Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Where was the football?

France's former soccer great Michel Platini observed right. He said that World Cup 2006 was dominated by coaches and tactics, and that players were not there. The more important thing was there was not much football either. There were no memorable goals. No great matches. Everyone of them was a dour affair. As a matter of fact, the early matches proved to be much better than the last eight, four and two. The flair was not there. Not even in the case of Zidane. The good goals that one can recall were those of Miroslav Klose and Pudolski of Germany in their opening match against Costa Rica. There was force and speed and elegance in those goals. Zidane's penalty kick in the final was quite unexciting.
Is there need to agonise over Zidane's headbutting against the Italy's Marco Materazzi, and the red card that saw him off the field? Materazzi's provocation will remain a mystery. Zidane has played well, but somewhere the game has failed to make him a rounded human being, which is what games are supposed to do to you. Instead, football became an expression of his pentup energies and vague sorrows of an 'outsider'.
It is still difficult to find the tragic dimension to Zidane's so-called dark side. In a world where sporting heroes are necessarily vunerable -- Lance Armstrong is a good example -- it is not right to expect the heroic from the great players. You can be an ordinary human being, even less than ordinary, but you can be a great player, a great musician, a great artist and what not. No need then to look for sublime reasons for our failures to measure up as human beings.

1 comment:

Joslin said...

Brilliant analysis, Venkateshwar. It was truly a boring, forgettable World Cup -- that is exactly what I said, too, in my blog.

--Joslin Vethakumar

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