When I heard Ricardo Quaresma had made the cut for Paulo Bento’s provisional 2014 World Cup finals squad I thought about my most vivid memory of the winger. It was February 2007, in a friendly against Brazil at the Emirates. Another money-spinning game between two Nike sponsored teams. Quaresma along with a 22-year old Cristiano Ronaldo were simply unplayable tearing into Gilberto, Maicon, Lucio and company that night.
Category Archives: FIFA World Cup
If Marcelo dreamt of making his debut for Brazil, he probably envisaged a backdrop more glamorous than a dreary Tuesday evening in North London. White Hart Lane will now forever be in the memory of the Real Madrid left back as the ground where he first laced those boots up to step out for the Seleção. I was there that night in 2006 to see the Brazilian supporters out in full force and a game that Brazil were worthy of a 2-0 win.
Reasons to be cheerful have been few and far between for Scotland supporters in recent years especially during Craig Levein’s fateful reign in charge but his replacement Gordon Strachan is doing his best to restore the faith in the national side when it is at an all time low. His first win as Scotland manager came in the largely uneventful friendly against Estonia earlier this year, but it’s his first competitive win away to Croatia in a World Cup qualifying campaign that was already over when he replaced Levein that suggests there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
It was apparently the one distinguishing item that Ferguson could tell the two apart, but now there is so much more that divides the swashbuckling fullbacks plucked from Fluminese after catching the eye of the United scouts almost ten years ago.
Goalkeeping can be a lonely business; for most of that ninety minutes while your fellow teammate’s muscles strain to cover every blade of grass, pressing the opposition and fighting for possession, you stand focused, hands in your clammy gloves waiting for that moment to shine. It takes someone of great character to stay poised when your contribution can sometimes be so small.
It can however be an even desolate existence when you and your gloves don’t even make it off the bench. When you get the call you really have to seize the moment, none more relevant to the Hackney-born goalkeeper who has for much of his professional career had to wait to show his worth whether it be pulling on the colours of his club or the red, black and white of his country.
Oliver Kahn, regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers to grace the modern game, draws an imposing figure at six foot, two inches and with an almost innate ability to stifle the persistent endeavours of the most talented strikers he can be a frustration for any manager whose team have had the disgruntled pleasure to face him. His performances in the 2002 World Cup for Germany en route to the final looked to be rewarding the Lev Yashin goalkeeper of the tournament with the international silverware he so dearly craved to accompany the numerous honours won at club level.