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“Europe was not necessary, the revelation has been the Arab world”

“Europe was not necessary, the revelation has been the Arab world”

“Europe was not necessary, the revelation has been the Arab world”

“Welcome, welcome home, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh… and here we go, here we go, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh…” Arhbo explodes from the loudspeakers of stadiums and fan fests, the audience jumps, dances and sings, hugs and laughs. The wonderful theme of world It is surely the best goal of Ozuna, the prolific Puerto Rican musician, who already competes in good taste with the unforgettable An Italian Summer (Italy ’90), the great Copa de la Vida, by Ricky Martin (France ’98) and the Waka Waka played by Shakira (South Africa 2010). The volume is at a thousand, a couple of million have come to enjoy, their teams ready to go out onto the field and everyone with their shirt. It is the party that gives the World Cup for a month every four years. Whoever lived it keeps it in the left pocket of the shirt, the one that is attached to the heart.

Europe, the most soccer-friendly continent along with South America, even the one with the greatest economic power, turned its back on the World Cup. He contributed 13 selections, however, he is the one who brought the fewest fans. He just a few handfuls. Decidedly, he boycotted the Cup. For that reason alone, a European would not deserve to take the trophy. If you play under protest, well, leave it to someone else.

Juanfe Sanz Pérez, special envoy to Qatar from El Chiringuito (the famous Spanish sports TV program), listed, among other causes of the Iberian elimination, the lack of support from the stands. “That also played a role,” he said. Indeed, the encouragement for the Moroccans was truly impressive, almost ferocious, without stopping for a second, while someone, blending in with the crowd, timidly waved a Spanish flag. “It was 9 to 1 in favor of the Moroccans. And neither that, nor one -continued Juanfe-. There would not be a thousand Spaniards, just a small group of relatives of the players located behind the Spanish bench. Instead, the people of Morocco roared, similar to the fans of Boca when they make La Bombonera tremble. “And that influences”, rounded off Sanz Pérez. The vast majority of the 44,667 spectators were Moroccans. Perhaps more than 40,000 were North Africans, despite the fact that Morocco is the same distance from Qatar as Spain. Even Hispanic purchasing power is surely well above that of its African neighbors. And Spain looked more like a candidate than Morocco (although it was not noticed on the pitch). Why so much difference…?

“And what do you want…? Who do you want to go to Qatar…? That World Cup is the worst organized in history. That is the latest of the latest, no, no…”, a colleague of Sanz Pérez who did not come to the World Cup yelled wildly from the studio in Madrid. Neither this nor possibly any other, but he has the yardstick to measure the quality of the tournaments.

The protagonists

Spain competed alongside France and Germany in discrediting this beautiful championship from before the start. They scared people, that’s why they didn’t come in large numbers. They intimidated her by misinforming her, with the issue of the climate (“it is a furnace country”), the extremely high prices (quite the contrary), that there were not enough hotels, that they would come to a vigilante state that would keep them under surveillance, without human rights and with laws and medieval customs, that women could not show bold necklines or bare arms and legs, and various etceteras. All distorted by reality. Also, that they would come to a World Cup stained with blood, that of the foreign workers who, they say, died building the stadiums because of the heat. This is the strongest of the accusations, and we are still waiting for the International Labor Organization (ILO), relatives of the possible victims or the governments of the citizens who worked here to come forward and provide evidence. The complaints are based on European press releases.

In Denmark, the country most critical of the World Cup -despite which it sent its national representative-, 58.2% of citizens support their football association leaving FIFA due to the controversy surrounding the holding of the event in Qatar and the protests linked to human rights and the treatment of immigrant workers, according to a survey released yesterday by the Ritzau agency. They also want other European associations to join the initiative and form a new global entity, parallel to FIFA. The Danish federation was one of those who wanted the captains of the teams to be able to wear the “One Love” bracelet in matches, something that FIFA did not allow under threat of sanction.

Despite Europe, the World Cup was a success in attendance despite being a country with a minimal population (between 2.6 and 2.8 million inhabitants). With 87.5% of the Cup already disputed, 2,868,668 spectators were registered, at a very high average of 51,226 per match, with five of the eight stadiums having a maximum capacity of 44,000 and 45,000 seats. Only two have capacity for 68,000 and 88,000. Who then filled the stadiums…? Obviously Argentina, as in all World Cups, and Mexico and Brazil almost on par.

But the revelation has been Asia, and especially the Arab world: Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Morocco enter the podium in this event. The most creative, for their songs, the Argentine partiality; the most praiseworthy for its fervor the Moroccan; the most colorful and numerous, the Saudi. It is clear that, by bringing the tournament to South Korea and Japan in 2002, to South Africa in 2010 and here to Qatar this year, the passion for football is growing in those regions and increasing its huge popularity base. And probably the same will happen in Canada in 2026, where number one is ice hockey. But take care of hockey… The Arab world, historically so undervalued, has felt a strong pride for seeing itself capable of putting on such a party, and with the excellence that Qatar has done. Not to mention that the small emirate has gained a very high prestige in the Arab geography, made up of twenty-two countries.

The uplifting thing is that, by concentrating all the activity in the capital, Doha accommodated the two million visitors in a small radius, despite which there was no friction. Each to their own. “This is really fantastic,” says Jorge Arriola Müller, the Peruvian fan who holds the World Cup attendance record, with 14 cups. “Everything is perfect, but what is most enjoyed is the tranquility, the friendliness of the people, and the convenience of having the eight stadiums twenty minutes or half an hour away by metro. And free…! In Russia we spent 1,200 dollars on a flight to go to each game, and a taxi within Moscow cost 80 dollars, here all transportation is free. For the visitor who came to the World Cup, it is marvelous”.

“Today partying until the end, the world came to enjoy… Oh, oh, oh, oh… With Ozuna until the World Cup Oh, oh, oh, oh…”

Source: Elcomercio

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