Thursday, June 17, 2010

Whose World? What Cup? (Day 07)

Watching Argentina demolish South Korea 4-1 wasn't really the triumph of guile over graft, as some might simplify it. Rather, it was the sudden understanding that the Korean goalkeeper could not shift attention from one side to the other quickly (how many can?) and neither could his defenders. Kudos to Higuain for scoring a hattrick; it was awful to watch him miss so many chances in the previous game.

Greece against Nigeria next. Most people will see this as a clash of European against African. But most people forget that Greece was last dominant in the time of Alexander the Great, about 300 years before the Christian era. Nigeria's kingdom of Benin held sway from the 15th to 19th centuries in West Africa; it was only defeated in 1897 by the British. Nigeria's last kingdom fell in 1911.

Today, Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation, and continues to be the most powerful nation in West Africa; its projected economic growth approaches 9% per annum, and its influence level within Africa is one of the highest. Greece is a backwater third-world state which can only squat in the ruins of the glorious past (17 UNESCO World Heritage sites) and dream of a blind poet named Homer; its projected economic growth is negative, and it no longer has any positive influence in its continent.

Maybe France vs Mexico will inspire more.

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