The Legend of Wooley Swamp

What ever happened to nuance? Jabberwocky is being spewed up by the left and right as they try to drag us into their Wonderlands. This blog charts a path out of this swamp of simple truths and false certainties. And from time to time, it'll be a place for more light-hearted musings.

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Location: Palms - L.A, California

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Allons Enfants de la Patrie....

Le jour de gloire est arrivee!
- La Marseillaise, French National Anthem (for complete lyrics click on the post headline)

Eight years the Swampmeister was lucky enough to be in France for most of that year's glorious World Cup. The host country showed unity, played decent football and wound up celebrating its new hero Zinedine Zidane - (c) photo: Shaun Best, Reuters) - during the mad victory celebrations his image was laser-projected onto the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysee!

This year I've been in Germany for most of the Copa and enjoyed being a supporter of Tunisia. However, once they were eliminated (as was ol' Sweden) my allegiances shifted....again. We were blessed with tickets for the Spain-France game in Hannover because under the somewhat confusing ticketing rules - Spain had won the group that Tunisia was in.

It was one of the best games in the tournament so far and the stadium was awesome, purpose built for soccer. And it reawakened my passion for les Bleus. It didn't hurt that I was traveling with my French cousin and his wife. Merci beaucoup! The skills of Zidane, Thuram and Henry are pure aestethics.

Ribery dishing it out to Spain
(c) AP, Kai-Uwe Knoth

One of the new players - France has a perfect mix of age and youth - is Franck Ribery. He moves like lightning and is the most part of the great five man midfield. In the game against Spain he scored the all important equalizer just after the Spaniards had taken the lead. Today's WP has a great portrait of a man with a fascinating life story.

In the subsequent games against Brazil and Portugal, he wreaked more havoc. The game versus Brazil also saw the best of Zidane - in a game full of ridiculously talented players, he outshone them by a mile. It will go down as one of the greatest performances of all time.

Who's Your Daddy?
Zidane and Ze Roberto
(c) Charles Platiau

Tomorrow in Berlin, France takes on Italy, who knocked out the hosts Germany (my fourth choice team after Sweden, the U.S., France, and tied with Tunisia) in a thrilling semifinal. It was a heart-breaking moment for the Germans, who now have to try and settle for third place in the "consolation" game against the other losers, Portugal. This World Cup was supposed to mean so much for the German geist, economy, and the plan was to win it. In a later post, I will address all this and the issues surrounding the California-based coach Klinsmann.

For now, it's all about
the final between two major footballing powers and great rivals. France and Italy play a similar game, with a lone striker upfront. In my mind, France is a tad more offensive and its players are just a little more interesting. But that goes down to the differences between the countries themselves: their views of diversity, nationhood, citizenship (though the rainbow nation of France is still somewhat troubled and yes, soccer! Cattenaccio versus Beaute!

My prediction is 2-1 to France without the need for any extra time or penalties. Zidane will score a scintillating goal and Henry will poach one more. We will be watching the game here in Washington D.C. at the Pour House on Capitol Hill, come join us! And let's hope Germany does well today and goes out with a bang.

Vive La France!!!


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Blogger Package said...

I loved the WC- I too was cheering France. The 1998 cup was the first I had ever really seen and loved Zizou- still do, head butt aside. They beat them up and down the pitch, but losing Henry, Viera and Zidane was too much. It must have bee great to be there.

5:10 PM  

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