Age & Guile 3 : 1 Youth & Beauty

Several posts ago I suggested that the knock-out rounds mark the moment when Romance is Dead at the World Cup. Romance may not be dead—I think Ribery was trying to find a date in the stands after France bounced Spain (or…what was he doing?)—but Youth is definitely on the ropes. The highly carbonated Spanish kids, whose fresh-legged furia has been one of the pure aesthetic delights of this World Cup, go out to the balding, battle-pocked ancient mariners of France.

Suddenly les Bleus, who looked horrible early on, seem possessed of mettle and wisdom that would trouble just about anyone, but maybe callow-looking Brazil especially. Unlike the trio of teams who’ve made the quarters without doing anything very impressive (England, Brazil, Ukraine—and no, I don’t count their 4-0 pasting of the House of Saud as impressive), France is gathering steam and the kind of emotional momentum you can’t quantify. Was there a dry eye in the global house as Zidane and Barthez—guys who’ve just about grown up together in the unforgiving public eye—strolled off arm in arm to contemplate a reunion with the Selecao? Fantastic stuff.

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About zachdundas

Freelance journalist. Author of The Renegade Sportsman (Riverhead Books). Thank you.
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3 Responses to Age & Guile 3 : 1 Youth & Beauty

  1. Lucas says:

    Can’t disagree with that. I had money on Spain but sincerely didn’t mind losing it, getting to see Zidane put that 3rd goal away. And Ribery: that guy is stud material. But, I haven’t seen a France game on Univision since before we went to Germany: is the announcer still calling him “scarface?”

  2. Dan says:

    It’s been a cup of redemptions! Fatso Ronaldo now tucking quite a few beautiful Brazilian goals under his belt; then, Beckham bends one in before blowing chunks to emerge once and forever as an English hero; busted-leg Totti strolls onto the field after a lackluster cup to knock in a game-winning PK for Italy; and aging Zidane, last seen collecting an ignoble yellow card against South Korea and sitting out Togo, finds the net for insurance against sprightly Spain, ensuring his French live to see another day. Thematically, speaking, this makes it Argentina’s cup — lo, they need the most redemption. What say you, Debbie? You’ve got a couple of days to handicap this sucker….

  3. Zach Dundas says:

    Hmm, the Redemption Sweepstakes. That’s a tough call. I agree that Argentina is a pretty good choice, though after 40 years of futility, couldn’t you also say England is a good candidate?

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