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Brazil is Brazil and will hopefully remain Brazil

June 29, 2010 13:58 IST
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
His second here
His third here
His fourth here
His 5th: Revolution is a French sport
His 6th: World Cup balls
The 7th: Why is refreeing so poor in the World Cup?
His 8th: The sinking of Old Europe
The 9th: Did you see the most ridiculous goal of the competition?
And the one yesterday on Germany have their revenge, finally

Dear Ivan

I hope that you had a pleasant Latino night.

Yesterday, I heard one of the most stupid statements of the World Cup. A FIFA official was asked about the possibility of introducing video refereeing. He replied (you won't believe it!) 'if there was no arbitral mistake, there would be nothing to talk about in the pubs in the evening.'

It shows the level of responsibility (and intelligence) of these people who manage the fate of the 207 'countries' officially recognised by the Football Federation. I had mentioned to you that the World Cup is 'more efficient in bringing together human beings of the five continents.'

Globalisation is one of the most fascinating aspects of the game. The World Cup is the only world event which can bring a true representation and participation from the five continents. And, more interestingly, in a peaceful way, with each participant being on 'equal' footing before entering the field.

Nayan Chanda, who teaches at the Yale Centre for the Study of Globalisation in the US (he was earlier the editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong) showed me an interesting perspective. That the human journey towards 'globalisation' started on the Black Continent, and it is only just that it returns here.

Nayan says: "Some sixty thousand years ago humanity began its journey in Africa. Some 250 men, women and children walked out of Africa in search of a better life and today their 5 billion progenies occupy the earth. It is only fitting that countries would return to the mother continent to play the World Cup. The games, however, show the differences that have emerged among the descendants."

Even the 'unqualified' countries have offered something. Take India, for every 100 jabulani balls on the fields of South Africa, you have some 7 kg rubber from Kerala! In an interview Naresh Jain, one of the directors of Enkay which has been supplying latex bladders to Adidas explained: 'We have supplied around 200,000 bladders for jabulani.' Small consolation for India!

Don't you think that it is this 'global' aspect which attracts so many television watchers in India and around the world? Probably unconsciously, human beings remember that in a far distant past they belonged to the same African tribe. Let us hope that Ghana continues to represent us.

Sorry for this diversion, but it is an important aspect of the game, at least for me.

The Dutch continue their series of victories. They owe a great deal to Arjen Robben. After 18 minutes, the Bayern Munchen striker dribbled past two Slovak defenders and found the way to the net with a magnificent kick low in the corner of Mucha's goal. Everything was set to the millimetre. This is what makes a great player.

The Oranje added a goal towards the end of the match on a quickly-played free-kick and a mistake of the Slovakian keeper. At literally the last second, the Slovakians were rewarded for their resolute play when Vittek converted a penalty after a fault of goalie Stekelenburg. All in all, a rather dull match!

Did you notice that the Europeans are playing against each other (England-Germany, Holland-Slovakia, Spain-Portugal)? Last night, like the day before (Argentina-Mexico), we had two Latino teams (Brazil-Chile) in the second match. We can't blame the FIFA for everything, it is pure fate.

Brazil is and will hopefully remain Brazil. They possess something which makes the stuff of the greatest team: Dunga's players are good in all compartments of the game: attack, defence, passing, shooting and not the least, scoring.

The first 20 minutes of the game were fireworks. We rarely saw so many shots on target from both sides. As often, the Auriverde (Gold and Green) were the first to find the way to the net with a 'delicious' (as the British commentator qualified it) header of Juan on a corner kick.

Since the beginning of the competition we have not seen so often goals on a corner; today the defenders are so tall and really jump high. I still remember my football days when I could not leave the ground for more than a few centimetres. Gravity is perhaps greater in South India.

Once the score opened, that was it. Luis Fabiano and Robinho added two more to the tally. Great goals, great players, great team.

Tomorrow, the last pre-quarters! I will not play the soothsayer, but let us just hope that the best will win, the Spaniards and the Nippons, for example!

Dancing the samba with vuvuzelas,

Claude

Image: Brazil's coach Dunga greets Kaka. Photograph: Reuters

Claude Arpi