The tension of the first matches affects even the most experienced national teams and the green and gold are capable of anything, even playing against themselves. Meanwhile, amidst grudges and controversies, Cr7’s last dance begins, fighting against everything and everyone. The Spanish spectacle and the great injustice of Belgium-Canada
“World dialogues” will accompany every day of Qatar 2022. A daily dialogue between football and humor between Fulvio Paglialunga and Giuseppe Pastore on the topics of the day, or maybe not, of the first Winter World Cup in history.
Joseph – Here we go again. Argentina dominated the first half, closed it 1-0 and then collapsed without warning against Arabia. Germany dominates the first 60 minutes, closes them 1-0 and then collapses without warning against Japan. But what’s going on? Above all, they look like deadly voltage drops, a syndrome from the beginning of the World Cup from which even the most experienced big players suffer from time to time – let alone this young, beautiful and talented Germany, but not exactly as bodied as in the good old days. Second earthquake in 48 hours which, however, must surprise up to a certain point, because Japan had remedied an excellent figure even 4 years ago. And he scored with two Bundesliga players.
Fulvius – I believe that the World Cup at this stage of the year can also affect the tension of the matches. Don’t ask me for a scientific basis because I don’t have one, but if I see how Germany could have almost won big and instead lost despite practically always having the ball at their feet, I imagine the players halfway between the World Cup there is, the championship they left and not even the prospect of the holidays after. Like it or not, it’s a different state of mind than usual. I don’t even have to tell you that Germany’s best action was before the match.
Joseph – Yes, if among the 7 “Protestant” national teams I had to imagine one that would have struggled to digest the niet of Fifa, I would have thought of the Germans. They have always been punctilious in defending their ideas. Now they rightly position themselves as the leading country on civil rights: modern, careful, incisive even in communication (the gesture of the hand over the mouth needs no explanation). And Neuer had also made the most beautiful save of the World Cup, a few minutes before the Japanese equalizer…
Fulvius – We will see that picture for years. Strong enough to mark a politically historic moment, even if they themselves put it better than I’m saying, saying it’s not a political message because human rights are not negotiable. And then the act of disobedience by Neuer with the “No discrimination” band, the Minister of the Interior with the “One love” band in the gallery. Germany moved together and yes, as you say, it’s not surprising. Someone had to start, although I imagine Infantino exulting in defeat. (By the way, since the Fifa director never tried to frame Neuer up close?). I hope, for this reason, that it won’t be eliminated, even if Spain is next.
Joseph – Spain put on a show and on Saturday evening they could already execute Germany after just 180 minutes of the World Cup. Even if I tend to always be skeptical about strikes, especially at the beginning of the World Cup, because they lose any credibility from the fourth goal onwards, it is an impression of lightness and technique in movement that cannot go unnoticed: absit iniuria verbis, its fluidity made me remembered Naples. Luis Enrique is the only coach who has given his national team the principles and automatisms of a club team (even if he fails to play against the very modest Costa Rica, which even the barricades are no longer capable of).
Fulvius – I spend a few words on Luis Enrique, because he seems to me the true leader of Spain and because this national team has taken it back at all costs, even overcoming the family drama. I think he has put together an unpredictable team, which is somewhat the genetic characteristic of Spain itself: it always has a young national team, and those young people never get old, because there are others behind it ready to occupy spaces and regenerate the team. Now it’s Gavi’s turn, who is truly a phenomenon. He turned eighteen in the summer, but nobody noticed yesterday. He thinks that he continues to follow the Barcelona youth matches because he has remained close to his teammates from the cantera. It’s great that new stars of world football emerge, while others fade away on their own. And you know who I’m talking about…
Joseph – We have arrived at the afternoon of the Villain par excellence of this World Cup, the man we all want to see in the dust at least with the same intensity with which we want to see Messi triumph. Don’t think that Did Cristiano Ronaldo do it all by himself? Don’t you think he wants to harbor a grudge for his Last Dance, like Maradona did at Italia ’90?
Fulvius – Cristiano Ronaldo is like Berlusconi for Montanelli, so self-centered that if he goes to a wedding he would like to be the bride and the dead at a funeral. Because I see this: it’s the World Cup that, before Saudi Arabia, many saw as a possible goal for Messi and he doesn’t want to concede it. He has never lived in the shadows, he has also fed on this dualism and now that he risks being overtaken he is doing everything to stay on the front page. In fact, he plays this World Cup as a free agent. And guess who this happened to? To Messi in the America’s Cup, when he was no longer from Barcelona and not yet from PSG. And Messi won.
Joseph – Even at Donnarumma and Chiellini at Wembley – what a curious thing, the two captains who lifted the European and America’s Cup in 2021 were free agents. But then tonight there is also o Brazil, the unanimous number 1 favorite of the eve, before France raised its voice. Despite the anything but soft group, for me they are the team to beat for the deep Premier backbone they’ve never had before: 12 out of 26 called up play in England, and if it’s true that the English now run faster than in November, it is right that it also applies to them. And then I adore Vinicius, who also has the merit of taking the pressure off Neymar.
