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A large bouquet to show that sport
Transcends the scoring of a goal.
A simple and untarnished thought
Upon the passing of a soul.
Others dived and rammed and winked,
Impure in mind, impure in deed.
Had fair play been pronounced extinct,
With winning as the only creed?
The sportsman now will choose to cheat
Instead of staring at defeat.
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The keeper of brave Mexico
Had lost his father nights before.
Untimely death, long-travelled woe,
So far from that Teutonic shore.
And when the teams prepared to play,
The goalie of uncouth Iran –
Disciples of the zealous way,
Foul plotters, yes, each blackguard man –
Presented his sad counterpart
With flowers plucked straight from the heart.
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This act was just about ignored
By every paper worth its name,
Although the crowd did long applaud
This strange precursor to the game.
For this did not in comfort sit
With preconceptions long maintained.
The picture did not snugly fit
With thoughts and actions pre-ordained.
And yet we preach with haughtiness
About the freedom of the press.
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When Ebrahim Mirzapour
Presented his heartfelt bouquet
It was a potent metaphor
For what respect should mean today.
Forget the headbutt by Zidane,
Or Crouch’s head from Beckham’s cross.
Think deep on ostracised Iran
Who mourned with Sanchez in his loss.
And scorn the all-pervasive hype
That seeks to build the stereotype.