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   Last night, through the magic of satellite television... (June 30, 1986)

Last night, through the magic of satellite television. I saw the final 90 minutes that climaxed the great football saga, the world's supreme prize in term sports.

It is an exercise that I have been indulging in for the last one month, night after night, mostly twice a night, occasionally also taking in a night, occasionally also evening. And I am aware that like myself, others in other time zones in the football-playing and non-playing countries of the world (is there a country that does not play football in some manner or form?) also indulged in this unique pieasure.

I saw it from the beginning, like an epic novel. Tolstoy's War And Peace, chapter after chapter, round after round, the scene unfolding, the competition getting tougher, leaving only the best at the end.

The magic of legendary Brazil, ebony gladiators, the dash of modern Denmark, whose team suddenly became everybody's team, the gallant Morroccans, the industrious Soviets from Tolstoy's own country, England with its Irish and Scottish satellites, now here, now gone, now back again, the mercurial French with one of the world's superstars, Latin

America vs., Europe, method inspiration.

And that is how it was last night, the final phase, the German organisation against the South American inspired brilliance.

I enjoyed it all, two worlds fighting it out, two cultures, tow races.

Throughout I have had this feeling of Games. The way a civilised world should conduct its wars. The armies appointed, the young and the most fit, meeting in a large amphitheater filled with loyal and patriotic nationals, the rest of the world watching on their TV sets, live from Mexico, the ancient Aztec stadia.

And the meeting of the combatants, like gladiators of the past, or armies of the future. In the battle arena itself, there are no hold barred, no quarters given, for it is a macho sport, a man's war. But no women and children are bombed, their cities destroyed, their homes burnt. And, at the end of it all, after one month of logistics of battles through several permutations and combinations, all supervised by neutral authorities, appointed by common consent, the champion nation is crowned in the greatest sports in the world.

So it came to be with Argentina last night. The magic of football and the magic of television combining to make it the proudest nation in the world. And the world is rendering it so much greater glory than it would have received if it had won that other war with England some time ago.

 
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