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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The Ladies’s World Cup By means of the Eyes of Thucydides, Gide and Aragon 


By Laurent Bellaiche

The 2023 FIFA Ladies’s World Cup (FWWC), co-jointly held in Australia and New-Zealand, is now over after one month of festivities. How does one discuss it after so many journals and blogs all over the world have already accomplished so? The Stunning Recreation: Dispatches from the Hill is fortunate as a result of three celebrities have returned from the grave to share their ideas with us. The primary  is an Athenian historian and common born circa 460 BC, Thucydides. The second celeb is André Gide, the French author who obtained the 1947 Nobel Prize in literature. The final individual is a surrealist French poet, Louis Aragon.


Thucydides in a mosaic from Jordan, Roman, third century CE

Thucydides is proud to recall that the sentence “ l’histoire est un perpétuel recommencement,” which interprets in English in a much less eloquent means as “Historical past repeats itself,’’ is usually credited to him. He has thus determined to show his level by evaluating info, groups and gamers at this 2023 FWWC with earlier occasions and personalities in males’s soccer. To start out , two monumental surprises that occurred through the first group stage this yr was the elimination of the present Olympic champions, Canada, in addition to the European vice-champion, Germany. Thu-Thu (I ought to have indicated that Thucydides and I grew to become good associates, which explains this extreme familiarity) appropriately remarked that the Olympic males’s champions of 1980, Czechoslovakia, didn’t entry the second stage of the 1982 World Cup after ending third of their group behind England and France. The vice-champion of the 2012 males’s Euro, Italy, was additionally out of the match after the primary group stage of the 2014 World Cup. Furthermore, the New Zealand girls’s crew was eradicated on the World Cup match it organized after ending third in its group, which has similarities to the South African males’s crew in 2010. For his or her first qualification ever for a FWWC, Philippines, the Republic of Eire, Haiti, Vietnam and Panama completed final of their teams, which was additionally the misfortune endured by the lads of Iraq and Canada in 1986. Then again, the 2023 FWWC newcomers Portugal and Zambia whereas additionally lacking the qualification to the spherical of 16, completed third of their teams, precisely as the lads of Cameroon did at their first World Cup participation in 1982. Moreover, Costa Rica misplaced all its video games of the group stage this yr, like Chilean males’s crew on the 1982 World Cup. South Korea did barely higher with one draw and two defeats, just like the male gamers of Sweden in 1978. China was additionally out of the group stage after profitable one sport and shedding two, identical to the 1978 French males’s crew.

The Norway of Caroline Graham Hansen and Ada Hegerberg, the Switzerland of Ramona Bachmann and the Denmark of Pernille More durable all went house after the spherical of 16, counting an excessive amount of on their getting older stars, precisely just like the Italian males’s crew of Cabrini, Scirea, Conti and Altobelli in 1986. Then again, Jamaica was a pleasing shock at this world match by ending second in entrance of Brazil in its group to qualify for this spherical of 16, the place the Caribbean island was defeated by Colombia. One other girls’s crew that exceeded expectations was South Africa, which additionally completed second of its group, eliminating each Italy and Argentina, earlier than succumbing to the Netherlands within the knockout stage. In that regard, Jamaica and South Africa each bear resemblance with the lads of Costa Rica in 1990, who additionally ended up being a shocking second of their group earlier than being eradicated within the spherical of 16. The ladies of Nigeria additionally had a fairly good World Cup run, first qualifying for the knockout stage on the expense of none aside from the heavily-favored Canada earlier than being eradicated by the lottery of  penalty kicks towards England that then reached however misplaced the ultimate. An analogous state of affairs occurred to the lads of Morocco in 1986, who first made Portugal go house within the group stage earlier than being kicked out by the finalist-to-be of Germany after a troublesome battle.

