Expect more tears in semis

By Alex P. Vidal

“I always had a philosophy which I got from my father. He used to say, ‘Listen. God gave to you the gift to play football. This is your gift from God. If you take care of your health, if you are in good shape all the time, with your gift from God no one will stop you, but you must be prepared’.”—Pele

IF gallons of tears flooded during the quarterfinals, expect them to double when the four remaining teams—Argentina, Croatia, France, Morocco—clash in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 semifinals on December 13 (Argentina vs Croatia) and 14 (France vs Morocco).

First to cry and was captured “live” on Fox channel were actually the FIFA celebrities, or the top soccer players in the world playing for their respective countries that were eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Second were their teammates and the fans both cheering in the Doha stadium and those watching back home.

They were tears of frustration. For the winning teams and their fans, those were tears of joy, of course.

Seeing thirty-year-old Neymar da Silva Santos Junior or Neymar, Brazil’s top goalscorer, cry after his team was blasted to smithereens by Croatia in the penalties, 4-2, on December 9 evoked memories of the 1961 romantic drama film, Goodbye Again, where Philip (played by Anthony Perkins), 25, cried like a child after after he was discarded by Paula Tessier (played by Ingrid Bergman), 40, who wanted to end their illicit affair.

Those who saw the Brazil-Croatia quarterfinals seesaw match will understand Neymar’s heartaches. He was not given the chance by the coaching staff to kick the ball in the penalty shootout. Two of his teammates failed to deliver the goal in the match’s heartbreaking episode, thus they succumbed to Croatia, 4-2.


Also on December 10, the world’s highest paid soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, 37, was caught sobbing like a kid on his way to the dressing room after Morocco eliminated Portugal, 1-0, in another quarterfinals shocker.

Seeing Ronaldo cry reminded us of the 1962 psychological drama film, Lolita, where Prof. Hum Humbert (played by James Mason) sobbed like a child when he learned that the object of his sexual desire, the young adolescent girl, Lolita (played by Sue Lyon), got married and refused to prolong their sexual relationship.

Both Neymar and Ronaldo weren’t prepared to see their teams eliminated before the final, especially Brazil which was fancied to win this year’s World Cup.

If their teams went on to play in the semifinal and in eventually in the final, this would have helped boost their careers as they, too, were chasing history and eclipsing soccer records. Their chase for history became short-lived.

Portugal came in favored to win and dominated possession the entire game. But Morocco once again found a way to win at this World Cup in Qatar.

The game’s only goal came just before halftime in the 42nd minute when Morocco’s Yahya Attiat-Allah lofted a ball in front of the Portugal goal and Youssef En-Nesyri, the first Moroccan player to score at two world cups, soared high and headed it down past the keeper.

Morocco is the first Arab country to go this deep into a World Cup and, now, the first African country to reach the semifinals of a World Cup. Across Doha – and the Arab world – fans have turned out in force to cheer for their Cinderella team.


IN a statement issued December 9, the US Department of Treasury said: “For more than a decade, Apollo Carreon Quiboloy engaged in serious human rights abuse, including a pattern of systemic and pervasive rape of girls as young as 11 years old, as well as other physical abuse.”

Another warning for controversial preacher Apollo Quiboloy that “the end is near.”

The United States’ Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on Quiboloy over what it called “serious human rights abuse” in connection with allegations that he raped and physically abused members of his religious group.

Marking the International Human Rights Day and Anti-Corruption Day, the US Treasury designated Quiboloy pursuant to Executive Order No. 13818 which freezes US-based assets of people “responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse” among other reasons.

The executive order also blocks the entry of those designated into the US and prohibits donations for their benefit.

The US Treasury said Quiboloy “exploited his role” in his religious group—The Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name—to subject his members to rape and other physical abuse and described these as “sacrifices required by the Bible and by God” for their salvation.

For those who doubt the US Government’s capacity to finally nail this abusive pastor, it’s only a matter of time. Be patient and watch out.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)