Monday, July 10, 2006

World Cup 2006: Some final thoughts on the Finale

Now that the FIFA World Cup 2006 has come to such a dramatic close, soccer fans around the globe should get back to work and stop finding excuses about why we cannot function like normal human beings. Congratulations to the Azzuri (Italian National Football Team) for winning this world championship for the fourth time since 1934 (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006). 1938! Was Benito Mussolini there at the ’38 World Cup along with his good buddy Adolf?

Which reminds me, Germany’s Der Speigel has a good article about the issue of race and professional football in Europe titled “FIFA’s Anti-Racism Campaign: Talking Race in Hitler’s Stadium”. The Globalist online has an equally important article about the positive impact that the FIFA World Cup 2006 may have on race relations for the people of the South American Andes, “Dateline Ecuador: Soccer and Racial Justice”.

A big congratulations to the French National Team (Les Bleus) and their devoted fans for putting up such a great fight for the title, despite the “head butt” incident between France’s team captain Zinédine Zidane and Italy’s Marco Matterazzi in the final minutes of overtime play. As described in this Sports Illustrated (AP) article about the final match, “the beautiful game turned vicious, even venomous on Sunday.” I mean what was on Zizou’s mind to make him flip out like that toward the end of such an important match? What did Italy’s Marco Matterazzi say to Zinédine Zidane to make him so angry? Does any one know?

I can understand Zidane if a very serious insult was made by Matterazzi as I almost “lost it” twice myself at one of Germany’s World Cup 2006 Fan Fests. Oft times it is best to just walk away from an idiot vs. “sending him to the deck “, albeit I sometimes prefer the latter solution. Violence is simply not recommended behavior before an audience of billions of sports fans… and especially not in front of the kids around the world who were watching. Next time Zizou, just throw one of those Les Bleus French fighting cocks at the perpetrator, the bird will take care of the rest. Guaranteed. You won’t get a Red Card but the rooster may be thrown out of the game for good.

I think from the point-of-view of football fans the world over Germany deserves the biggest congratulations at this World Cup 2006. I know that it is my job to keep constant pressure on “the Germans”, but sometimes you just have to give credit where credit is due. Germany, you did an excellent job of being host to the world for the biggest sporting event this side of the Olympics. The German team could have just as well been in the finals due to their excellent and consistent play under the brilliant leadership of coach Jürgen Klinsmann. Your team was great, the organization and execution of the events was great, German fans and revelers and the many Fan Fests were outstanding, it was overall a big success.

It has been a very long time since I have seen so many people in Germany being so jubilant and happy, perhaps not since the fall of the Berlin Wall back in 1989. Don’t lose what you have gained through this experience, because as you can plainly see, the world really likes you. Weiter so Deutschalnd, weiter machen. See you down in South Africa for the World Cup 2010. That will be a football event and outrageous party for millions that the world will never forget, even if this Der Spiegel journalist can only see Schwarz.

While I’m on the subject of Germany and the Germans, let’s have a closer look at what’s up with… (to be continued).

Sports Illustrated
Italy wins shootout with France in Cup Final

The Bitter End (Mark Bechtel analyzes Zidane’s blunder for the SI World Cup 2006 blog readers – 350+ comments and counting…)

Out of their league (Luis Bueno on why a CONCAF nation may never win the World Cup Championship. This is total BS, but it is well written BS. America can win the World Cup someday! Can’t we???)

Spiegel International Online
(English language edition of the popular German news magazine)
Moment of Madness Wrecks Zidane’s Fairy Tale
Feeling Bleu: Paris Mourns World Cup Loss
World Cup 2010: Fan Fests in the Townships

Washington Post
Frances Zidane Sees Red, Ends Fabled Career with an Ejection
Curtain Falls on Zidane Years in Traumatic Fashion

The Globalist
Dateline Ecuador: Soccer and Racial Justice by Raul Gangotena

Additional Online Resources about the World Cup 2006

Sports Illustrated FIFA World Cup 2006 special
SI World Cup official blog (home)

ESPN SoccerNet – FIFA World Cup 2006
ESPN Podcast Center – World Cup 2006 podcasts

Spiegel Online World Cup 2006 Special

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Daniel Franklin Gomez said...

I'm so proud of Germany's performance. Having been supporting them since 1990, Klinsmann has remarkably improved the team. It's a pity though that he has decided not to continue. I just hope the next coach will carry on Klinsi's vision. Well done DEUTSCHLAND!

Black River Eagle said...

It is very nice to have a German fan (and citizen?) who works and lives in Malaysia stop by our place. Nice blog you have there Daniel and please do stop by again, especially for the upcoming "Eye on Germany" posts later this month and next. Also checkout the Atlantic Review blog for the latest on the Carnival of German-American Relations dialogues.

I think Jürgen Klinsmann made the right choice in moving on to new career challenges and spending more time with his family back in California. "Word on the street" is that he might take over U.S. Men's National Soccer Team coach Bruce Arena's job. If true, it would definately be fewer hassles for Klinsi than having to fight constantly with the DFB honchos and the German press. Klinsi will certainly miss those frequent flyer miles he's been accumulating for flights between his home in L.A. and his (former) coaching job in Germany. Life is a b---h sometimes, ain't it? Can't have it all.

Michoko said...

Sorry I wasn't around for the last 2 weeks ... welle not really sorry by the way, I was enjoying some nice and relaxing holidays in Turkey ...
I guess you got the answer since, but just in case, Zinnedine reacted taht way because the other guy insulted his mum and sister.
Still, at that point of the game, it was irresponsible to react that way, espcecially when you know that insulting is part of the game ...

Black River Eagle said...

Hi Michoko. Yep we all have learned about the root cause of the Zidane head butt incident. Three days of public service helping kids is an appropriate punishment for Zidane. The other guy needs to be barred from the game for a few years if it can be proved that he said such a thing, and that goes for any other player who would use this type of intimidation in professional soccer or other sports.

Good to see you back. Have you been over to The Salon (Ali's) lately to catch up on the DRC elections? Lot's of new posts en Francaise over at Global Voices too.

Michoko said...


Haven't visited Ali yet but will ASAP.
Take care of yourself ! Not too hot in Germany ?