Death of King Pelé, the first legend of globalized football

The only player three times world champion, crowned at the age of 17, author of 1,281 goals, Pelé died on December 29, 2022 in Brazil, eleven days after the World Cup in Qatar. He was 82 years old. Even more than Diego Maradona, who died on November 25, 2020 – and whose last years have started the legend – the Brazilian leaves in the history of football an imprint like no other. The Englishman Bobby Charlton said of him: “Sometimes I feel like football was invented for this magical player. »

“The greatest in the history of football”

Always admired, never criticized, Pelé was unanimous among his glorious successors. “He was the footballer who exceeded the limits of logic” (Johan Cruyff). “The most complete player I have ever seen” (Franz Beckenbauer). “The greatest in the history of football” (Cristiano Ronaldo).

During the 1958 World Cup, the planet ignited for this kid who scored five goals in two games: in the semi-final against France of Kopa and Fontaine, then in the final against Sweden. Pelé breathes new life into a sport somewhat encysted in the physical and metronomic patterns of the great teams of the time – Uruguay, Hungary, Germany.

color tv man

He imposes a new style, the famous “ginga”, a mixture of dribbling, audacity and spectacular gestures, like his famous bicycles (overturned air).

Throughout his immense career, Pelé will have accompanied the rise of football in mondiovision, first in black and white in 1958, then in color in 1970, when he became world champion for the third time. “Pelé has entered homes around the world. Even those who weren’t interested in football got to know him.”, explains the historian Paul Dietschy (1). Television viewers who saw his birth live in Sweden are rare, but millions of them attended the Brazilian’s recital during the Mexican World Cup in 1970. Whose famous blind pass to Carlos Alberto, for the fourth goal in the final against Italy.

Athletic but airy despite his 1.73m, dribbler and powerful shooter, irresistible with his right foot and very skilful with his left, excellent without the ball to lurk behind the backs of opponents whom he left disarmed. These multiple qualities will inspire this comment to Italian defender Tarcisio Burgnich after the 1970 defeat: “I said to myself before the match, he is in the flesh, just like anyone, but I was wrong”.

The staging of the 1000e goal

The biopic dedicated to him in 2016 (Pelé, birth of a legend) depicts him practicing juggling for hours on end with, as a ball… a mango, under the gaze of his father, himself a former amateur footballer who had to give up his sport to feed his three children. Many of his biographies – there are more than a thousand of them – begin with the oath he would have made to his father as a child about the World Cup: “One day I will win it for Brazil, I promise you. »

Among the other famous episodes entered into legend, this twenty-minute lap of honor, right in the middle of a match, on November 19, 1969, to celebrate his thousandth goal.

A minister of sports anxious to do well

In 1971, Pelé put an end to his international career and continued with a club in the United States. He helped popularize “soccer” with the New York Cosmos. After his retirement in 1977, the greatest footballer in the world spent the second part of his life playing sales reps for various brands. Without ever undermining the myth. He spared no effort to defend various humanitarian causes (in particular Unicef). Or to clean up the organization of football in his country, undermined by corruption.

In 1995, he entered the government. Sports Minister for four years, he boasted of having “freed all Brazilian footballers from slavery”. Allusion to the law that bears his name. Voted in 1998, it transposes to Brazil the European judgment “Bosman” which authorizes a player to sign in any club, whatever his nationality.. One more episode in the legend of King Pelé, a symbol as much as an actor in the birth of football without borders.


Three-time World Cup winner

Two clubs in his career. Edson Arantes do Nascimento was 15 when he joined Brazilian club Santos in 1956, located in the state of Sao Paulo. He started in the first team the following year. He will remain at Santos until 1975, the year of his departure for the American club New York Cosmos, where he will play for three seasons.

Number of matches and goals. Pelé played 831 official matches and scored 767 goals. If we count the friendlies, he would have scored 1,281 goals in 1,363 games.

With the Brazil team. Pelé participated in four World Cups and won three: in Sweden in 1958, in Chile in 1962 and then in Mexico in 1970. During the 1966 edition in England, Brazil was eliminated in the first round. In total, the player scored 12 goals in 14 games and scored at least 1 goal in every World Cup.



