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28 June 2006


Kári Tulinius

If I remember correctly, and I very well might be wrong, Switzerland tried the same high defensive line with an offside trap against Spain in 1990, and got pummeled 3-0. Nobody called the Swiss naive.

But alas, like nowhere else do national and racial stereotypes thrive as in international football. Somebody should make a list, a dictionary of received football ideas.

Where's a football mad modern Flaubert when you need him?


Ouch, how disappointing. Here, in Costa Rica, where I am currently working on xenophobia and immigration (!), the term is not "naïve". Instead, every time a black, African player appears on the screen we get "que potencía, estes equipos Africanos" (What power, these African teams) - from both the tv and the watching masses. There's nothing that gets judged without reference to black power - and not of the panther kind, sadly, but brute force. But it's good to be reminded that things at home are not what they should be, either, as it's easy to get on one's high horse about racial politics in other countries, so thank you.

Amish Lovelock

What's going on there with that semi-erotic "silky"?

John Foot

They do the 'naive' thing in Italy as well - usually to do with tactics. The other stereotype involves the supposed immense physical strength of the African players.

Gary Naylor

Naive! Well I don't like the word either, but it wasn't defending that let down the Ghana team, it was poor offside officiating and an abject panic when faced with the chance to score. I don't know what word you would use to describe relying on the officials to get it right (especially in this World Cup) and beautifully crisp passing finished off with a welly into the stands, but I used "gauche". Whether that's better than naive is for you to say, but it's no good denying that African teams have yet again failed to get the results that their talents deserve.

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