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World Cup’s tears and tantrums vindicate the four-year cycle

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On December 1, Thomas Muller left the World Cup in tears. The second day, Luis Suárez sobbed. On the fifth day, Maya Yoshida cried. On the ninth day, Neymar cried. On the 10th, Cristiano Ronaldo sobbed and Harry Kane screamed.

This is the power of a World Cup, a place where emotions are brought to the fore, stripped bare and exposed. A place where wiggly alphas remember being little kids with big dreams. None of them wanted to show it: Suárez hid his face in his jersey, Ronaldo marched into the locker room, Kane hunched over like a ball as his teammates shooed the cameras away. But they couldn’t contain it.

There is an enormity to every World Cup, as if you were seeing history written in indelible ink. Each tournament paints a picture with the moments that define it: Carlos Alberto’s goal in 1970, Maradona’s hand of God in 1986, that time Nigel de Jong almost killed Xabi Alonso in 2010. A World Cup has its own finality and a sense that few roads lead to second chances or redemption.

So they cried because they knew they couldn’t get back what they had lost. Ronaldo will never touch this trophy. There will be no acknowledgment of Neymar’s magical quarter-final goal, which for some 13 minutes was his iconic moment, defining his career and affirming his life. There will be no replay of Kane’s penalty. Perhaps one day he will have another chance to lead England to a World Cup semi-final, but the road to that place is long and uncertain.

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Not that football is about making people cry, necessarily, but its ability to stir the soul is what makes us watch. The recent talks about transforming the men’s and women’s World Cups from quadrennial events to biennial events were not surprising because money talks and FIFA answers only to God Mammon. However, much of this heightened excitement would have been eradicated if there were another World Cup just around the corner, and in this case only 18 months away.

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What makes the World Cup so successful as a sports product is its scarcity, which appears every four years. It takes a decade to build, years of qualifying, months of construction, weeks of preparation, and yet all hope can be kicked out. Lionel Messi has been alive for 35 years and played professional soccer for nearly two decades, redefining what we thought possible. However, on Sunday around 8pm in Doha it will be known whether he will join Pelé and Diego Maradona in the pantheon of legendary World Cup winners, and one can never stop writing. “It’s my last World Cup,” he said. “It is impressive to end up playing a final. There’s still a long way to go for the next one, it’s been a long time and I’m sure that because of my age I won’t get down to it”.

This is Lionel Messi’s last attempt to win the World Cup

(AP)

It is remarkable that here there has been very little momentum for the idea of ​​the biennale. FIFA could have tried to take advantage of the Qatar drama to further the cause. FIFA’s head of global development Arsene Wenger was the face of the controversial plan, but he took a big U-turn in comments to The team In the past week. “I was actually thinking about [biennial World Cups] and I thought it wasn’t a bad idea, but such a development required a complete overhaul of the qualifying schedule. We are not going to do that, but focus on a four-year cycle alternating with a World Cup, a women’s World Cup, which is becoming more and more important, and the Euro Cup”.

This is apparently a good thing, but we must always be vigilant. The threat of a European Super League continues to loom over club football despite the best efforts of those who care about the game. No doubt the argument for a two-year cycle will resurface as well, because money dictates it. But their scarcity is what underscores it all: the pain and panic, the rancor between Argentina and the Netherlands, the passion and pride of Morocco, the tension as South Korean players huddled around an iPhone watching their fate decided by another game.

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This World Cup has shown the value of something rare, and that’s worth protecting.

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