My man Thu-Thu additionally in contrast the fast elimination of the U.S. girls’s crew who received the final two world cups with the epic failure of the Brazilian males’s crew on the 1966 world cup, who was out of the match just one week after their first sport, whereas additionally having introduced house the most-coveted trophy within the earlier 1958 and 1962 World Cups. Homie Thu-Thu additional made the purpose that the ladies’s crew of Morocco succeeded to qualify this yr to the spherical of 16 (and have been eradicated at that latter spherical) after having been thrashed and having conceded six objectives throughout one sport of the primary group stage, which is exactly what occurred to the lads’s crew of Uruguay on the 1986 World Cup. As a matter of truth, Morocco misplaced 6-0 to Germany on this 2023 FWWC whereas Uruguay suffered a 6-1 defeat towards Denmark in 1986.

Thucydides additionally made us realized that Japan arguably performed probably the most stunning soccer this yr, although they went house after the quarterfinals. This was unlucky for followers of good collective strikes and honest play (Japan received the FIFA honest play award). Such info additionally occurred in 1986 when the marvelous Brazilian crew of Zico, Careca and Socrates couldn’t overcome the French crew of Platini in a dantesque quarterfinal of the World Cup. Curiously, the winner of this girls’s Japanese crew was Sweden, which was then eradicated within the subsequent stage of the semi-finals earlier than ending third, precisely just like the French males’s crew in 1986.

A gaggle stage match between Japan and Spain on July 31, 2023.

Australia at this 2023 FWWC additionally shares a number of similarities with the lads of South Korean on the 2002 World Cup, within the sense that they each co-organized their match with one other nation in a continent that’s neither Europe nor South-America (the co-organizer was New-Zealand for the Mathildas versus Japan for South Korea); that they had an enthusiastic complete nation between them; they defeated a favourite on penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw within the quarterfinal (France for Australia, and Spain for South Korea); have been eradicated within the semi-final by a crew that may then lose the ultimate (England for the down underneath nation and Germany for the land of the morning calm); they usually each completed fourth of their very own World Cup.

Furthermore, England misplaced the 2023 FWWC closing after having received the earlier European Championship, exactly like West Germany of 1980-1982. The Spanish girls’s crew grew to become world champion this yr by taking part in a scrumptious sport manufactured from passing and even after being defeated in a single match of the primary spherical by Japan. This reminded Thu-Thu of the Spanish males’s crew that was topped champion of the world in 2010, regardless of having misplaced towards Switzerland in one in every of their group matches. Spain is now the second nation, after Germany, to have triumphed within the World Cup each for men and women.


André Gide in 1920It’s now time to speak about some gamers who shone on this 2023 FWWC. For that, we interviewed André Gide, who’s the writer of the well-known adage “l’intelligence, c’est la faculté d’adaptation’’, that’s: intelligence is the power to adapt. To look sharp, Dédé (affectionate nickname of André) determined to adapt himself to the soccer world by adopting the philosophy of Thucydides. Due to this fact, he supplied an inventory of feminine playersand supplied a comparability with earlier males’s soccer glories. Dédé invitations the readership of The Stunning Recreation: Dispatches from the Hill to learn extra about these former male gamers within the soccer literature. Some would be the topic of articles right here within the coming months.

Two goalkeepers of this 2023 FWWC have been significantly good. The Swedish Zećira Mušović is the principle cause behind the elimination of the US crew within the spherical of 16 with 11 saves throughout that sport. She is the worthy successor of the nice Ronnie Hellström, who was exceptional with Sweden within the Nineteen Seventies. The England’s Mary Earps was additionally key to her nation’s good journey. Her decisive stops throughout shut video games, together with the penalty saved through the closing, have been harking back to Gordon Banks, who was world champion with England in 1966 and who made one of many best saves in soccer historical past (nicknamed the save of the century) by deflecting a header from King Pelé throughout an England-Brazil World Cup sport in 1970. The latter would snote: ”At present I scored a objective, however Banks stopped it”. It’s thus of no shock that she was awarded the Golden Glove for the very best goalkeeper of this 2023 FWWC.

