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The World Soccer
I studied drawing at school for many years, but I didn’t like it very much. My favorite subject in school was Olympic sports. I remember when I was a kid playing football with my friends. My best memory is when El Salvador, a small country in Central America, qualified for the World Cup in 1982. I did not think that “ES” defeated Mexico, sixth in the Championship FIFA World Cup in 1970.
Between 1978 and 1989, El Salvador experienced one of the worst civil wars in modern Latin American history. Sadly, over 70,000 people were killed by anti-communist dictatorships and Marxist rebels.
Admittedly, I was a big fan of Salvadoran football. I once said: “ES ganarà el Mundial (El Salvador will win the 1982 FIFA World Cup..!). However, the only thing I remember clearly is that Hungary beat El Salvador 10-1 in the World Cup in Spain…Goodbye ES…!
Like many people, I think football has been “the passion” in the world since 1910. When Cameroon, a former French colony in Africa, won its first gold medal at the XXVII Summer Olympics in Australia (2000 )…Yaoundè, the capital city of Cameroon, was carnival for days. Cameroon was the second African country to win Olympic gold…
Unfortunately, Liberia was the nightmare of the third world… From 1980 to 2005, more than 180,000 people were killed by dictatorships and AIDS… Currently, poverty is a scourge… Its per capita income of $80 a year is one of the worst in world history. Hundreds of thousands of Liberians fled the country. Like neighboring Sierra Leone, the African country has one of the highest numbers of orphans in Africa relative to its population.
Fortunately, Liberia is home to George Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah, one of the most famous and charismatic players in the world. In 1995, FIFA named George Weah as the best footballer of the year. Certainly, he became a “World Star” in the 1990s. Like Iman (former super-model from Somalia) and Dikembe Mutombo (basketballer from the Democratic Republic of Congo), George Weah is an icon of the African continent. Since then, he has made a great contribution to the human development of Liberia. Currently, George Weah is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
He captained the national team for many years, but his country failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. Ironically, Liberia was not one of the best teams in Africa in the 20th century.
In 1994, Bolivia’s qualification for the final was one of the surprises of Third World sport. Under Marco Etcheverry, Bolivia beat Brazil 2-0 in the pre-World Cup in La Paz, the Bolivian capital. I remember that Etcheverry, better known for his nickname “El Diablo”, was the idol of millions of Bolivians. It was one of the greatest sporting moments in Bolivian history since 1978. At that time, Bolivia, under the leadership of Guadalupe Yañez, qualified for the FIBA Women’s World Championship in Seoul, the capital of Korea from South.
In my opinion, the FIFA World Championship is a world without borders. Ferenc Puskas, born in April 1926 in Budapest, Hungary, made his debut in a friendly against Austria at the age of just fifteen… In the last century, Puskas has represented both Hungary, a former state Communist, and Spain. At the time, Santamaria was playing for Uruguay and Spain. Traditionally, American players have Latin American and African roots: Hugo Perez (El Salvador), Tab Ramos (Uruguay), Claudio Reyna (Argentina), Josmer Altidore (Haiti) and Freddy Addu (Ghana).
Today Gerald Asamoah, born in Accra (Ghana), is one of the best footballers in Germany right now. While Alex (Alessandro) Santos, born in Brazil, is a Japanese player. Santos has played for Japan several times, including at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Personally, I think this century will be an era of “sporting miracles” in the Third World. Ivory Coast, better known as Côte d’Ivoire, qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup…Angola made their debut in Germany…Trinidad and Tobago made its debut in the World Cup… Paraguay won the silver medal in football at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
1930: FIFA World Cup in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, one of the most developed countries in the 1930s. The final standings: 1-Uruguay, 2-Argentina, 3-Yugoslavia, 4-States -United, 5-Chile, 6-Brazil,7-France,8-Paraguay,9-Romania, 10-Peru, 11-Belgium, 12-Bolivia, 13-Mexico.
1934: World Cup in Rome. Uruguay did not participate. The final ranking: 1-Italy, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Austria, Spain, Hungary, Sweden, Switzerland, Romania, Argentina, France, Holland, Brazil, Egypt, Belgium and United States.
1938: World Cup in France. The final classification: 1-Italy, Hungary, Brazil, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Cuba, France, Romania, Germany, Norway, Poland, Belgium, Holland, Dutch Indies.
1950: FIFA World Cup in Brazil. In Rio, the host lost the final 2-1 to Uruguay. Brazil were the big favourites… Uruguay had their second World Cup!
