Key words Football W W
Citation: World Neurosurg. (2010) 74, 2/3:233.DOI: 10.1016/j.wneu.2010.07.031
WOorld Cuporld Federation of Neurosurgical Societies
From the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center, Suita, Japan
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RLD NEUROSURGERY 74 [2/3]: 233, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2010 www.WORLDNEUROSURGERY.org 233e World Cup and WORLD NEUROSURGERYbuo Hashimoto
he Fdration Internationale de Football Association WorldCup is the biggest sports event in the world. Hundreds ofmillions of people tune in to at least some matches on TV. It
s on air both in New York and illegally in Pyongyang. Until re-tly, at least I myself could not believe that the American peoplewed their passionate patriotism by cheering on their soccer team
ring the World Cup. I had a stereotypical idea that Americanple had no interest in the event or in soccer itself. Now I knowt the United States has a long history of soccer with a lot of greativity. I must confess that I completely ignored the fact that the4 World Cup was held in the United States and the event fareeded even the most optimistic expectations.was surprised to see that the North Korean team, the lowest-ked team at the World Cup and one that comes from a mysteri-
s, cruel, and heatless country, scored a goal in the rst gameinst Brazil, the team currently topping the Fdration Internatio-edeFootballWorldRankings.However, that strikewas their onlyning moment in the tournament, and they ended in three straighteats. North Korea had the misfortune of being drawn into Groupthe Group of Death, alongside tournament favorites Brazil, Por-al, and Cote dIvoire. North Korea also has a long history ofcer, and the team climbed up to be one of the four qualifyingms from the 43 teams in the Asian Football Confederation. Twoyers who were born in Japan were invited to the North Koreanional team, and their activity was repeatedly reported in Japanesedia. But it is beyond our imagination how the team is trained inir countrywithout international activity, andhow themembers ofteamare treated in their country after three straight andcompleteeats.frica has many different histories and many stories. The great
meroonian player Samuel Etoo noted that soccer is the bestapon against political conict. Many of the games big stars makeNobuo Hashimoto, M.D., Ph.D.President, National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center
ving in the top leagues in the world, and they move freely beyondboundaries of nations, religions, economics, and politics. Etooother African players with wealth and fame are playing their
ts in linking sports and social development. Etoo has createdpouredmillions of dollars into a foundation forAfrican children
t links soccer, education, and health. Ghana beat the Unitedtes 2-1 in overtime to make the World Cup quarter-nals for thet time in their history and to ensure that an African team wouldure in the last eight games of the competition. The World Cupws that a small, underdeveloped country can defeat a huge, de-
oped country, and that aman fromapoor country or a desperatelypeless village can contribute extraordinarily to the promotion ofman welfare by playing soccer.
hen we watch the North Korean team, we can be fans in spite ofdictatorship of the country. I had thought that I knew the Unitedtes fairly well. But I have to confess that I had a misconceptiont American people had no interest in soccer. There is an island 10off of Cape Town on the tip of Africa named Robben Island. One
the prisoners was Nelson Mandela, who served 18 of 27 years inthere. Under repressive regimes and a lot of struggle, the prison-got a chance to play soccer once a week in prison. This was reallyatter of dignity, and they set up a league run with sophisticatedulations. Soccer has long been a political statement in Africa.eurosurgery is never a game to win, of course. But similar to
cer, we have different histories, different cultures, different eco-mics, different political situations, etc., in different nations. Wenot have a World Cup because our specialty is not a matter ofpetition. We have the World Federation of Neurosurgical Soci-
s, and we haveWORLDNEUROSURGERY. The World Cup for theraordinarily simple sport of soccer gives us a lot of hints for theure of our discipline.
The World Cup and WORLD NEUROSURGERY