Paul Lachine

From “Les Bleus” to “the Blues”

Like the French army in the spring of 1940, the French World Cup team’s strategy and technique were outmoded. Substituting war for soccer, the comparison that comes to mind is that of the aging French military establishment, behind the Maginot Line in 1940, unable to confront General Heinz Guderian’s masterful command of blitzkrieg tank attacks.

PARIS – Is football (soccer) just a mirror that reflects the collective emotions of a country? Or should it instead be seen as a magnifying glass, if not sometimes a distorting mirror, that reveals on the playing field the frustrations, fears, ambition, or hope of a nation?

It would be tempting to attribute to football a “mapping” of the emotional state of the world. Asia is doing less well in the World Cup than it is doing in economic terms, yet it is definitely progressing, compensating for the current lack of individual talent by the greater collective discipline shown by its teams.

By contrast, in terms of creativity, Latin American flair shines well beyond Brazil and its confirmed emerging-power status in the world to encompass countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, and even Chile. Africa, despite some rare individual national successes, continues to underperform, even with the World Cup in its backyard.

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