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Peter Goldstein is a professor at Juniata

College in Pennsylvania in the USA. He has

been World Cup crazy since 1966. He will

share his views about the past, present and

future of this event.


Peter Goldstein
English Department
Juniata College
101 Quinter House
Huntingdon, PA 16652
The World Cup en Español

.by Peter Goldstein

I was born in 1955, when soccer in the USA was almost invisible. But I was lucky to grow up in Los Angeles, one of the few places in the country where at least they knew the game existed. Southern California has a very large Hispanic population, including first and second-generation immigrants from all the Latin American nations. They play soccer in local leagues, read about their home country's teams in local Spanish-language newspapers, and listen to Spanish radio and TV reports on the games south of the border.

In the summer of 1966, when I was almost 11, I attended    Colegio Español, a local summer school for kids learning to speak Spanish. There were classes in Latin American history and culture; field trips to see the famous dancers of the Baile Folklorico and the open air market on Olvera Street; Spanish and Mexican arts and crafts. There was recess, too, and since this was an Hispanic cultural experience, we played something they called "futbol."

 It's funny, but it's not satire: it's 100% literally true. Jorge Ramos, one of the great Latin American radio announcers, could give you four heart attacks (per half!) during the dullest 0-0 draw in history. I'd be watching a game on television with the sound turned off and Ramos on the radio, and no matter what was happening on screen, my pulse rate would double. And although radio was naturally more intense, Spanish-language television gave you the same rush. During the 1990s, Spanish broadcaster Andres Cantor of Univision became famous among English-language fans for his insane cries of "goooooooooooooooooollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!!!" somehow prolonged beyond the limits of the human larynx. But as early as 1978, there was Tony Tirado of Spanish International Network, who did the same thing, and was even crazier. (Whatever happened to Tony? I did a search for his name on the web, and found an article that mentioned how he used to throw in English words for the English-language viewers who had no other place to go. And then a little biographical note on Luis Omar Tapia of ESPN International, who cites Tony Tiradoas a great influence on his career. There's also a Tony Tirado Tirado in charge of videos for UNICEF -- maybe?)

I have so many wonderful memories of those broadcasts, TV and radio. Where to start? Maybe during the 1986 World Cup. After a few games, it became obvious that this was Maradona's tournament, and practically every time he touched the ball, Tony Tirado would call out "Diego Ar-MAN-do Maradona," or alternatively "Diego Dieguito Diegote" (literally: Diego, little Diego, big Diego). "Maradona" would have been enough, but not for our Tony.  And when Diego Dieguito Diegote scored that immortal goal against England (the legitimate one), Tirado went over the top, capping off his call: "Argentina esta buscando el cemento, para hacerle un monumento a Diego Armando Maradona!" (Argentina is searching for the cement to make a monument to him!)

* Note: Andres Cantor was interviewed by Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald in the Preview of the World Cup USA 1994.

Q.    Which was the goal you called the loudest?

A.    No question, the goal scored by Diego Armando Maradona to  England in Mexico 86?

I heard from different people, including his father, that he was a young soccer fan watching Tony Tirado in Los Angeles during the "Mexico 86".  There were also other distortions and lies.


Internet response:  A.C. laks class and respect.


The Power of the Web.

I remember too the epic France-Brazil game of that year, particularly the penalties. When Joel Bats saved Zico's penalty in regular time, it was Tirado with "SA-ca Joel Bats!" And in the shootout, repeated cries of "increible, increible," and when Julio Cesar's kick hit the woodwork, Norberto Longo exclaiming "El palo dice que no!" (The post says no!)

