Claude Arpi captures the fan's passion for football in an ongoing e-mail exchange with Ivan Crasto, Rediff.com's Sports Editor.
Read Claude's first e-mail here
You can find his second e-mail here
And his third here
And his fourth here
And his 5th: Revolution is a French sport
And his 6th: World Cup balls
And his 7th: Why is refreeing so poor in the World Cup?
And his 8th: The sinking of Old Europe
And his 9th Did you see the most ridiculous goal of the competition?
Good morning! I hope that you enjoyed your weekend as much as I did.
I shared my time between the G20 and G16 (per-quarter finalists).
We live in a strange world, don't you think? The 200-odd countries represented today in world bodies such as the G20 get their rank on one criterion alone: GDP. It is the supreme god of our modern world. I always feel that we should have other criteria, why not the GNH (Gross National Happiness) like our Himalayan neighbour Bhutan? And why not many others?.
Thank god (I am not saying thanks to the FIFA), we have the World Cup.
Here, the criterion is to kick a round leather object and propel it behind a white line between two posts. I find it less boring than the GDP and more efficient in bringing together human beings of the five continents. Angela Merkel and David Cameron were not fooled by the tough agenda of Barack Obama and his colleagues; they took leave to watch the England-Germany match.
Despite their momentary absence, the planet will continue to turn, though it will never be the same for the Britons who got thrashed by the Goths. Did the Germans take some magic potion? Probably a psychological one: they are young and like to kick this piece of leather efficiently (though since it is made in China, it must be quite synthetic in fact).
The English team can always blame the referee(s) (I have already mentioned this: I considerer the poor refereeing to be the most shameful aspect of an otherwise well-organised tournament by South Africa). Despite the litigious goal scored by Farnk Lampard and refused by Mr Larrionda, the Uruguayan referee, the Germans were just better, much better. Germany had its revenge for the 1966 final when they were defeated by England (4-2)... after a controversial English goal! Better late than never.
Of course, the British tabloids screamed about the referee's blunder, but like the French and Italian, English football has a serious problem.
In the second match this Sunday, Argentina inflicted a 3-1 defeat to the Mexicans and this, after the Italian referee granted a goal to Tevez, who was widely off-side. When the Mexicans objected, the referee went to consult his line assistant (while the big screen was replaying the action and showing Tevez off-side). It was not enough to change Mr. Rosetti's decision. It is really a great tragedy of today's football to have narrow-minded bosses like Sepp Blatter or Michel Platini (president of the European federation) who live in another age and refuse video refereeing.
The second goal of Argentina was just an offering by Father Xmas Defender Osorio who just gave the ball away in front of the goal to the Albicelestes Higuain. The Mexicans did not merit losing so heavily (3-1), but that's football.
On Saturday, I enjoyed the two matches South Korea-Uruguay and USA-Ghana. I am happy that the South American team made it to the last eight, but it could as well have been the other way around. I have been wondering what makes a team win and another lose. Of course, one reason could be that one of the two is far superior (like for Germany-England); it could also be thanks to the help of arbitral blunders, but 'luck' (I will not say 'karma') is a determinant factor.
Why does the leather ball sometimes decide to penetrate the goal while in other cases, it just bangs off the post (by the way, did you know that the posts are made in France, one can't have everything made in China!!).
Good Luck is the villain or benefactor. Take the beautiful free kick of Chu Young Park in the 3rd minute, it rebounded after crashing the post, while Suarez's 'banana 'kick touched the post and entered. No doubt, it was beautiful goal, but with a tiny 10 cm deviation, we were in for extra-time. C'est la vie!
Sad to see the Americans out. It was a good team, playing fair (I never saw them grumbling against the referee), but it is good to have a representative of the African continent in the last eight. That is the problem with the knockout phase, one of the two teams has to go.
With better whistles for the referees
PS: It is said that the English won against Slovenia in the first round phase thanks to the glass of beer offered by their Italian coach. Let us hope that German coach Joachim Loew will have given several pints to his players (after the match), they merited it.
PPS: The following teams of the G20 made it to the G32: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa , Republic of Korea, United Kingdom (represented by England) and United States of America. Why not have a seat for the FIFA in the G21.