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“This World Cup marks an awakening from below: everyone wants to be, they believe they can, they dare, and they have lost their fear”

Fate, coincidence…? It had to be in Qatar, where the secondary role assigned to women is so questioned, that Stephanie Frappart38-year-old French, will plant the flag of her gender. The Neil Armstrong of the women’s referee led Germany 4 – Costa Rica 2 yesterday and became the first of her sex to lead a match in the men’s World Cup. That, as Javier Castrilli told us, “She was not appointed to look good with anyone but because she is truly exceptional as a referee, a talent that stands above most male referees.” She gave the initial whistle, now others will come. The same happened with female journalists. Seeing one recounting matches on the radio, as happened to us with the Paraguayan Estela Marecos in the 1999 Copa América, was at least curious for many, but Estela has such a personality that she left everyone speechless. She narrated mixing Spanish with Guarani, squeezed in the middle of the audience (she had not been given a booth, like the men) with an overwhelming claw. Julio César Romero, the great Romerito of the Cosmos and the Paraguayan National Team, officiated as her commentator and looked like a chick next to her. We felt such admiration for her that we interviewed her. Today, fortunately, the Estelas are the most normal. The Press Center, where 12,500 envoys from the world’s media come and go, has a majority of men, it is true, but there are a number of women. It is absolutely naturalized. This chronicler shares on television with two of them and they are super capable of analyzing football. Stephanie was the star of the night in Germany-Costa Rica. She enlightened her.

It’s lovely to ride the Doha Metro. Because of its modernism and because all nationalities share it there and the human pulse of the Cup is palpable. And a large number of women have come, who are dressed to their liking, with short skirts, brief blouses, and nobody bothers them. There is an almost reverential respect with the visitor. The local people are happy to help and the warmth erases cultural or language differences.

When the public begins to wave, it’s because the party is like dancing with the sister. People get lost and have fun alone. As if he were playing tag. The first half left with an almost administrative victory for Germany 1-0 with a header from the always effective Serge Gnabry. But the second was Wuthering Heights, a volcano of passions. Everything that happened in this Germany – Costa Rica is enough for an issue rather than a column. Germany needed not just a win, but also goals to overcome Japan’s better goal difference. However, he was calm because, in the Khalifa stadium, Spain beat Hirohito’s sons. Until the news from Khalifa arrived: a goal from Japan, 1 to 1. And three minutes another bad news, this one, a blow: another Japanese goal, 2 to 1 over Spain. It couldn’t be happening, not to them. That’s when Hansi Flick’s team had to press the accelerator, but the incredible happened: at 58 minutes Costa Rica scored: 1 to 1. And if that was a bucket of ice water, twelve minutes later an iceberg was thrown at him: another goal of the ticos: 2-1. The Al Bayt stadium exploded, because the neutral group joined the Costa Ricans. We were facing another of the incredible surprises of this magical championship in which everyone goes forward and the players run as if possessed because they are fresh, it is 20 degrees on the pitch. For this reason and because this tournament marks an awakening of those below, everyone wants to be, they believe they can, they dare, they lost their fear and found daring. Its beautiful. The matches are fast-paced and unusually emotional.

GR4014.  JOR (QATAR), 12/01/2022.- Keylor Navas (i) and Kendall Waston (c) from Costa Rica dispute a ball with Leon Goretzka from Germany today, in a group stage match of the Qatar 2022 Soccer World Cup between Costa Rica and Germany at the Al Bait stadium in Jor (Qatar).  EFE/Antonio Lacerda

Flick made five changes, Germany was in danger of elimination and remembered to be Germany. He began to attack by air, sea and land. He overwhelmed Costa Rica on all sides, whose national sports hero, Keylor Navas, was once again heroic, saving extreme situations. However, three German goals came, three bullets that pierced the Central American chest. But they didn’t kill him, Costa Rica lives, he put his soul in, the people applauded his spirit, the courage of the boys. Joel Campbell, as always, was terrific, Yeltsin Tejeda, Brian Oviedo, Keysher Fuller, they all played their games with gigantic dignity. Still losing, they erased from the collective memory the 0-7 against Spain. It was an unforgettable match, which, combined with the Japan-Spain result, reached high levels of drama. When football is played like this, there is no doubt, it is the greatest spectacle in the world.

Al Khor (Qatar), 01/12/2022.- Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer of Germany (R) saves a shot from Keysher Fuller of Costa Rica (C) during the group E football match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup between Costa Rica and Germany at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar.  EFE/EPA/Friedemann Vogel

The day before, Lothar Matthaeus warned that eyes should be set on Musiala, the Bayern Munich boy. “He will be the new Messi,” he announced. And it’s true, we see Jamal often in the Bundesliga and in the Champions League, he has great pasta. God knows if he will be a new Leo. Messi at 19 years old was the atomic bomb. However, the boy from Stuttgart played a colossal game, he wanted to win, he piled up rivals by the dozen, he has an indecipherable short dribble. He can be the one to take over. He is leaving here because he had to be with a somewhat aged generation. But by 2026 he will already be a star.

The always pondered German football of efficiency and reliability must review something, twice in a row it is eliminated in the first phase in the World Cups, and against super-accessible rivals. What happens…? They will study it in universities, surely.

“Soccer is a sport where they play eleven against eleven and in which Germany always wins”Jorge Valdano coined a few years ago. He doesn’t run anymore.

Source: Elcomercio

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