man was a genius and he drove Argentina to their second FIFA World Cup title after sending a long ball to Jorge Luis Burruchaga who left Schumacher, Germany’s goal keeper, helpless by putting Argentina up 3-2 against the men conducted by Karl Heinz Rummenigge.

    The beauty with football or with sports in general, there will always be another chance. And that chance came for Germany in Italy 1990 which has one of the best World Cup songs ever, if not the best. In that world cup, We have seen Francois Oman Biyik of Cameroon defeated Argentina of Maradona 1-0 in the opening game. The Germans were on top of their game and Italy at home with Toto Schillaci were determined as well. Roger Milla of Cameroon was memorable in front of Carles Valderrama and Rene Higuita of Colombia. England lost a heart breaker against Germany on penalty shoot-out. Maradona and Caniggia sent Brazil of Dunga and Careca packing for Rio De Janeiro. Italy made the mistake of playing Argentina in the “San Paolo di Napoli” stadium where Maradona was canonized as a saint in a city that continues to worship Maradona. For that reason, I’ll write it in Latin…”Maradona sanctus est.” Italy vs Argentina was a fantastic semi-final game with all the drama that involved a young Roberto Baggio determined to send Maradona and his crew to Buenos Aires. At the end Italy lost in penalty shoot-out; I always asked myself to find a reason why Toto Schillaci was not chosen among the players to shoot one of those PKs; to this day, I am unable to answer that question. As Maradona and Goycoechea ( Goalie for the Albiceleste) booked Argentina for the WC 1990, I was waiting for England to make it there, but it was not meant to be and England succumbed to Germany of Lothar Mathaus, Klinsmann and Andreas Brehme.

    It was a repeat of the 1986 WC final, Argentina vs Germany. This time, the outcome was different. Germany was by far superior team. However, it took a controversial call by the Mexican Uruguyan born referee, Edgar Codesal, to award a penalty kick to Germany. Andreas Brehme did not give Goycochea any chance to save the ball. Germany 1- Argentina-0 was the final score and the Germans were on top of the football world.

    In USA 1994, there were lot of dramas. But this world cup belong to Brazil under the directions of Romario and Bebeto. It was no longer Argentina and Germany but this time it was for Brazil and Italy. The Brazilians were ready so were there Italians who managed to skip the fury of Nigeria conducted by the talented Jay Okocha and Daniel Amokachi. In that game, there were some controversial calls given in favor of Italy. Those questionable calls caused the elimination of Nigeria. Anyway, it was Baggio vs Romario in the final. At the end, it was a cruel ending for the talented Baggio, the man with the divine pony tail, who sent his penalty kick over the crossbar and the men of Carlos Alberto Pareira won the 1994 World Cup for Brazil.

    In France 1998, We have seen the Argentina under direction of the Kaiser, Daniel Alberto Pasarella. Though, I admire the Kaiser or the great captain for Argentina in the 1978 and 1982 World Cups, I still disagree with him for not selecting the talented midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme. Argentina had a very strong team with Roberto Ayala Juan Sebastian Veron, Gabriel Omar Batistuta, Diego Pablo Simeone . There were excellent national teams in that world Cup. Among them, there were France, Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Croatia. They were all contenders. Croatia with a talented Davor Suker shocked the world by sending Jurgen Klinsmann and company packing for Germany and booked their ticket for the semi-final against France accompanied by the conductor of the orchestra, Zinedine Zidane.

    The Dutch on the other hand had to deal with Argentina full of superstars. However, the Dutch had their word superstars as well such as: Patrick Kluivert, Frank De Boer, Edgar Davids, Dennis Bergkamp. This time, the rendez-vous was not in the Estadio Monumental del Rio Platense in Buenos Aires but in the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille, France. To this day, I can recall the long ball from the back that Frank De Boer sent to Dennis Bergkamp who controlled the ball with class and elegance to leave Roberto Ayala stranded in the air and bury the ball in the Argentina net to send the men of Daniel Alberto Pasarella packing for Buenos Aires. That magical and technical move by Dennis Bergkamp deserves to be watched over and over again. As a fanatic of Argentina, it was a dark moment for me. I just could not believe it but I continue to appreciate the Dutch footballers for creating those magical moments for the fans of the round ball throughout this universe.

