Just when we thought we couldn’t enjoy this World Cup more…Ronaldo had a massive strop and was benched. Glorious.
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Have England fans reached the ‘convincing-themselves-that-France-aren’t-really-that-good’ stage yet?
1. LVG : have always admired the guy. He’s obstinate as hell but knows how to get a tune out of the national side.
2. Daley Blind : an underrated player IMO. Not the fastest or most athletic but his understanding of space and his passing make him a formidable opponent
3. Morocco : the underdog story of this edition.
4. Ronny throwing another strop and then getting benched. Damn do Portugal play better without him.
5. Mbappe : what a player. He’s like this generation’s Messi to Haaland’s Ronaldo.
6. Gakpo: definitely put himself on the radar with his performances. May he continue to play well.
7. Bellingham : the transfer saga of the year?
8. Croatia : what a team! Exemplary game management
At least Messi is doing something…
I proudly hang my hat on the Messi side of the Ronaldo/Messi debate, and I’ve been loving the self-inflicted self-destruction of Cristiano in the past months. I read a lot this week about the obsequiousness of the BBC pundits over Messi in the Argentina vs Australia game on Saturday. It was quite extensive, but at least Messi carried the team to victory in the game.
Compare that to tonight, where ITV did pretty much the exact same thing, but for the opposite reasons. Ally McCoist urging Fernando Santos to bring Ronaldo on now, as if the aim of the game is to make sure Ronaldo gets some minutes, even if it requires you to be 4 goals ahead first. I think he’s more concerned about qualifying for the next round. Then the token free kick into the wall, with the commentators completely oblivious to his terrible record. And then the whole love in for him patting the goalscorers on the shoulder, like he’s some hero. All rather sickening – at least Messi is doing something!
Sticking his neck out…
For me, there are five teams left who can realistically win the World Cup. The winner will either be South American, or European.
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Simon, Norf London Gooner
…Tell you what, whoever wins this World Cup will deserve it – for all its many, many faults the tournament is littered with special players across nearly every team. Whether England go any further or not, the final promises to be juicier than a packet of Opal fruit.
(Nasty kits all round though)
Why Brazil dance after each goal…
As a Brit who now lives in Brazil with my family, after reading about some of the reactions back home, I wanted to share some thoughts on the context behind why this Brazil team dances and has a different dance after each goal. You would have hoped that keen Strictly fan Roy Keane would have noticed this…
In Spain, in September, on the programme ‘El Chiringuito’, Pedro Bravo said that Vinicius Jr needed to stop ‘acting like a monkey’ by dancing to celebrate a goal. Shortly after this, Atletico Madrid fans chanted ‘Vinicius, you are a monkey’ outside the Metropolitano.
This caused a strong reaction here in Brazil, where various legal punishments exist for doing such obviously racist things in public. This year, this was also a recurring issue in Brazil during Copa Libertadores matches against teams from elsewhere in South America, particularly Argentina. For example, I was at Corinthians’ game against Boca Juniors in June, where I was sat near the away section and saw various Boca fans imitating monkeys. One even did a Nazi salute towards Brazilian fans: at least three people were arrested.
So with this as a backdrop, the Brazilian players’ dances for each goal are partly an expression of support for Vini Jr, and for a country where dance is, without falling back on stereotypes, a part of the culture. To pick even the most famous examples, Samba is an expression of Afro-Brazilian culture with its roots in Congolese and Angolan dance/music. And Capoeira blended dance, self-defence, the maintenance of African spirituality and culture, and defiance against slavery (2 years after the end of slavery in Brazil, Capoeira was declared illegal). So when white Europeans criticise black or mixed-race Brazilians for dancing, especially when also calling it ‘disrespectful’, it seems to strike, even subconsciously, at something very important.
What’s more, Brazil coach, Tite, said that he has had to learn about it because he realises that dance is a language of communication for this current generation. And given the popularity of dances like on TikTok around the World, this probably isn’t just the current generation of Brazilians.
