On World Cup Podcasts, Zizou, and Big Phil for President

As the countdown to the championship commences:

Its snarkiness wears a bit thin at times (I am not of the school that more goals equates to better football), but my only tournament-long companion, besides Univsion, has been James Richardson and Co.’s daily podcast at the Guardian. Their reports on an English email campaign to deny Christian Ronaldo the best young player award– and their Scottish neighbors’ campaign to help him win it– was a recent highlight. They also mentioned this amusing display of Roberto Carlos’ impression of a statue during the Thierry Henry goal last week. I found it throught the new Google, YouTube, dont you know.

The Guardian’s Jason Burke has a piece today on how France in 2006 is not as optimistic as that of 1998:

Then the ethnic diversity of the French team, with its mix of players from African, ‘French-French’ and Arab descent, was held up as a magical example of how the French model of integration could work. Now, following last autumn’s violent rioting in the poor suburbs where many of the current players originate and the evident fact that racial discrimination in France remains a serious problem, few are as optimistic.’Following the victory of 1998 there was very quickly a very strong sense of disappointment,’ Geraldine Faes, author of a book on the black community in France, said.

My brother noted after the Spain game that the Zidane and France reminded him of Jordan and the Bulls of 1998: the talent is not as great as it was before, but they grit out win after win. (In this metaphor, Viera must be Pippen.) For me, Zizou brings to mind Hemingway’s Great DiMaggio as depicted in, and by, the Old Man and the Sea: strong, silent, graceful, the son of immigrants. (This image is unlikely to be altered by Zidane, un portrait du 21e siècle, the new film about the [soon-to-be Red Bull capitain?] player, not the person.) Jere Longman and George Vescey added to the praise for Zidane this week. Vescey:

The television caught him bounding out of the runway for the second half of France’s World Cup semifinal match with Portugal yesterday, clear-eyed and eager to play another 45 minutes in the heat and tension. The French national federation could market a film of Zidane’s enthusiasm to show players young and old: This is how an athlete goes to work.

Global Voices, meanwhile translates and points to Brazilian’s Luis Nassif’s blog post about how Brazil’s disgrace could affect the fall elections:

“There are clear similarities between Parreira and the government’s economic management and also in the tentative theoretical rhetoric about ordinary aspects of life, in order to rationalize its own absence of courage to take stands. The first common denominator between Parreira and successive government economic teams is the inability of adapting tactical principles to reality. The second, closely related to the first, is the predominance of inertia, the fear of taking the risks of change. Amplifying this, we have the third: pressure from sponsors and/or future hirers and the sport artifacts industry and marketers who add an additional dose of inertia to the game. It is not clear what ‘hedge’ is used by a Nike against the risk of some of its sponsored ones not being chosen to play but those who have it — have it. The fourth commonality is to use irrelevant victories to justify the maintenance of the status quo model. A close victory against unimpressive opponents, as much as an irrelevant growth in the GDP are good justifications for non-action. The fifth similarity is the absence of the political agent, capable of stimulating the ‘animal spirit’ — in the economy to inspire the entrepreneurs to invest and, in the case of Parreira, to make the players play. Big Phil for President!”
Os cabeças de chuteira, por Luis Nassif – HyBrasil

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