La dure loi du sport (or, one point one way, one point another way)

The world cup of the world’s greatest team sport has just ended with the final victory of the New Zealand team against the XV de France. Although it is somewhat bitter to fail for the third time in the final, all partisans of the French artistry on the field (where viril, mais correct is but one of the noble guiding principles) recognize that a victory — and it was rather close! — would have been undeserved. Indeed, the French qualified for the final only after a rather lucky win against a brilliant Welsh team in the semi-final. After fighting more than an hour with one man less, the Welsh barely lost by one point (9 to 8, and more importantly, without the French scoring a single try). I feel that the French’s loss by the same point (7 to 8) is fair. Their tremendous fighting spirit shows that their presence here today was not, in fact, entirely undeserved, but a win would have left a sour taste in my mouth. Let’s hope that in four years, they will (for once…) actually play throughout the tournament with the same intensity. And then let the best team win…

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I am a professor of mathematics at ETH Zürich since 2008.

One thought on “La dure loi du sport (or, one point one way, one point another way)”

  1. Emmanuel,

    There is a difference between the semi-final and the final though.

    I agree with you when you say that France does not deserve to win the semi-final. But, the French team is not responsible if
    * one Welsh player acted very badly and received a well-deserved red card;
    * the Welsh players had many opportunities to score but had very weak players to hit penalties…

    On the other hand, the referee of the final was clearly incompetent. The New Zealand players did a lot of faults in the second half-time (especially in the groupings) but the referee has not given a single penality to the French team… It was clearly a shame.


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