The idea has also become a motivating factor for the players, with Raphinha saying that for each game, they have a plan for which dance they’ll do for the first goal, the second, and so on. It becomes an extra incentive to score to have the chance to a) do something they enjoy that expresses joy and togetherness and b) show defiance towards what has been, in some situations, racist attitudes towards certain players.
So unfortunately for Pedro Bravo, Roy Keane and Simon Jordan, as long as Vini Jr and Brazil keep scoring, they will keep dancing.
Why do the old men have a voice?
We all know the saying, old Man shouting at trees, but how old do you have to be, to have an issue with dancing. I mean, there is a whole industry around it, people make a living off of it. I mean, this isn’t a new concept, people dance all the time, all over the World and it’s usually when they are happy, or proud, or have achieved something. It’s a form of celebration.
I just can’t understand your Roy Keane type fellas, did he never celebrate a goal? I’m pretty sure he ran abound and shouted like a little kid at one point. Just because his celebration tactics were and are limited, doesn’t mean he gets to take away the creativity of others. Just because all he can do is jump up and down, shouldn’t limit Neymar from moving his feet, hands and shoulders.
Like seriously, what’s acceptable to these type of people, is somebody supposed to score at the World cup and stand there emotionless? Where’s the fun in that, and why even watch if the dude doing it is so nonchalant? Roy Keane is a moron on so many levels , I don’t understand how he gets to give his opinions. If he hates football so much, just leave. I don’t like some of Gary Neville takes, buts I can sort of appreciate his angle, but I can’t ever recall agreeing with any of Roy Keane’s takes.
The NFL tried to limit orchestrated celebration a few years ago, and had to back down, and it came down to the time it’s allowed. I can understand that. Players want to celebrate, they however can’t go and do a musical, celebrate within reasonable time, in a respectful manner . All good and everyone can go home happy. To be all sour grapes, because a team is celebrating a goal tells me you shouldn’t even be watching the sport, let alone commentating on it.
Dave (A Roy Keane Hater), Somewhere
Actually, this old Man kind of agrees
I was only able to catch a few minutes of the Brazil/Korea game but did catch the third and fourth goals.
I found Ian King’s piece on it interesting. Ian talks about these pundits’ anger, which I agree is a bit of an overreaction. But I do think it’s ridiculous for Ian to say that only the Koreans can say it is disrespectful.
Because watching someone bang in the fourth goal before half time, do a solo dance, then a co-ordinated group dance with the teammates on the pitch, then with the subs warming up, then another solo then do a “falling to my knees pointing to the heavens” celebration, all of which took about two minutes beginning to end… it was pretty obnoxious and certainly felt disrespectful to me. Its not doing a little dance, it’s doing it for so bloody long that’s the issue. I mean, I didn’t lose sleep over it, but found it a bit much.
Also, Tite doing dad dancing was disrespectful to anyone who had to watch, not just his opponents.
And excessive celebration is against the rules after all – which is why the classic spontaneous shirt-off celebration will get you a yellow card – maybe doing three separate dance numbers is in the same category?
I’m reminded of the periodic winge in rugby about New Zealand (amongst others) doing the Hakka – people complaining about it are spoilsports in my opinion, but it’d start to piss me off if they did it three times after every try…
So, I guess, in summary, I thought the article was quite one-eyed. The anger certainly was a bit much, but I don’t think the Brazil team’s behaviour was beyond (admittedly very minor) criticism.
Fanmail for Dave
Having just been reading the recent mailbox contributions, I felt I had to reply to Dave from Somewhere. His idea is full of problems, mainly originating from the examples he uses to back himself.
He says that he felt sad when seeing the Senegal fans, as they were the last African team in the competition. I think the Moroccan fans would have an issue with that, having just dumped Spain out.
