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Daily Archives: July 11, 2018

What does FIFA World Cup mean to us Filipinos?

“Knowing what to say, in the right way – at the perfect moment – can mean the difference between a world-class life and an average one.”
–Robin S. Sharma

By Alex P. Vidal

ARLINGTON, Virginia — Filipinos are not part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia in terms of actual participation, but we are very much involved in many practical and historical reasons and circumstances.
By virtue of our being part of the global sports fraternity; in terms of the spirit of Olympism; and because we have been inflicted, in one way or the other, with a soccer mania since time immemorial, we are within the parameters of the World Cup village.
What does it mean to be part of the World Cup?

It means we need to further improve our sports program, not just in soccer but also in other events with global impact–Olympic events that will bring us in the threshold of world class competition.

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We must show that we belong not only in words but also in drawing inspiration from extra-ordinary performances of these incredible players and their teams and use this inspiration to improve our own standards even in regional competitions like the Southeast (SEA) Games and Asian Games.
We breath, cheer, discuss, argue, monitor, broadcast and write about World Cup but we don’t and can’t have a team in the elite competition.
We root for certain teams like Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Portugal, final qualifier France, but we aren’t there physically to savor the prestige and actual excitement felt by competitors watched and cheered by billions of fans all over the planet.
We need to review and upgrade our sports facilities, as well, and send our athletes in tough competitions abroad.
We can’t afford to be obscured in the doldrums or be lagged behind and remain as kibitzers for life just because we are a Third World country.
Supremacy in sports translates into supremacy in economy, but we can always pull the rug from under and walk extra mile to show the world that the Filipinos can also become world class athletes even if we are a struggling economy.

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France has booked the first slot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia finals by virture of its 1-0 conquest of stubborn Belgium in one of the all-European semifinals.
The descendants of Voltaire, King Louis, Marat and other precursors of the French Revolution will wait for the result of the other semifinal shootout between Croatia and England.
England is near the hearts of many Filipino soccer fans but we love to see Croatia reaching in the championship level for the very first time and win this year’s World Cup.
The world has always been crazy if it’s a World Cup and is getting crazier as the showdown for the finals approaches this Sunday.

 
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‘Do we have a Pinoy team in the World Cup?’

“The World Cup experience is more than just the game of soccer. It’s an event. And it will fly by faster than you think. It will end and you’ll be saying, ‘Wow, it’s over already?’ You have to remember to take it all in and enjoy it.”
–Cobi Jones

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY –– A lot of Filipinos not necessarily soccer fans have been asking me in person and through the Facebook messenger these past two weeks: “Do we have a team in the World Cup?”
We all know, of course, that we don’t have.
We never had a chance.
We have the Azkals (Street Dogs), our national football team that regularly competes in international football, but it did not–and could not–play in the World Cup.
Not even in 2022 Qatar, with due respect to our national players and the coaching staff.

The reason is because the Philippines has never qualified for the World Cup.
The farthest that the RP national football team has achieved, so far, was having been qualified in the AFC Asian Cup in 2019.
Its best trophy in a major tournament was second place to Palestine at the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup.
The Filipinos can’t even dominate its rivals in the Southeast Asian (SEA Games) and Asian Games.
There’s a drought of gold medal for the Philippine football team even in the regional invitational games.

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Without the Filipino-European and Filipino-American booters in Azkals, we can hardly beat Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia.
It was not too long ago when we were once the veritable “whipping boy” in the region.
Not anymore when the Azkals, now coached by Terry Butcher, was formed.
Even if we don’t play in the World Cup, our football has developed by leaps and bounds and our team is no longer a pushover.
Even before Uruguay became the first country in history to win the FIFA World Cup in 1930, the Philippines was already playing at the international level in 1913.
After 78 years, only seven countries, the so-called “Elite Seven”, have won the World Cup in 18 stagings: Brazil (five times); Italy (four times); Germany (three times); Uruguay (two times); Argentina (two times); England (once); and France (once).

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In the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, two of the four semifinalists (France, England, Croatia, Belgium) could join the Elite Seven.
If Belgium will beat France on July 10 and Croatia will defeat England on July 11, it will be a Belgium versus Croatia match in the championship.
Either Belgium or Croatia could become the eight country in history to bring home the World Cup.
But first they must hurdle their semifinal assignments.
If France and England will clash in the finals, one of them could win the World Cup only for the second time in history.
As we have been saying in the past weeks, the world is going crazy now that the final two teams are about to be unveiled this week.

 
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2018 FIFA World Cup: Goodbye, Brazil!

By Alex P. Vidal
Belgium bombed out Brazil in the quaterfinals, 2-1, at Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia Friday to barge into the seminfinals versus France, which ousted Uruguay, 2-0, in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.

“There were incredible hearts out there. Sometimes you have to accept that Brazil have so much finesse and quality that they’re going to break you down. But we didn’t accept it. Not for one minute did they give up,”
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said.
“This was something special. These boys deserve to be very special people back in Belgium. I hope everybody back in Belgium is very proud. The execution of the tactics was magnificent.”
Martinez added: “In two days they changed their tactical disposition, I couldn’t be prouder. We cannot let people down. We need to enjoy beating Brazil in the knockout phase, treasure it, and pass it down the generations. But we need more energy for the next game. We will be as good as we can be in the semi-final.”
Brazil advanced to the quarterfinals after beating Mexico in the Round of 16, while Belgium advanced to the quarterfinals after ousting Japan in an exciting Round of 16 game.
The highest scoring side at the 2018 World Cup, Belgium seemed to come out of the blocks slower than Brazil who created a flurry of chances but failed to convert any of them early on.
Soon enough Belgium grew into the game with power, pace and exquisite passing which caught Brazil napping. The Belgians went onto register an emphatic 2-1 win to set-up a semi-final clash against France.
 
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Posted by on July 11, 2018 in SPORTS

 

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