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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

It starts today, can?t wait

So the World Cup begins. The truth is that the gap between the time that the football season ended, the few days' rest and the return to activity had begun to seem very long.

india Updated: Jun 09, 2006 15:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

So the World Cup begins. The truth is that the gap between the time that the football season ended, the few days' rest and the return to activity had begun to seem very long.

Believe it or not, it was only during the two weeks we spent in Switzerland that I began to feel that the World Cup was truly approaching -- though, of course, that feeling has intensified since we arrived in Germany.However, the euphoria that surrounded us in Weggis isn't present here.

In the first place, because the majority of Germans are obviously supporting their team rather than us. Secondly, because here the training sessions are closed to the public, except the one yesterday which was held in front of thousands of people.

What has not changed is the overwhelming presence of journalists. Inevitably, they remind you with every word and look that you're here to play for the title of the world's best and that the sense of expectancy is very high indeed.

It's natural that this creates enormous pressure on a team, but I'm convinced that all of us in the team can handle the exigencies, whatever they are. We've played together at the fiercest of competitions and so it's not news to us that all our supporters expect us to win our sixth title.

Speaking for myself, I would love to have played the opening game, though that's, of course, a privilege reserved for the hosts this time.

remember we played the first game of the Cup in France ’98 and, at least in my case, I feel that an opening game is always a little special, compared to the rest. You know that there’s an enormous sense of expectancy, you’re tense yet you want to jump into the game after the opening ceremony’s over, and you’re conscious that a poor result can affect the way you’ll play for the rest of the tournament... in short, I imagine that all those who’ve had an opportunity to play a Cup opener will have experienced similar sensations, though I’ve not discussed this with them.

But there’s another reason I can’t wait for the competition to begin. You see, until the matches begin there’s a tendency to focus too much on subjects of little or no consequence. It’s not that this bothers me particularly, but sometimes one begins to wonder whether there’s truly nothing to discuss. For instance, the sores on my feet, I assure you, are not as important as true injuries.

In that respect, I want to commiserate with all those players who, for one reason or another, have missed the World Cup. The last player to join this list that I know of has been Cissé, of France. It was frightful to watch him getting injured on television and from here I can only offer them — including my buddy Edmilson — a hug and the consolation that football may have its bad moments, through which I myself have passed many a time, but it also has very good ones.

And third, when the actual games begin, it signals the end of endless rounds of electronic soccer and TT matches. We’re now approaching the game that really counts: football. To be honest, electronic soccer and table-tennis are excellent tools of relaxation and entertainment during a long stay abroad, but we’re now hungry to compete, as we demonstrated in both the friendly games we played in Switzerland.

In short, everything that we’ve been doing until today has served to prepare us physically and mentally for the Cup. Now the moment has arrived for unleashing all that energy as we build up to our first game. We believe we're excellently placed to aspire to the title and we’re going to try to achieve it: our aim is to grow every day until the moment arrives when we take the trophy, and that’s a feeling that I’ve no words to describe. Perhaps someday I’ll have the time and the space to talk about it, and I hope that day is July 10.

First Published: Jun 09, 2006 15:08 IST