I amThese days, when the national football coach is suddenly called Rudy Voller, we recall his famous tantrum exactly 20 years ago. After a 0-0 draw with the league leaders in a European Championship qualifier in Iceland, an exasperated Wöller repeatedly pointed to Waldemar Hartmann in the television studio in a wheat beer and cheese low-point trade, like a first chapter in what has since become a classic phrase: There are no small people in football!
But how do you get from Rudy and Valdy to the Rugby World Cup currently underway in France? By referring to the supposedly tiny Fiji defeating the big Australia on Sunday. Although it was a sensation and the first time it had happened in 69 years, it was not really a surprise.
The world champion question is more obvious than ever
No more little guys in rugby? Not really. The differences in the performance of world competitions are sometimes striking. Namibia (8:52 against Italy and 3:71 against New Zealand) and Romania (8:82 against Ireland and 0:76 against South Africa) have already suffered heavy defeats. Uruguay could have avoided a defeat in the French defeat at 12:27 as the hosts used only their substitutes. Nevertheless, after the second match day of the two-month competition, performance levels in rugby can be seen to be on the rise. The question of who will be the world champion remains as open as ever.
Fiji’s victory over its larger Pacific neighbor certainly didn’t come out of nowhere. The island archipelago has long been a big player in rugby’s sevens version. Fiji has won two gold medals since rejoining the Olympic program, the World Series for National Teams several times and the World Championships a year ago. Now the 15-man national team is nearing the top of the world. A few weeks before the World Cup, he won his first in a friendly against England, who have more active rugby players than Fiji’s population.
In their first World Cup match against Wales, Fiji also put on a display with their fearless attacking play. After a dramatic finale, they still lost 26:32. Against Australia, rugby world champions in 1991 and 1995, but in the midst of the worst crisis in its illustrious rugby history, the “Flying Fijians”, as they were nicknamed, restrained their sometimes exuberant enthusiasm and scored homeless points through penalties. . In the end, one try was enough to win by 22:15. Fiji now have a better chance of reaching the quarter-finals and Australia could be knocked out in the opening round for the first time. It will be a sensation, no question. But that wouldn’t be surprising.
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