1954: World Cup in Switzerland. The final ranking: 1-West Germany, Hungary, Austria, Uruguay, Switzerland, Brazil, England, Yugoslavia, France, Italy, Turkey, Belgium, Mexico, Czechoslovakia, Scotland, Korea.
1958: World Cup in Sweden… The final ranking: 1-Brazil, Sweden, France, West Germany, Wales, USSR, Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, England, Paraguay,
Argentina, Scotland, Austria and Mexico.
1962: World Cup in Santiago de Chile… Certainly, the Brazilian people produce the best coffee in the world, but also the best football… The final ranking: 1-Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Chile, Yugoslavia, Hungary, West Germany , USSR, England, Italy, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Uruguay, Colombia, Bulgaria and Switzerland.
1966: World Cup in London, United Kingdom… The final classification: 1-England,
West Germany, Portugal, USSR, Argentina, Hungary, Uruguay, North Korea, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Brazil…
1970: Brazil wins the FIFA World Cup on June 27 in Mexico City. The final ranking: Brazil, Italy, FRG, Uruguay, USSR, Mexico, Peru, England, Sweden, Belgium, Romania, Israel, Bulgaria, Morocco, Czechoslovakia and ES.
1974: World Cup in West Germany… After Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, qualified for the FIFA World Championship, a public holiday was declared by Mobutu Sésé Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa zan Banga, tyrannical president of the African country. …..Haitian footballers sometimes use the “Creole” language during matches to confuse their rivals…Brazil and Germany were the obvious favourites.The final standings: 1-West Germany, Holland, Poland, Brazil, Sweden, Argentina, East Germany, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Italy, Scotland, Australia, Chile, Uruguay, Haiti and Zaire.
1978: World Cup in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The final ranking: 1-Argentina, Holland, Brazil, Italy, West Germany, Poland, Austria, Peru, Tunisia, Spain, Scotland, France, Sweden, Iran, Hungary and Mexico.
1982: For the first time, there were 24 teams. Football World Cup in Spain. Italy won the trophy. The final ranking: 1-Italy, West Germany, Poland, France, Brazil, England, USSR, Austria, Northern Ireland, Belgium, Argentina, Spain, Algeria, Hungary. Scotland, Yugoslavia, Cameroon, Honduras, Czechoslovakia, Peru, Kuwait, Chile, New Zealand, ES.
1986: World Cup in Mexico. The final ranking: 1-Argentina, West Germany, France, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, England, Denmark, USSR, Morocco, Italy, Paraguay, Poland, Bulgaria, Uruguay, Portugal, Hungary, Scotland, South Korea South, Northern Ireland, Algeria, Iraq and Canada.
1990: World Cup in Italy. The final ranking: 1-West Germany, Argentina, Italy, England, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Ireland, Cameroon, Netherlands, Brazil, Belgium, Spain, Romania, Colombia, Uruguay, CR, Egypt, Austria, Scotland, USSR, Sweden, South Korea, USA and United Arab Emirates.
1994: World Cup in the United States. The final ranking: 1-Brazil, Italy, Sweden, Bulgaria, Germany, Romania, Netherlands, Spain, Nigeria, Argentina, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, United States, Switzerland, Ireland, Norway, Russia, Colombia, Korea South, Bolivia, Cameroon, Morocco and Greece.
1998: World Cup in Paris. The final ranking: 1-France, Brazil, Croatia, Netherlands, Argentina, Italy, Germany, Denmark, England, Yugoslavia, Romania, Nigeria, Mexico, Paraguay, Norway, Chile, Spain, Morocco, Belgium, Iran, Colombia, Jamaica, Austria, South Africa, Cameroon, Tunisia, Scotland, Saudi Arabia, Bulgaria, South Korea, Japan and the United States.
2002: World Cup in Japan and South Korea…1-Brazil, 2-Germany, 3-Turkey, 4-South Korea…Korea has one of the best sports infrastructures in the world…
2006: World Cup in Germany…1-Italy, 2-France,3-Germany,4-Portugal…
-Laity, Paul. “Costa de Marfil Brujería: que forma de ganar”, National Geographic, MexicoDF, June 2006
-Matthews,Meter.Whitaker’s Almanac Internacional Sports Records and Results 1998-9, London:The Stationery Office, London, 1998.
– Vickery, Tim. “Paraguay: Rags and Riches”, World Soccer Special Edition, London, Summer 2006
-1976 Almanaque Mundial Deportivo, Editorial America, Panama, 1975
-1977 Almanaque Mundial Deportivo, Editorial America, Panama, 1976
-2001 The World Almanac, World Almanac Books, New Jersey, 2000
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