Tour de France: departure from Florence in 2024, a first for Italy

The Tour de France will start from Italy in 2024 for the first time in its history. The departure will be from Florence for an 111th edition decidedly unlike the others with a final arrival in Nice, the organizers announced on Wednesday December 21.

“The Tour started from all the countries bordering France. He even left the Netherlands six times, which has no common border with France. But he has never left Italy yet. There is a kind of incongruity that will disappear”explains to AFP Christian Prudhomme, the director of the Tour de France who is in Italy until Friday to present this 26th Grand departure from abroad, the third consecutive after Copenhagen in 2022 and Bilbao in 2023.

In total, there will be three stages in Italy to launch the 2024 edition which, due to the Olympic Games in Paris, will end exceptionally in Nice with, as the organizers had already announced, a final individual time trial on the 21 July, five days before the start of the Olympics in the capital.

The first stage, on June 29, will connect Florence to Rimini – “a mid-mountain or even mountain stage with an elevation gain of 3,700 meters”, according to Prudhomme. The second, cut out for punchers, will start from Cesenatico and end on a final circuit in Bologna via Imola where Julian Alaphilippe won his first world championship title in 2020.

“Leaving abroad, I claim it”

The third, promised to the sprinters, will go from Plaisance to Turin. The fourth stage should also take off in Italy and then arrive in France.

“Leaving abroad, I not only assume it but I claim it. French security forces will be in huge demand in 2024, so a big departure from abroad can help”insists Prudhomme.

For the Tour, it is also an opportunity to celebrate Italian cycling, so rich, as 2024 marks the centenary of the first Italian victory in the Grand Boucle, that of Ottavio Bottecchia in 1924.



World Cup 2022: the French Stéphanie Frappart first woman to referee in the men’s World Cup

The French Stéphanie Frappart will be the first woman to referee a match of the men’s World Cup, Thursday in Qatar, between Germany and Costa Rica in group E, announced Tuesday November 29 Fifa.

Stéphanie Frappart is one of the three women selected among the thirty-six field referees of this World Cup with the Rwandan Salima Mukansanga and the Japanese Yoshimi Yamashita. Three others are on the linesman roster.

Meteoric rise

At 38, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is the logical continuation of a meteoric rise in the career of Stéphanie Frappart. First female referee in the French second division (2014), then in the men’s Ligue 1 (2019), in the European Super Cup (August 2019), in the Champions League (December 2020) and in the final of the Coupe de France (May 7). ), she will continue to make history on Thursday at Al Bayt Stadium.

Now very well established in the French and European landscape of arbitration, she had officiated as fourth referee during two meetings of this group stage of the 2022 World Cup: Mexico-Poland and Portugal-Ghana.

Until then, she had to content herself with refereeing world-class matches on… the Fifa video game, which included her in its latest edition. Waiting for reality to catch up with the virtual on Thursday, for a historic first.

Crowning of a campaign launched by the French Football Federation

Finding a woman in charge of a top-level men’s match is a recent and rare phenomenon. In the major championships, the pioneer was the German Bibiana Steinhaus, the first referee in the Bundesliga between 2017 and 2021. In September 2017, at the whistle of Herta Berlin-Werder Bremen, she became the first woman in the history of football to lead a professional 1st division match in Europe.

The presence of women in match management remains exceptional, even at amateur level. For example, in France, they are only a thousand, or 4% of the contingent of referees, according to figures from the FFF.

Frappart’s rise is the crowning achievement of a campaign launched by the French Football Federation in January 2019, a plan to professionalise elite female referees. The latter provides “an increase in the human and material resources made available to female officials, a strengthening of their preparation, as well as an evolution of the compensation system, in order to provide them with the best conditions for the exercise of arbitration”.



The Blues first qualified in the round of 16

Always, if possible, maintain good habits. For the third consecutive time, Didier Deschamps can be satisfied with a qualification in the round of 16 of the World Cup after the first two games of the competition. His Blues did the job on Saturday November 26 by beating Denmark (2-1), imitating their elders from 2014 and 2018.

They had been brilliant in 2014 in Brazil, going 3-0 in Honduras, and battering the Swiss 5-2. The adventure ended in the quarter-finals against Germany (1-0). They had provided the essentials in 2018 in Russia, with a laborious 2-1 against Australia and a minimum 1-0 against Peru. And the story ended on top of the world. What continuation can tell the double evolution of the Blues of Qatar, convincing vis-a-vis Australia (4-1), but serene intermittently vis-a-vis the Scandinavians?