Mary Earps taking part in as a goalkeeper for Manchester United

Relating to the defenders, two different Englishwomen had a great World Cup general. They’re Lucy Bronze and Millie Brilliant (whose household title may solely suggest her shining in Australia and New Zealand, after all). Mockingly, their type of play is harking back to two male gamers from an arch-rival nation, France. Bronze and Manuel Amoros share  being good defenders (even when Bronze was fairly disappointing through the closing of the 2023 FWWC) but in addition conducting fast counterattacks, and  have each received the European championship (in 2022 for Bronze,1984 for Amoros). Millie Brilliant is a rock that’s virtually unimaginable to go by means of, precisely as Marcel Desailly was for the French crew that additionally disputed the ultimate of a World Cup (in 1998) and of a Euro (in 2000). Speaking about France, Sakina Karchaoui was significantly spectacular towards Morocco within the spherical of 16, which is to be recommended since her dad and mom come from that African nation. It thus bears resemblance with Luis Fernandez who performed and received the 1984 Euro closing with France towards the nation of his father and mom, Spain. The latter nation is Olga Carmona’s, a left-back who scored the one objective of the ultimate, precisely like Andres Brehme for West Germany towards Argentina in 1990. Olga Carmona was elected Participant of the Match for the ultimate. Moreover, the propensity of scoring objectives, particularly with headers, for Sweden’s Amanda Ilestedt brings again reminiscences of the Argentinian center-back Daniel Passarella.  Ilestedt was voted the third greatest participant of this FWWC. The Dutch defender Stefanie van der Gragt was additionally spectacular throughout this World Cup, and the U.S. was solely in a position to rating towards the Netherlands when van der Gragt was off the sphere due to an damage. Through the quarter-final towards Spain, van der Gragt first made a horrible mistake by conceding a penalty after touching the ball along with her hand however then rehabilitated herself by scoring the equalizing objective. These down and up moments have been additionally felt by the Dutch defender Ernie Brandts throughout a World Cup sport towards Italy in 1978 since he first scored an personal objective earlier than equalizing for the flying dutchmen.

McCabe taking part in for Arsenal within the 2019 Ladies’s Champions League

In midfield, the Haitian Melchie Dumornay was merely astonishing towards the superpower of England in a primary group match. She was all over the place, exhibiting her unimaginable technical and bodily abilities and was absolutely the star of that sport. She will need to have made Emmanuel Sanon very proud, who possible watched the sport from the heaven of soccer gamers and who put the ball in the back of the web twice for Haiti on the 1974 World Cup; one towards Argentina and the opposite towards the Italy of the legendary Dino Zoff, whereas this latter was unbeaten in his final 19 video games for his nation. Katie McCabe additionally made historical past for Eire by scoring its first objective ever  in a World Cup sport. What is especially hanging is that she achieved this feat from a scrumptious nook kick that instantly discovered the web of Canada, because of her diabolic left foot. One incredible Yugoslav participant,  Dragan Džajić, additionally had  the foot of the angels that allowed him to attain quite a few direct nook kicks. The 20-year-old Aussie Mary Fowler made a reputation for herself throughout this FWWC too. Fowler is entertaining, seems to be all sugar and spice along with her teammates, has one mum or dad from an island (her mother is from Papua New Guinea) and lived within the Netherlands. She thus reminds Dédé  of the Dutch Simon Tahamata, whose household originates from the Maluku Islands, additionally nicknamed the Spice islands.. Rachel Daly was additionally attention-grabbing to observe, along with her exercise and crosses along with her proper foot having performed an vital half within the successes of England. She went from being the weakest English hyperlink as a left-back on the 2022 Euro to turning into an instrumental left-midfielder at this World Cup. The repositioning from left-back to left-midfielder, whereas having a pure proper foot, additionally occurred within the profession of Léo Junior with the Brazil of the 80s. Each Daly and Junior are additionally recognizable by their haircut, with Junior being nicknamed capacete (a Portuguese phrase that interprets as helmet) as a consequence of his afro coiffure. Two Frenchwomen additionally attracted consideration in midfield throughout some video games of this World Cup, Grace Geyoro and Selma Bacha. The previous French midfielder of the 80s, Jean Tigana and  Geyoro are each born in an African nation (Mali for Jeannot and Democratic Republic of Congo for Princess Grace), and show a very uncommon tactical intelligence coupled with a wonderful bodily situation.  Bacha was fairly lively on the wings of the sphere, as was Franck Ribéry at his peak. Mariona Caldentey was a vital ingredient for Spain to win the match. Her quantity 8, exercise, management of the ball and present crew of Barcelona make us bear in mind Iniesta. Relating to Aitana Bonmati, her distinctive imaginative and prescient of the sport and technical items, in addition to the truth that she performs for each Barcelona and the Spanish nationwide crew with the quantity 6 on her jersey, deliver ineluctable comparability with Xavi (Hernández). Bonmati was chosen as the very best participant of the entire match and is a transparent favourite to win the following girls’s Golden Ball to be awarded by the journal France Soccer.

