Wednesday, June 21, 2006

No More Liming in Germany

The Soca Warriors went down painfully against Paraguay today--and it might have been just as bad if they'd fought to a 2-0 win only to fall to the Sweden v England tie. Okay, it probably couldn't have been any worse for Brent Sancho, socring an own goal--a painful finish to three games' worth of good defensive work. Still, their presence at the Cup has made it more fun (particularly within an otherwise dull group), especially their first-round shakeup of Sweden. I wish they'd managed to go a little farther and I hope they'll be back.

There are folks out there who believe squads like this don't belong in the Cup. I can't understand this attitude. I always look forward to seeing what the debutants will bring with them, and it's important to the spirit and health of the tournament that every four years, everyone has a chance on the biggest stage of all.

Each World Cup, several of the wealthy, famous, superstar teams come dragging their high expectations behind them, and subsequently fail to impress. Eduardo Galeano waxed rhapsodic about Senegal in 2002, the team that came "with no World Cup history, no stars, no obligation to win or trepidation about losing." Doubtless, every player hopes for glory and perhaps a better contract for the coming year; all the same, squads who are mostly written off before they even step on the pitch remind us, lest we forget, of what matters more than the three points, the money, the endorsements, the careers, more money, the image, the fame, the press, the glamour.

And what is it that matters? The energy of your supporters, the chance to see your team tangle with Goliaths on the pitch. National pride, representing your country. Oh, and something about kicking a ball around.

1 comment:

Zach Dundas said...

I'm with you guys. While I miss Ireland (doesn't really seem like a true World Cup without them) and have sentimental feelings towards Russia, I don't see what the addition of a bunch of middling European teams would do for this (or any) World Cup. Do people honestly think the tournament would be improved if T&T were traded for, say, Greece? It's the World Cup, and every continent needs fair representation—I mean, on population alone there should be a bunch more Asian teams in.