Satisfaction in defense and midfield

It is not impossible that the Blues have in any case found a typical team. The newcomers from the start, Raphaël Varane back from injury and Jules Koundé compensating for the defensive flaws of Benjamin Pavard, have removed doubts about the form of one and the placement of the other. Raphaël Varane especially entered the competition perfectly, and it is a comfort as the Blues have so far lost many soldiers let down by their physique.

Throughout the first half, this formation in any case proved to be in place, well in its fragile certainties. Rather dominating, the Blues multiplied the chances, without however ever finding the net. But after 45 minutes, they seemed to dominate their subject, with real satisfaction on the side of Ousmane Dembélé, twirling on his right wing without neglecting his defensive folds, and Antoine Griezmann, in the oven and at the mill like he often knows how to do it, but less prominent lately.

World Cup 2022: Olivier Giroud, the mark of the copy

A very united group

The general feeling of a quiet strength, finally lacked only the validation of the score, stubbornly blocked at 0-0. The downside could also come from Kylian Mbappé, a tone below compared to the overall score. Except that a sleeping Kylian can always wake up. It is characteristic of giant players. The second half will therefore be that of his double, including a spectacular second goal from the thigh on a cross from Antoine Griezmann. Between these two goals, however, the Blues floated a little, at least enough to let the character of the Danes express themselves, the Scandinavians offering themselves the luxury of returning to the score on their first shot – a whim – on target.

This second half, less controlled, somewhat limits the enthusiasm. But if the Blues had a number of questions about the midfielder, deprived of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, the two performances performed by the triplet Antoine Griezmann, Adrien Rabiot and Aurélien Tchouameni, the last two discovering the World Cup for the first times, give rather satisfaction.

The team, above all, displays a beautiful unity and a communicative spirit. Welded, perhaps, by his misfortunes (the defections), and finding this balance sought in vain during the last Euro. It is a curious paradox. The absent are always wrong ? Maybe. This group is strong, solid, and wants to do great things.” commented after the meeting a Didier Deschamps who will be able to afford to rotate his workforce Wednesday, November 30 against Tunisia (at 4 p.m.). From his reactions to the two goals of his star striker, we can probably deduce that he is relieved. He is not the only one.

World Cup 2022: France qualified, Poland wakes up… the matches of Saturday November 26



Women’s Tour de France: Dutchwoman Lorena Wiebes, first yellow jersey

Dutch sprinter Lorena Wiebes won the first stage of the women’s Tour de France on Sunday July 24 in Paris and is wearing the first yellow jersey of this women’s Grande Boucle. Wiebes was more powerful than her compatriot Marianne Vos to win on the Champs-Élysées where Belgian Lotte Kopecky took third place in the final sprint.

The legend Oranje Marianne Vos, triple world champion (2006, 2012 and 2013), launched the sprint from afar to try to win on the Parisian avenue, as in 2014 when she won the first edition of La Course by The Tour on these same cobblestones.

But Wiebes, well placed in the final bend, was not surprised in this twelfth lap of the circuit around the Tuileries gardens and on the Champs-Élysées that the men will take at the start of the evening. “The girls did an amazing job”praised Wiebes at the end of the 82 km. “I was able to accelerate again to pass Marianne on the line. »

52nd success of his career

At 23, the DSM rocket already signs the 52nd success of her career, the 16th this season. Only Italian world champion Elisa Balsamo was able to deprive her of success in a sprint this year, and only twice. But the wearer of the rainbow jersey, less well positioned, could not defend her chances on Sunday (7th).

Thanks to the game of bonuses, Wiebes has a four-second lead in the general classification over Vos before the 2nd stage between Meaux and Provins on Monday (136.4 km) where they will only be 143 at the start. The Belgian Alana Castrique (Cofidis) was forced to retire after a fall about ten kilometers from the finish.

Like a handover, Jeannie Longo, winner of three editions, the last of which with the Tour de France appellation in 1989, accompanied the race director Marion Rousse at the time of the real start on Sunday.