One other Spanish participant who was pleasant to observe is Jennifer Hermoso, who received the Silver Ball award on this 2023 FWWC. Hermoso has the particularity of neither being a real center-forward (such forwards sometimes put on the quantity 9) nor a real playmaker in midfield (the jersey of those playmakers normally has the quantity 10 on its again) however fairly a mix of each, which is typically often called a 9.5 – because of the typical between 9 and 10. A very glorious “quantity 9.5’’ was the Danish Michael Laudrup, who shared magnificence on the sphere with Hermoso.

Hermoso taking part in with Atlético Madrid in 2018

Regarding forwards, the German Alexander Popp once more confirmed  her capacity to attain objectives (she received the Bronze Boot for her 4  objectives) and the unimaginable energy of her headers. Consequently, she could also be thought-about as the feminine equal of Horst Hrubesch. Sophia Smith additionally demonstrated that she can be quickly among the finest gamers, by twice placing  the ball in the back of the web and having an help through the win of the U.S. towards Vietnam. Smith absolutely dreamt of a greater World Cup for the U.S. and her. She additionally seemed to be nervous occasionally, as demonstrated by the yellow card she obtained towards Portugal. In that sense, it’s harking back to the primary World Cup of Diego Maradona in 1982, the place he was extraordinary towards Hungary with two objectives however  then pink carded towards Brazil. One other participant to observe within the coming years is the 18-year-old Colombian Linda Caicedo, who had made endure many superpowers of ladies soccer comparable to Germany and England. Her fast-moving ft, dribbling, acceleration and her present membership (Actual Madrid) name for reminiscences a couple of younger Robinho. Ary Borges scored a hat-trick through the sport of the group stage towards Panama, which was not sufficient for Brazil to go to the second spherical. That is by some means much like the state of affairs skilled by Oleg Salenko with Russia in 1994, who had a tally of 4 objectives towards Cameroon. Mina Tanaka is fairly harking back to her compatriot Hidetoshi Nakata, who was significantly good on the 1998 World Cup, due to their technical and scoring skills, passing and spectacular imaginative and prescient. Her teammate, Hinata Miyazawa, obtained the Golden Boot for being the highest scorer of this 2023 FWWC with 5 objectives, exactly just like the Czechoslovakian participant Oldřich Nejedlý on the 1934 males’s World Cup. The Silver Boot within the Australia-New Zealand match was received by a Frenchwomen, Kadidiatou Diani, for scoring 4 objectives and offering three assists. Her urge for food for making the web shaking, velocity and energy, in addition to the truth that she performed for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), name for comparability with the Congolese Francois M’Pelé – who he’s nonetheless so far the all-leading goal-scorer of the PSG males crew within the French Cup competitors. The Spanish Salma Paralluelo, who was chosen as the very best younger participant, is slightly bit harder to check with a selected male participant, and will, in truth, be considered a mix of two former Liverpool gamers: Steve Heighway for the standard of the left foot and frenetic velocity, and David Fairclough for scoring vital objectives in its place coming from the bench.