    Jorge Ramos was in fine form in 1986 as well. American journalistic ethics dictate that national sports broadcasters remain impartial, but that has absolutely no meaning for Spanish-language broadcasters, who unashamedly root for the Latin American teams. (At the 1990 Costa Rica-Czechoslovakia game, Ramos' opening, roughly translated, was: "It's Costa Rica vs. Czechoslovakia here, and we're rooting for Costa Rica, because, well, you just have to.") In the 1986 Final, Ramos was totally pro-Argentina, exploding in joy at the goals by Brown and Valdano. When West Germany got their first, late in the second half, Ramos called it soberly, went over the play somberly, then suddenly brightened, and in triumph exclaimed: "Pero, damas y caballeros -- no pasa nada!" (In effect: "Ladies and gentlemen, don't worry, it's still in the bag!") When the Germans got the shock equalizer, Ramos never even mentioned that the ball was in the net; he was too busy crying in despair "Neri!" "Neri!" (Neri Pumpido, the Argentine goalkeeper.)
    The classic call of that Final belonged to Tirado, though. Maradona's pass split the defense, and there was Jorge Luis Burruchaga clear, heading for the winning goal. Tirado somehow had time for "Burruchaga Burruchaga, Jorge Luis [and then with extra rolls of the R's] Burrrrrrrruchaga..." and then after the goal"Gooooooooooooooooooooooolllllllllllllll!!! Burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrruchaga!" You can't get that kind of stuff on ESPN.:
     I've got a zillion more, but perhaps the most memorable call, memorable for what it said about the Latin American approach to the game, came from the 1982 France-West Germany semifinal. The announcer was Geraldo Peña, a thin, serious-looking man given to poetic, even metaphysical football commentary. By the semifinals all the South American teams had been eliminated (Spain, too), and the one hope of the Latin fans was France, with their glorious midfield led by Michel Platini. They were known as "the Brazil of Europe," and against the unimaginative, rigid West Germans, they were without question good against evil. You know the story of the game: how Schumacher levelled Battiston, to the horror of the watching world, and how France went two goals ahead in extra time, only to lose in the penalty shootout. The game was one of the most intense in World Cup history, and Peña called it with appropriate fervor, always favoring the French. In extra time France went up 2-1, and he exulted -- and then France got the third goal. Surely this meant victory. Peña celebrated with a crescendo of words hailing France's creativity, their exuberance, their attacking style of play, their dedication to the game at its best, winding up with an ecstatic cry: "el futbol nunca puede morir!" ("Football can never die!") Well, the Germans came back, and football didn't die, but I think a bit of Peña died that night, and maybe a bit of some of his listeners did as well.
    Mainstream American soccer will never have anything to match that, but the Spanish-language influence is creeping in slowly. In the 1980s, Ben and I and maybe a few others sought out the Spanish broadcasters, but in recent years they've become more visible and more popular. Andres Cantor became something of a celebrity during USA '94, as people gradually realized that Spanish-language soccer had its special attractions. After France '98 he was so well known that he was hired to do English-language commentary on women's soccer. This was a classic misreading: Cantor was special not because he was a good announcer, but because he was a good Spanish announcer. With the exception of the endless "goooll" cry, his English broadcasts were flat, and no one responded. 


Mr. Peter Goldstein

English Department

Juniata College

101 Quinter House

Huntingdon, PA 16652



REF:    The World Cup Archive

            March 2, 2002

            The World Cup en español


Dear Mr. Goldstein:


I read your article.  Precise and well documented.

For your information, after S.I.N. Spanish International Network, now Univision, I helped to develop the second Spanish network, TELEMUNDO, as Vice President of Sports.  Eventually, I was hired by Prime Sports International, a division of TCI, now AT&T as General Manager for Latin America.  To create a 24 hours sports service, now known as Fox Sports World Network.

In 1995, I became very ill, first I suffered a massive heart attack then with a very rare lymphoma cancer, and this went on for about 6 years.

Thanks to God and the doctors He put on my path I am fully recovered and in excellent health.  I keep busy doing research and consulting in the communication industry.

I want to take the opportunity to thank you for your kind words about my career, reminiscing great memories.

Best regards,

Tony Tirado.



Dear Mr. Tirado,

Thank you so much for your kind e-mail. I'm 46 years old, but I admit that
it gave me a little-boy thrill; as you probably figured out, I was a big fan
of yours. In fact, part of the reason I wrote the article was to mention
your name. Futbol has only recently entered the mainstream for
English-speaking Americans, and while many of them know Univision,
TELEMUNDO, and Andres Cantor, very few of them have heard of Spanish
International Network and
Tony Tirado.

Just so you know the place of honor you held back in those days, my friends
and I used to have these penalty shootout contests, and we called them the

Tony Tirado Cup. Whenever we scored, we would imitate your call of
"gooooll!" Fun times.

I hadn't known about your illness, but I'm so glad to hear you are now
healthy. I hope your consulting business is as successful as your work has
been elsewhere.

As always, I look forward to the World Cup, and as always, when I'm
watching, I'll remember the excitement you gave me and my friends.
Muchisimas gracias.


Peter Goldstein

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