    The Dutch, unfortunately, had to face Brazil in the semifinal. Brazil is Brazil. When comes to Brazil, the main objective is to win the World Cup. There is no other objective. Anything short of this objective is a failure for the Auriverde. Brazil overcame the Dutch while France of Zinedine Zidane took care of Croatia conducted by Davor Suker. The 1998 World Cup final was set between France and Brazil. At home, France directed by Zidane were too much for Brazil. The Brazilians succumbed to the French 0-3 and France earned their first FIFA World Cup trophy.

    In 2002, the rendez-vous was in Japan and South Korea. The pundits claimed that Argentina and France were the clear favorites to win that World Cup. Both Argentina and France bailed in the first round. In this World Cup, we saw a magnificent Senegal national team. We saw a fantastic South Korean team. The United States of America played extremely well and had to face Germany in a quarter-final game. The United States could have won the game had the referee gave a clear penalty kick to the USA after a clear handball by Torsten Frings of Germany. Brazil on the other hand took care of David Beckham of England in the quarter finals to take on Turkey in the semi-finals. Germany was ready to take on South Korea in the semis. Both Brazil and Germany were victorious and the 2002 Final was set between Brazil and Germany. The Brazilians were not going to become a victim like they did in 1998. This time, they were focused on the prize with Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. They were the Brazilian HuRRRicane that demolished Germany of Oliver Khan to give Brazil their 5th World Cup Trophy.

    In Germany 2006, Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Germany , France, Portugal and England were among the contenders. Argentina were playing a beautiful football and was conducted by the talented maestro, Juan Roman Riquelme. Unfortunately for Riquelme, the Argentina’s coach Jose Nestor Pekerman made a crucial mistake by substituting Riquelme with Argentina up 1-0 in a quarter-final game on Germany directed by Juergen Klinsmann. It was a terrible mistake by Pekerman and Klinsmann took advantage of that mistake by going for the equalizer since he did not have to worry anymore about the talented Riquelme. In the 80th minute, Klose inflicted the pain on Pekerman by equalizing for Germany to send the game to extra time. After 120 minutes, the game ended up 1-1 and Germany won in penalty shootouts and obtained their ticket to face Italy in the semi-finals.

    France on the other hand took care of Brazil with a superb Zinedine Zidane and were ready to face Portugal who sent England packing for London. The semi-finals were set: Germay vs Italy and France vs Portugal. In the semi-finals France won the game against Portugal while Italy demoted Germany to face France in the 2006 World Cup Portugal.

    France and Italy faced each other in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final. It was a final with lot of drama between Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi. After head-butting Materazzi, Zidane was ejected from the game in the 110th minute. Zidane was the best player in that World Cup but he might have cost France a second World Cup trophy. Italy won the 2006 World Cup and it was celebration in the eternal city and earned the bragging rights for the next four years.

    The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa was very exciting, especially when Diego Armando Maradona was the center of attention. On the other hand, there were lot of great national teams in that World Cup, however the contenders in this World Cup were Germany, Uruguay, Spain and Holland. One might wonder where were Argentina and Brazil? Argentina were demolished by the German locomotive and Brazil lost 1-2 against Holland. The semi-finals were: Uruguay vs Holland and Germany vs Spain; Holland beat Uruguay 3-2 while Spain beat Germany 1-0 and both teams, Holland and Spain, made it to the 2010 World Cup final.

    The 2010 WC final was an exciting one between Holland and Spain. It seems Holland had the upper hand in the finals but Arjen Robben failed to capitalize on some of his opportunities. Neither team was able to break the deadlock at the end of regulation. The game went to extra time and the world had to wait for 116 minutes to see the magnificent goal from the talented Andres Iniesta who earned the 2010 World Cup trophy to Spain. Spain are now ready to defend their title in Brazil 2014.

    My dear readers, I just took you to the memory lane from Argentina 1978 to South Africa 2010. It is again an honor and a privilege for me to be at your service. The World Cup has always been so special to me and I invite you to follow the World Cup with Planet World Cup (#PlanetWorldCup)




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