An admission and an apology: I have been spending my spare time watching the World Cup instead of writing my blog. After Ghana beat the Czech Republic, who were ranked second in the world by FIFA, I thought about trying to link my two passions by writing about the beneficial impact of globalisation on football: a European sport has become a global one – and now the rest of the world is beating Europe at its own game. But then the African challenge petered out, and as we stand on the brink of the semi-finals, only one – and perhaps none – of the final four will be from outside Europe.
And yet Europe’s apparent domination of world football is misleading. Look at the European teams and you will find a smorgasbord of international talent. France’s team, world champions in 1998, is notoriously black blanc beur – black white Arab – while even Germany’s once-all-Teutonic squad now contains Ghanaian-born Gerald Asamoah and half-Ghanaian David Odonkor. So while globalisation is lifting football standards in Africa and Asia – not least because the cream of the continent’s talent now ply their trade in European leagues – players of African and even Asian descent, such as France’s Vikash Dhorasoo, are boosting the talent pool of European countries.
For what it’s worth, my money is on Germany to lift the ultimate prize – and how fitting it would be if David Odonkor scored the winning goal.
PS. So much for my predictions – my money is now on France. LOL
PPS. Wrong again. Thank goodness I’m not a football pundit!