GoobNet menu




Catching up with the Jefferson

Today would have been the sixth day of the 2003 FIFA Men's World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates. The tournament, postponed with the outbreak of war in Iraq, would have been the largest football tournament since the Men's World Cup last summer in the Korea Republic and Japan. A number of skilled footballers aged 20 and under would have been ready to show off their skills - and perhaps win a championship in the process. Here's a recap of the action that would have happened thus far.

TUE 25 MAR 2003

UAE 02-01 Slovakia: Playing in front of a raucous crowd of 71,191 at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, the homestanding UAE side would have run out winners in the tournament opener, taking two goals from Firas Al-Khatib past a Slovakian side making their first appearance at a FIFA tournament. Unfamiliar with the ways of big time international football, Slovakia's Tomás Brusko would have remarked to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, "You look shorter on TV."

WED 26 MAR 2003

Argentina 00-00 Spain: The much anticipated Argentina-Spain match would have ended goalless in Sharjah, as the defending champions from Argentina would have engaged in a tough physical match with the young Iberians. Argentina, who won the CONMEBOL U-20 championship in Uruguay two months previously despite a violent style of play and poor behaviour, would have met their match in Spain. Both sides would have come prepared, with reinforced steel shinguards and carefully sharpened spikes on their cleats. Amazingly, referee Kwon Jong Chul would have shown only one red card in the entire match, when Argentina's Marcelo Romero would have issued a disparaging comment about Sergio García de la Fuente. An embarrassed Romero would have said after the match, "I had no idea the ref knew the Spanish word for bad hair day."

Brazil 02-02 Canada: The greatest moment in Canadian footballing history would have come at 15:41 UTC in Dubai, when Iain Hume's penalty attempt would have struck the left post, rebounded directly at referee Mohamed Benouza, deflected off the side of his head, hit the right post, bounce off the left leg of Brazilian goalkeeper Jefferson, and into the back of the net. That would have levelled the match at 2-2 in the 89th minute, and the Canadian bench would have poured onto the pitch as the final whistle blew. For a Canadian footballer, drawing Brazil is one hell of an accomplishment, but they would have been helped by goalkeeper Karim Alim, a geography student who spent months prior to the tournament drawing Brazil.

Uzbekistan 01-01 Mali: This wouldn't have been a particularly interesting match in itself, but the announcers would have amused themselves by coming up with more and more interesting ways to say "Uzbekistan" and "Mali".

THU 27 MAR 2003

Saudi Arabia 01-01 Rep Ireland: This would have been the first 2002 Men's World Cup rematch in a tournament loaded with them. Under coach Carlos Oscar Pachame, the Saudis would have befuddled Ireland with a fast paced offense in which players would have tried to use deceptive tricks like pulling coins out of their opponents' ears.

Paraguay 00-02 United States: Devin Barclay "Card Premiership" would have come away with a goal and an assist in this match in Abu Dhabi. Moments after the final whistle, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld would have sharply criticised Abu Dhabi TV for airing footage of the US locker room.

Korea Rep 01-00 Germany: This stunning reversal of the 2002 Men's World Cup semifinal involving the same sides would have caused pandemonium in the streets of Seoul, Incheon, Daejeon, and even Seogwipo. Park Ju Sung, scorer of the winning goal, would have lifted up his shirt to reveal a message: "My senior national team friends went to the World Cup semifinals and all I got was this lousy T shirt".

FRI 28 MAR 2003

This would have been a day off. US coach Thomas Rongen would have gone shopping at the Abu Dhabi Galleria, where he would have found the perfect gift for Barclay: an English to Ray Hudsonese phrasebook to help Barclay understand his coach at DC United.

SAT 29 MAR 2003

Australia 01-00 Canada: The young Canadian footballers would have let the successful match with Brazil get to their heads. Conversely, Australia, coming off a 3-1 loss to the Czech Republic, would have come out looking for blood. But not finding any, they would have trudged into the locker room at halftime distracted and disappointed. Ange Postecoglou, coach of the Young Socceroos, would have ranted at his team, throwing papers about. In one careless toss, he would have received a fairly nasty paper cut, and the players would have seen the blood they'd been seeking. So, with that out of the way, they would have been ready to concentrate on the task at hand.

Czech Republic 01-01 Brazil: Riots would have started in Rio de Janeiro and in São Paulo after this result, a second consecutive draw for Brazil in a group that they were expected to win handily. Jefferson would have again conceded a goal from the penalty spot, and after the match a firestorm of speculation would have engulfed the Brazilian media about the troubled keeper. Rumours would have mounted until he finally emerged from the locker room to confront the reporters at the postmatch conference, where he would have made it absolutely clear that no, he is not named after the neighbour from Married with Children.