France strikes again…

June 21, 2010

…. but not at the goal. Just in general. It’s so crazy, I don’t even know to begin. I wanted to write a proper weekend round-up but there’s too much to cover! And plus, I’m sure you’ve read all the details in the press.

Ah, the press. A lot of people in France think that it is mostly to blame for what’s happening with the French football team. There’s a taupe, they insist (in English, a mole) who went and told the press what was said in the locker room during the France v. Mexico match. A team’s changing room is sacred, the players say, and regardless of the gravity (and obscenity!) of Anelka’s words to the coach, those words should never have left the room.

A fair point to some, but not to others. I mean, yes, I agree that the media is partly to blame for the situation spinning out of control (there was not need for L’Equipe to publish such sensational and shocking headlines), but aren’t we missing the point here? If Anelka insulted his coach as quoted, shouldn’t he deserve to get sent home? As noted in an article on Eurosport-Yahoo!, “the fact that the row should not have left the four walls of the dressing room is neither here nor there” (much like in 2006, as the journalist remembers, where instead of acknowledging Zidane’s mistake in head-butting Matterazzi, the French spent weeks investigating which member of the family Materrazzi had insulted and how).

Details, details, I feel like we’re getting lost in them. What I will remember from these last few days is not the football played, but the fight between Evra and Duverne,  followed by the French doing of the things they do best: going on strike. During the World Cup. I can barely believe it. If I were a French team supporter I would be thoroughly ecoeuré et degouté too (that means nauseated and disgusted, and I am directly quoting the managing director of the French football federation, who resigned today).

So what matches will we remember from this weekend of distracting drama? The Netherlands’ decisive match against Japan? Denmark’s surprisingly good goals? Yes, maybe. Unfortunately, with time we might forget about Ghana, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast’s attempts this weekend, during which we inched closer to the possibility of a World Cup in Africa without a single African team. What a real shame.

Italy v. New Zealand is a match that I personally wish I could forget, although according to the AFP the Kiwis couldn’t be happier. And rightly so! How many times has a team with only 4 World Cup matches behind it challenge and control a 4 time World Cup winner? As much as it pains me to say this, this was a deserved tie; Italy was motivated but lacked the quality necessary to push it forward. Oh and what is happening to Cannavaro? He is partly responsible for letting that Kiwi goal go through, and his quality is definitely slipping. Can we just cut out his cameo in the Nike “Write the Future” commercial, please. It’s much less funny now…

In any case, thank you to those who voted in my poll, especially to those who believed in the Italian team, even just a little bit.

Another week of World Cup games begins soon.  Hope we can just turn over this page of soap opera worthy drama in the press and focus on what really counts, le foot.

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