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   And, as the World Cup draws to an end (June 7, 1990)

And, as the World Cup draws to an end, 13 thoughts on it:

It has been difficult for all Indians. Being non-participants, who do support? West Germany because we do not like England, or Brazil because we do not like Italy, or Cameroons because we can't stand Argentina, or Czechoslovakia because it is not as bad as Romania?

The greatest moment in the game was when the first goal, after a record run of matches, was scored against the smug, gum-chewing Italian goalkeeper.

The star player was still Diego Maradona, slightly hunched, arms, apread out, head on one side, looking up at the referee.

For Italy to merely participate in the play-off for the third place is adding insult to injury.

No, it was not the greatest World Cup ever, there were few goals, several drawns in the league round, too many penalty shoot-outs, considerable defensive play, 1986 was better, 1982 was even better.

The Americans were an embarrassment and it must be the first time ever in a sporting encounter that they must have been so. Still, to ask Americans to play football is like asking them to play cricket.

Is anybody aware that the Wimbledon is on and also heading towards the finals! Or, on a lesser scale, that the final Test between England and New Zealand has begun, which also marks the final appearance of Richard Hadlee!

Only in Europe can entire populations cross over from one country to another to watch matches and cheer their teams. That is the advantage of holding an international competition in Europe. Here, if you want to watch an India-Pakistan Test in each other's country, you will have to apply for a visa three months in advance and not get it.

In no other game, except perhaps cricket and Bishen Bedi, is so much importance being given to the trainer as in football. And, in many cases, the trainer has been the star of the team.

(10) The Italians have always been the builders of the world, and now, in the present age,

they have build some of the finest stadia in the world, some of these exclusively for


(11) You may have notcied an Indian expert, who appears on the screen at half-time.

during some of the games. He has been described as a former India football captain,

though he looks like a former Indian table-tennis captain.

(12) Footballers must be the biggest professionals among sportmen. Almost all of them

play for clubs outside their country.

(13) The Argentinians should be most upset at being continued to be described as lucky.

They could be lucky in one game, or two games, but luck does not take you to the

finals. And it is not luck that will make them world champions on Sunday for the

second time in a row.

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