Tour de France: Christophe Laporte, first Frenchman to win a stage

The 19th stage of the Tour de France ends (finally) with a French victory. Christophe Laporte (Jumbo Visma) is the first rider to cross the finish line on Friday July 22 in Cahors, during a flat stage serving as a transition between the Pyrenean triptych and the time trial scheduled for Saturday July 23 in Rocamadour.

The Belgian Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceunick), and the Italian Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) then came to complete the podium.

While the Tour de France ends on Sunday July 24, the general classification has not changed: Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo Visma) retains the yellow jersey (and the polka dot jersey), more than three minutes ahead of Tadej Pogacar and eight minutes on Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadier).

The 188 kilometers separating Castelnau-Magnoac and Cahors were not very lively and the rest of the general classification was not shaken either: the Frenchman David Gaudu retained fourth place, ahead of Nairo Quintana, whom he had passed the day before. .

An interruption was however marked 157 kilometers from the finish due to a demonstration on the road, as during the Megève stage. The gap between peloton and the breakaway was calculated and the riders left in the same positions.

A Frenchman in place of another

The breakaway did not survive for long and only the American Quinn Simmons (first in the intermediate sprint) tried to hold on. The youngest of the competition finally abdicated, 35 kilometers from the finish. His solitary getaway nevertheless earned him the bib of the most combative runner of the day.

The white jersey Tadej Pogacar attempted a small attack a few kilometers further, taking advantage of the aspiration of Alexis Gougeard. The hope of victory quickly vanished on this ground not conducive to widening gaps and the Slovenian was quickly overtaken by the great Wout van Aert, assured of keeping the green jersey.

Alexis Gougeard stayed ahead of the race alongside Briton Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Belgian Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo). But the teams wishing to see their sprinter go for the victory worked together at the front of the peloton to close the gap with the leading trio.

The Lotto-Soudal, QuickStep-AlphaVinyl and TotalEnergies teams thus took turns before catching up with the three riders, destroying Alexis Gougeard’s chances of victory. He will be fortunately replaced by another Frenchman, who escaped victoriously from the peloton 1.5 kilometers from the finish.



France, the world’s leading nation in rugby and a safe bet in other team sports

According to the ranking established by World Rugby, France becomes the first team in the world at the start of the week. Fabien Galthié’s men, undefeated this season with ten straight wins, will now overtake South Africa, previous world number one, beaten by Wales on the wire this weekend (13-12).

“For the first time in its history, the XV of France reached first place in the world rankings”, tweeted the president of the French Rugby Federation, Bernard Laporte, on Saturday.

If the world champion Springboks had won, they would have remained at the top of the world rankings. Their defeat, combined with the second victory of the Blues in Japan and a setback for the All Blacks against Ireland (23-12), allows the French to get ahead of them.

World champion footballers but… 4are FIFA ranking

Before the XV of France, only the men’s football team had managed, in 2001, to win the world’s first place in its discipline. Without being at the top of the table, the rest of the national team sports teams still have a good track record.

At the 2021 Olympics, France was ranked second in the team sports rankings, behind the United States, with six medals, including three gold. The men’s volleyball team had notably won its first Olympic title against Russia. Today the training led by Andrea Giani is ranked fourth in the world. His female counterpart, on the other hand, is in more trouble, clocking in at 24e global place.

As for the French basketball players, the men’s team, Olympic vice-champion last year, climbed to fourth place, far behind the untouchable Americans, also ahead of the Spaniards and the Australians. The girls, Olympic bronze medalists and reigning five-time European vice-champion, are sixth in a ranking again dominated by Americans and Spaniards.

In football, France may be the reigning world champion, but it only points to fourth place in the ranking established by the International Federation (FIFA), behind Brazil, Belgium and Argentina. The girls, who are currently competing in the Euro, are doing a little better. They are third, overtaken by the United States and Sweden.

In handball, the men’s and women’s teams both won a gold medal at the last Tokyo Olympics. The boys are third at European level, behind Germany and Spain. The girls do better: second, only ahead of the Hungarians.



