A Happy Ending
From Ecuador News
By Jorge Ribadeniera Araujo
So many questions bounced around in my head on Monday, June 3 when
Ecuador made its debut in Sapporo. How would the teamor the
country, more like itfare in its first World Cup? There wasnt
time to think it over, as Italy launched into attack and made the
first goal. And now? These have been difficult days. We were full
of emotion and unease until June 13th arrived and gave
us a win against Croatia. These past ten days have been very special.
Now it turns out that our win against Croatia kept Italy in the
tournament. But that is not what is most important. The Ecuadorian
teamthe whole countrycame out of the cup with heads
held high, and this keeps all of our spirits up.
The fact that the "blues", Italy, are saying, "Thanks,
Ecuador, we owe our classification to you," is more like a
signal that something is going on in world soccer. It is interesting
that the sons of Signore Trapattoni are still alive thanks to Edison
Mendez and his boys.
Ecuador came out of the series with dignity intact. To come out
of a contest with Italy, Mexico and Croatia in this way is a great
sign. It shows that we made another historic move, besides qualifying
for our first World Cup. Some fans are saying that Ecuador should
have tied with Italy and beat Mexico, or something of that sort.
The truth isnt so overwhelming but it is still satisfying.
The teams officials, trainer and players deserve our recognition,
without a doubt.
The other interesting thing about this World Cup is our encounter
with Japan, a country so far away from Ecuador. We only knew Japan
for such things as its technology, role in the Second World War,
Hiroshima, and Ecuadorian visitors were very impressed with the
country and its way of life. Some visitors are now thinking of writing
a proposal recommending that Ecuador adopt some of the principles
of Japanese life. They are more punctual and more disciplined, making
a country that is better respected each day.
It will be difficult for Ecuador, which at times seems to live
at peace with its problems, to follow this example. Our country
proclaims again and again that it is necessary to better our education,
but does little to actually make improvements and become efficient.
Soccer is an activity, since a single goal is watched around the
entire world, where everyone strives to improve, instead of accepting
mediocrity. In soccer, efficiency is sought with interest, even
with frenzy. And in this, Ecuador wasnt left behind. We need
to recognize how our team took on these responsibilities.
The fans may be right when they say that we could have hoped for
more from our team. But the most important thing to remember is
that we proved ourselves. Our win that night in Yokohama was very
special. Watching Ecuador win a game in the World Cup against a
top team in front of more than 60 thousand fans, with half of the
world following the players every move on television was amazing.
We said farewell to the tournament, bringing back all of the good
memories and one very sad one. The sad night that we lost against
Mexico wont go away, but the rest has been so positive.
Translated from Spanish by Erica Pearson
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