Secondly he says Belgium wouldn’t be allowed to buddy up with another team as they have good players but Croatia would, so that players like Modric can “reach the pinnacle”. Remember the last World cup? When Croatia, captained by none other than our pal Luka, reached the final? And Belgium didn’t? Also, Belgium have never reached a major final, Croatia now have reached 2.
Sorry for the pedantry but the inaccuracy of this mail irked me
…Did some major tectonic event take place last night? Was wondering because, according to Dave, Somewhere, Morocco have been sheared away from Africa.
Mind you, if Dave can’t work out exactly where he is, probably shouldn’t be surprised he doesn’t realize Morocco is in Africa. Could have saved him loads, making up that hugely nonsensical idea about teaming up countries to compete at the World Cup. After all, only teams from UEFA and Conmebol have ever won it. What about Asia and Oceania? Who needs to team up there?
What pointless drivel. Almost as bad as Spain’s penalty taking.
…Dave in the morning mailbox wonders if Senegal would have had any expectation of beating France if they had got past England. Well if only we had a historic example of this very thing happening in a previous World Cup….
I don’t know why Dave was so quick to write off Senegal and US in their games simply because they were inferior teams on paper. Saudi Arabia-Argentina, Japan-Germany, Spain-Germany and Morocco-Belgium are just a few examples of games that looked easy on paper in this tournament but turned out to be anything but. You can ask the likes of Belgium and Germany what their superiority on paper brought them in the group stages. Yes the big boys tend to dominate the latter stages, but the gulf in class is not always as wide as David wants us to believe.
And let’s not forget, England easily brushing off a side like Senegal isn’t exactly the norm for them in the knockout stages of tournaments (or even the group stages for that matter- England vs Algeria in World cup 2010 is one of the worst matches in history). If that’s what people believe these days, I can’t think of a stronger endorsement of Gareth Southgate than that.
Turiyo Damascene, Kigali, Rwanda
Don’t mess with the magic…
Reading the mailbox made me realise just how many people from a top footballing power (or maybe just those from England?) don’t understand what the World Cup is about and certainly don’t understand what it means to the less established nations.
Seriously, to the people writing in about all star teams or combined nation teams, how do you not get it? How do you watch the Brazilians joyfully dancing away and still not get it? How do you watch the Mexican fans electrifying a stadium and still not get it? How do you watch the pure joy the South Korean players displayed in making the last 16, versus the absolute heartbreak and agony of Uruguay and still not getting it?
The World Cup is about representing your country. We already have a vessel for the best players in the World to combine, regardless of nationality. It’s called club football. The World Cup is about representing your nation and the pride you take in being on the pitch with 10 of your countrymen, cheered on by fans who support you because that is where they are from.
Do you honestly think anyone would care about a North American team? Those fans would want to get together and watch a mishmash of players from the continent, rather than watch a team made up of players from their country? It’s so unbelievably patronising to say “oh, these poor little countries, what can we do to help them?” Please listen, countries like this do not need help.
Did you see Robert Lewandowski almost in tears because he scored for Poland at the World Cup? That’s how much it means. Do you think he would care at all about an all star team? I suspect for Gareth Bale it would be Wales-Golf-Madrid followed by many many other priorities before even beginning to care about an all star team. It just isn’t what the World Cup is about.
I am Scottish and I would rather qualify for one major tournament every 20 years than win it as the United Kingdom, or god forbid some random mashup of Scotland, Sweden, Norway and the Czech Republic as seem to have been suggested. And to be clear, there is nothing anti-English or anti-British in that statement. I support England in cricket. My wife is English and both my sons will probably support England (although I’m doing my best to stop that). I support Team GB in the Olympics. But in football, there is nothing that compares to supporting Scotland and being in a large group of Scottish fans. Great moments are few and far between for our national team, but when they do come, like beating France, the feeling is indescribable.
So please, stop trying to mess with the magic of international football. It’s perfect.
Mike, LFC, London