Fulvius – If Brazil weren’t Brazil, this World Cup would already have a winner. But it is the Maracanazo team, that of Mineirazo. Capable of anything, even of winning big. But I would suspend judgment until the first game. It goes without saying that, without mentioning the team I support, I feel a natural admiration for those who are capable of being remembered more for their thuds than for having won five World Cups. In any case has the team to get to a final holders of Brazil against reserves of Brazil.
Joseph – Third 0-0 in nine games and after Morocco-Croatia someone starts to turn up their noses. In reality it seemed to me a more than decent match, especially in the first half, above all thanks to Morocco which confirms the excellent performance achieved by Africa up to now. Hakimi overflowing on the right, Amrabat dominant in midfield against Modric and Brozovic (I saw him in splendid condition 10 days ago in Milan-Fiorentina and he confirmed his conditions). At the moment the Croatians, a bit staid, are paying, like many teams, for the absence of a high quality number 9 to realize all the good things cooked behind them.
Fulvius – Of course, having chosen Croatia as a team for this tournament, they could have started better, but nothing. The reason why the World Cup is always interesting is that in the end dynamics are reproduced in different national teams that are usually seen in yet another nation. For example: Modric, usually at Real Madrid, played one of his games (but he can’t do it alone, poor man) covering almost the entire pitch. I tell you this because I did one of those nerdy things that I generally like, but which also make me uncomfortable: I saw his heat map and his statistics, which are impressive especially if we remember that he is 37 years old . But the 0-0 also has a protagonist who is the goalkeeper of Morocco, who said this to lovers of a too old football would make people say “in what sense the goalkeeper of Morocco?”, were it not that Bounou is the goalkeeper of Sevilla, he won a few Europa Leagues and that before him no Sevilla goalkeeper had won the Zamora award in La Liga as the best goalkeeper in the league.
Joseph – Belgium-Canada 1-0 underlines a great classic of the World Cups of yesterday, today and tomorrow: the Great Injustices. I think the fairer result was a two-goal difference for Canada to win. Great team, young, athletic, organized and proactive even after the bad luck and injustice that fell upon them in the first half. Belgium unpresentable for a long time, especially in some caryatids like Hazard who doesn’t really seem in a position to play in a World Cup. In general, it gives the feeling of decline from all points of view, starting with enthusiasm: and I don’t think Lukaku would eventually change much.
Fawno – A team that makes 21 shots and loses the game is a classic situation that occurs in Football Manager and you get pissed off so I guess the Canadians. Yes, they had to win because Belgium’s golden generation has aged. And even when he was young, he never actually kept a promise. Oh well, we are already ready for another day.
Joseph – We will also see Uruguay, the quintessential loose cannon, which it is ungenerous to reduce to the great old Suarez, Cavani, Godin, etc.: Valverde is one of the strongest midfielders in the world, Bentancur is having an amazing season in Conte’s Tottenham, Darwin Nunez he’s in full apprenticeship in Liverpool but in these shores – considering the many teams that play well but don’t score due to lack of 9s – he can make the difference.
Fulvius – I’m waiting for Cameroon, which is a team I only see play during the World Cup and I read for the rest of my life, because it’s always a crazy mine of stories. It’s a mild form of Stockholm syndrome after 82, so everything appeals to me. For example, the striking story of Andrè Onana, the goalkeeper, who in February a year ago took a nine-month ban for doping for having accidentally taken a diuretic pill prescribed to his wife instead of the paracetamol she needed . He was destroying his career and now he’s here.
Joseph – Africa is doing very well. Three difficult matches against Holland, Denmark and Croatia, but none between Senegal, Tunisia and Morocco disfigured: indeed! Maybe the family climate helps and also a sort of field factor, but it seems to me a significant fact, in the first edition of the World Cup in which all five African national teams are coached by native coaches. I’m also waiting for Ghana, which of the five Africans seems to me the least talented apart from the excellent Kudus, who did very well in the Champions League with Ajax.
Fulvius – When Switzerland plays instead, again against Cameroon, I want to see what hairstyle Manuel Akanji will have. Not because he was impressed by McKennie’s one in the United States match, but because a haircut once cost him ten thousand euros, perhaps the most expensive ever. But there is a reason: he had invited a hairdresser to his house during the pandemic, to get his hair done, moreover without a mask.
Josephe – Tonight will already be pagellone time after the first round. For me at the moment France is in pole position, Spain immediately behind, Qatar last with gaps like Ancona 2003-2004, with three or four empty boxes before Costa Rica. What do you think?
Fulvius – I’ll wait for tomorrow. When we can say “we’ve seen them all”. And it will be interpretable at will