Tour de France: Yves Lampaert, first unexpected yellow jersey

For three days, the sun had been shining in the sky of Copenhagen and happy swimmers were diving into the inlets of the harbor. And then, this Friday, July 1, at 2:30 p.m., when the advertising caravan was snorting in the Danish capital, it started to rain. Dru. The downpour made the sellers of disposable plastic ponchos happy. It must have given chills to the sports directors of the riders, still sheltered in their buses while waiting for a 13.2 kilometer time trial drawn in the streets of the city.

Fear of slipping on wet macadam, skidding, bad fall, lost time, even abandonment, it has happened before… According to the weather forecast the day before, the rain was not expected before 5 p.m., one hour before the start of the first of the 176 registered. So, for this opening stage of the Tour de France, the strategists had taken their precautions: they had placed their leaders at the top of the day’s entry list to allow them to set off on a dry road. Bet failed.

Wout van Aert thought he had won

The Swiss Stefan Bisseger, one of the favorites of the day, was the first to tear his shorts on the tarmac. Without too much trouble, but a second bowl definitely put him out of the race for victory. The French Christophe Laporte, in the lead at the intermediate score, also found himself on the buttocks at the entrance of a bend. The most cautious, on the other hand, advanced without taking any risks, with the ambition of arriving wet but whole. The Belgian Wout van Aert then believed he had the winner’s bouquet in hand and the yellow jersey on his back.

His compatriot Yves Lampaert made him disillusioned by beating him by 5 seconds, at nearly 52 km/h. Aged 31, the Flemish rider of the Quick Step team had never known such an honor. But he had still been Belgian time trial champion twice, in 2017 and 2021. This farmer’s son also twice won Through Flanders, a semi-classic. But no one really saw him triumph in front of Van Aert and the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, third with 7 seconds behind, in a city where the rain did not dampen the incredible fervor of the public.

(Archives – Video of 06/07/2019)



At the Euro football championship, Les Bleues are aiming for a first major title

After the ripolining, the time of the consecration? It is a largely remodeled French football team which will set foot on English lawns in ten days for the next European Women’s Championship (from July 6 to 31). Exit Amandine Henry, the emblematic captain, Eugénie Le Sommer, the top scorer, or even Sarah Bouhaddi, the safe bet as goalkeeper. The last eighteen months have redesigned a wardrobe with more youthful features.

By force, one would be tempted to think, as the explanation does not seem to be to be found on the ground, where Amandine Henry, for example, was crowned European club champion with Lyon this season. The 30-year-old has especially paid for her public criticism of the coach, Corinne Deacon, whose mode of management of the group she had denounced in the fall of 2020 during the last World Cup, organized in France in 2019. Les Bleues had then left the World Cup from the quarter-finals, in a “utter chaos”,the midfielder was moved on Canal + : “I saw girls crying in their room, I was crying in my room. »

An exit which was added to several other criticisms, defender Wendie Renard pointing in particular to the “brutality” of the coach in a book published a few months after the failure of the World Cup. A new setback for a mature workforce, hunting for its first international trophy in a decade. Following the 2019 defeat, the coach stayed on and felt there was a lot to change. We can question it but we can also understand it, believes Yannick Chandioux, coach of Montpellier in the women’s first division. The team of 2015 and 2019 was collectively balanced, but it may have lacked strong individuals to make a difference. »

New generation

Talent, the new generation is full of it, carried by Marie-Antoinette Katoto, the most prolific striker of the last exercise with Paris-Saint-Germain – one of the two giants of French women’s football with Lyon – and of which she is already, at 23, the top scorer in history. The vice-champion of France joined the group two years ago, soon imitated by Clara Matéo, Melvine Malard or Selma Bacha, revealed during the last Tournoi de France, an international competition over three matches won by the Bleues last February.

For the list of players selected for the Euro, Corinne Deacon thus ticked twelve names who were not from the 2019 World Cup. “The news brings their passion. We have a lot of choice, there is a lot of competition, especially offensivelyconfides Griedge Mbock, experienced defender of the France team for nine years, according to whom the coach has adapted her management by showing herself “more open”.“There are a lot more exchanges (and) a little more flexibility, certainly”, Corinne Deacon had also assured Agence France-Presse in recent weeks.

