“I won’t watch any of this World Cup matches, to hell with FIFA and those Arabs…”, Juha, a dear Finnish friend, a photographer of the greats, tells us, in retaliation, with several World Cups in his saddlebag, one of those who ran fifty meters to Maradona or Romario with thirty kilos of photographic equipment on top to take their cover photo. I don’t question it, his mental structure, completely Eurocentric, tells him that everything that takes place outside the Old Continent is wrong, corrupt or, simply, an unpresentable organization. As he think about seven hundred million Europeans.
“Don’t look, Juha”, we reply. The World Cup will be played in the same way, and possibly it will be excellent. With the football season barely 40% over and with temperatures of 26 degrees -thanks to the cooling of the stadiums- we can think of vibrant, beautiful shows. That, in terms of the game, which is always the central axis. Regarding the organization, we do not doubt that it will be optimal. This is the most expensive World Cup in history, estimates speak of 220,000 million dollars (Brazil 2014 cost 18,000). Of course, highways, airports, the brand new metro and other infrastructures that will make Qatar a zero kilometer country enter the account. In truth, everything looks brand new. And everything works.
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We ask ourselves: does Europe deserve to win a World Cup that it repudiates…? Germany, France or Denmark, for example, nations that feel on a moral high ground and have reviled this Qatari event so much, why didn’t they withdraw their teams…? If they win the title, will they celebrate it in the streets…? The media that have spoken of the World Cup of controversy or shame, will they exalt the conquest…? We’ll see. Hopefully Brazil or Argentina do everything possible to save them the trouble of having to celebrate.
All the World Cup awards as well as the Olympic Games They have deserved criticism and denunciations. Even Germany 2006 is still under suspicion. South Africa had virtually won that election, but a strange last-minute maneuver with the New Zealand delegate gave Beckenbauer’s country the World Cup. And the Kaiser was stained. Since then he hardly appears, they keep him in a chest, he is a national symbol.
Qatar is not spared from censorship. After spreading a few shovels of earth over Nicolas Sarkozy and Michel Platini (that is, about France), Joseph Blatter pointed out a truth: “With the first whistle of the referee, we will no longer talk about all these problems, only about sport.”
(Read also: This is my first soccer World Cup (Meluk tells you…))
We hope it can be the best tournament in history, not because of the facilities (also), and not even because of the weather or the physical freshness of the protagonists, but because this is the best moment in football. It was never that good. Of course there is a natural evolution of all activities and this sport does not escape this rule. It is playing at a fantastic level. They have improved the technique, the tactics, the preparation, the knowledge of the adversary, the care of the athletes, the physical performance. Today it is a highly competitive sport. In the past, the coaching staff of a team was made up of a coach, perhaps an assistant, and a physical trainer. And two of them, empirical. Today there are armies of twenty to twenty-five members, all professionals with an academic background as well as having a soccer past. There is a remarkable degree of excellence. The dissonant note is the soccer fan, a stone. He lives anchored in yesterday, he considers the World Cups of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s or ’80s to be superior. That was beautiful at the time, although nothing to do with this.
In international betting houses, Brazil is the clear favorite for the title, paying 4.50 euros, Argentina is second with 6.50, France is third (€8), followed by England and Spain (€9) and England is sixth (€12). ). The order can be reversed, but it is clear that they are the six that point to the crown. To a wise trainer (Tite), the Greenyellow adds the amount of talents. He has eight forwards, each better: Neymar, Vinicius, Richarlison, Raphinha, Antony, Gabriel Jesus, Rodrygo, Pedro, Gabriel Martinelli. The two worst would be sensational for any rival. However, the venerable Tostão allows himself to doubt so much Brazilian favoritism: “We haven’t played against a powerful European team for years.” Also in Argentina something similar happens. The illusion has escalated perhaps too much. Messi’s stellar moment, the solid and aesthetic scaffolding of the whole and the 36 games undefeated raised the foam to success, people believe that it is already there. It is estimated that 38,000 Argentine fans came or will come to Qatar. Most travel from the country, others from the United States, Europe and other continents. It is not easy to explain Argentina.
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Both may have improved a lot, however, they will have fearsome adversaries. One is France, the current champion and the medium with the largest number of figures in the big leagues. Just thinking an attack with Giroud and Mbappé generate fear. Deschamps, his coach, is a lender, a Phoenician in this game, he moves well in defensive waters, giving up the initiative and then exploiting the spaces with Mbappé up front. And there, he kills. Another is Germany. Germany is the ghost train, everyone screams and is scared while they are in there. The German is a seven-point player who in the World Cups becomes nine. High reliability, zero stage fright and generosity in effort. very dangerous Those four should define the title.
Then they come, a little step below, England, full of good elements (when they tell me Harry Kane I stand up), but sins of tactical candor. The others are more cunning, they look for the return immediately. Belgium, because in a good game they can knock down an elephant (they kicked out Brazil in 2018). And for their individualities: Courtois, De Bruyne, Hazard, Lukaku… The Netherlands (I promise never to say the Netherlands) for their quality game. And…Uruguay. I never met anyone who said “What luck, next time we play against Uruguay…!” With them it is getting into an alley at night, not recommended.
If a Denmark meddles there, well, it will be a Denmark thing, we won’t have anything to do with it. But we will celebrate it for sure, the Danes are like Holland, the violins of the orchestra, they sound good: ball at the foot, refined technique, class to play it….
A fact that hits us: the South American leagues only contribute 19 of the 831 footballers signed up for the Cup. A meager 2%. And of them, the majority are from Uruguay: 8. Or there are goalkeepers from here: Armani, Weberton, Sosa, Domínguez, Galíndez, Ramírez. Talk about how skinny our tournaments are.
Ecuador starts at the inauguration defending the clothing of the continent. Not in ideal conditions. There was an internal upheaval over the Byron Castillo case. His leaders first cackled and now they had no choice but to exclude him because they know better than anyone that the boy is lazy with papers. And that generated an earthquake. It crashes against the local, Qatar. That honor is played in the contest. Two hundred and twenty billion dollars put the emir. Let’s say the boys are bound. There is an interesting statistic: there were 21 World Cups and 22 hosts (in 2002 there were two, South Korea and Japan). The premises never lost in their debut: 16 won, six tied. Let’s see if Ecuador makes history by breaking that record.
There are two footballs, the played one and the spoken one, both beautiful, but now the curtain rises and words are over: Play, boys…!
For the time
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