Lauren Hemp performs in a match towards the Czech Republic

Dédé additionally identified that two Laurens have been significantly spectacular for England, Lauren James and Lauren Hemp (however the writer of this text is questioning why each forgot so as to add a `t’ on the ends of their first names). The primary one was the very best English participant of the group stage however was banned for 2 video games after having stepped on the Nigerian Michelle Alozie and receiving a pink card. Such ban and pink card for stepping additionally occurred to a different very gifted participant on the 1998 world cup, particularly the nice Zidane Zidane who stamped on the again of Fuad Amin throughout a France-Saudi Arabia sport.  Hemp had moments of pure brilliance throughout this FWWC and possesses a incredible left foot, however was unlucky to hit the crossbar through the closing. Such brilliance and unhealthy luck are harking back to the Dutch left-winger Robby Rensenbrink whose shot within the dying second of the common time of the 1978 World Cup closing between the Netherlands and Argentina arrived on the publish, earlier than shifting away from the goalframe.


Allow us to now flip our consideration to our third visitor, Louis Aragon. He famously wrote within the poem “Le fou d’Elsa’’ that “La femme est l’avenir de l’homme’’, which interprets as “Ladies are males’s future.’’ Loulou (a diminutive of Louis solely allowed to be used by his besties) was clearly fascinated by the 2023 FWWC when stating this sentence, by contrasting a few of its good gestures with annoying options occurring in males’s soccer these days. For example, he indicated that it’s refreshing to see supporters of reverse groups sitting shut to one another and smiling fairly than preventing throughout video games. It’s also pleasant that theatrical actions like dramatic rolls on the bottom are mainly nonexistant throughout girls’s video games, whereas they’re now usually a part of aggressive males’s matches. Loulou additionally emphasised that the group spirit appears a very widespread trait of ladies soccer, as demonstrated by the Japanese gamers celebrating objectives of this World Cup with the substitutes close to their bench. This spirit is additional evidenced byan interview given by the English captain, Millie Brilliant, in the future earlier than the World Cup closing and the place she stated:  

It can be an honour to grow to be the primary lady to steer England out in a World Cup closing. It’s large nevertheless it’s large for the crew. It’s ‘we’ earlier than ‘me.’ It’s an enormous privilege and honour. It is going to be the most important second in our careers. Nothing is particular person. It’s a dream come true to be within the World Cup closing. Main the women out is a particular feeling.”

This mentality severely contrasts with the massive egos that some male gamers now domesticate. It’s also comforting that, till now, girls largely respect the referees and favor technical abilities and tactical considering over bodily power. Louis Aragon due to this fact requested to comply with his philosophy and have males now adopting the nicest behaviors of ladies in soccer video games. For that, he recalled some lyrics of the French track “La femme est l’avenir de l’homme’’ by Jean Ferrat:

Le poète a toujours raison [The poet is always right]
Qui voit plus haut que l’horizon [Who sees higher than the horizon]
Et le futur est son royaume [And the future is his kingdom]
Face à notre génération [Facing our generation]
Je déclare avec Aragon [I declare with Aragon]
La femme est l’avenir de l’homme [Women are men’s future]


Three followers sporting Miyama soccer shirt in Edmonton, Canada for the 2015 FWWC


Laurent Bellaiche is a Distinguished Professor within the Physics Division and Institute for Nanoscience and Engineering, in addition to the Twenty-First Century Endowed Professor in Optics, Nanoscience and Science Schooling (for extra particulars, please see: ccmp.uark.edu). His favourite crew is Paris Saint-Germain, particularly that of the primary trophies (French Cups) within the 1980’s, with the three Dominique’s (Baratelli, Bathenay and Rocheteau) and two jewels (Safet Susic and Mustapha Dahleb). His two favourite male soccer gamers of all time are Diego Armando Maradona and Robby Rensenbrink. His present three favourite feminine gamers are Grace Geyoro, Melchie Dumornay and, after all,  Sophia Smith. His favourite soccer/soccer quote is one from Invoice Shankly, “Some folks assume soccer is a matter of life and dying – I guarantee you, it’s rather more vital than that.”


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