” There is no more time to lose “

She nevertheless preferred to avoid some cohabitation problems by not retaining Kheira Hamraoui. The PSG player has been in trouble with certain club partners present in the selection since the attack she suffered in November 2021 and for which one of her teammates had been placed in police custody, finally lifted. The preparation for the Euro could also have been disrupted by the transfer window period. But Marie-Antoinette Katoto, the most sought after, has “made his decision” for next season, recently swept Deacon in a press conference.

These worries aside, the former coach of Clermont for men, where she became the first woman in this position in 2014, only aspires to one thing for this European championship: the title. ” There is no more time to lose “, she warned. Third nation in the Fifa ranking, Les Bleues will arrive among the favorites in England, as at the next World Cup in 2023 and then at the Paris Olympics a year later“one notch below Sweden, the United States or Japan”shade Yannick Chandioux. “These are advanced countries while we are still at the beginnings of women’s football in France. We could draw a parallel with the French team before Platini in the men’s category, which took a long time to win a title in the 1980s. The French will be able to rely on their good momentum: they have just scored a thirteenth victory in a row during their first warm-up match. Before a second against Vietnam, Friday July 1, in Orléans.


The list of 23 Blues

The France team will be opposed, during the group stage of the Euro, to Italy (July 10), Belgium (July 14) and Iceland (July 18).

Babysitters: Mylène Chavas, Justine Lerond, Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.

Defenders: Selma Bacha, Hawa Cissoko, Sakina Karchaoui, Griedge Mbock, Ève Perisset, Wendie Renard, Marion Torrent, Aïssatou Tounkara.

Environments : Charlotte Bilbault, Kenza Dali, Grace Geyoro, Ella Palis, Sandie Toletti.

Forwards: Sandy Baltimore, Delphine Cascarino, Kadidiatou Diani, Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Melvine Malard, Clara Matéo, Ouleymata Sarr.



Montpellier sparkles and offers its first title of champion of France

What had not been said of this final of the Top 14 2022 before its two actors opened the ball! That the show would certainly not enter the dance as the little music played by Castres or Montpellier this season, to be effective, was nonetheless deprived of momentum. That the style of play of the two clubs, quite similar, too often left the defense the baton of conductor, abandoning the solos of artists and other hectic flights.

It must therefore be a question of boredom, after a necessarily padlocked part. In short, the return to a combat rugby allegedly out of fashion since the eventful partitions imposed in recent years by the Toulouse Stadium or La Rochelle. Except that even before the doors close, the Montpellier residents have broken all the locks.

Maximum intensity and accuracy of gestures

Three essays in six short minutes, chained staccato, just to hammer home what no one wanted to see: “We showed that we also knew how to play rugby”, barely underlined the match concluded Philippe Saint-André, the coach of Montpellier and former coach of the France team (from 2011 to 2015). Maximum intensity, control of the races, accuracy of the gestures, everything was condensed there.

A show of strength. Like an inverted sequence from the 2018 final between the same two teams, and which had turned into a nightmare for Montpellier, who were nevertheless then favorites (victory for Castres, 29-13). This time, Castres had the favor of the forecasts, and it was the Tarnais who in turn missed out on their final, at least for a first half during.

Leading 23-3 at the break, Montpellier had told the essentials, satisfied this desire for revenge that the club had taken care not to summon just in case. Unnecessary precaution. If the second half of the debates was dominated by Castres, Montpellier remained camped on its bases, rediscovering its science of barbed wire training. Brilliant to begin with, solid and united to finish, the Montpellier residents have repainted their blurred image in a single evening in recent years.

The strength of a collective

That of a club too rich to be honest since the arrival of billionaire Mohed Altrad as majority shareholder in 2011, driven above all by its foreign stars, as during the gleaming 2018 season when its big South African arms had moved everything during the season before falling on the last step of the final. A trauma for the club, which therefore took four years to recover, losing its luster but gaining a more modest collective of “hungry”, as summarized by Philippe Saint-André, also a craftsman of the recovery since his arrival at the controls he 18 months ago.

The appetite of the hungry was revealed on Friday evening: they devoured Castres as soon as the banquet began. The pride of offering the club the first title in its history was on everyone’s lips after the final whistle. We got spat on, we supposedly had no identity, and that’s what forged the whole groupsaid scrum-half Benoît Paillaugue. I don’t know if all this will be erased, but I think Montpellier will be a little more respected.”. Without a doubt.