No country is perfect, but then again, not every country has a head coach who can call a black player 'black shit' and get away with it - even receive not-so-thinly-veiled approval for it. Spain is that country, with their leading man being Aragones.
We told you about Aragones, here. Though we'd like to believe this game of France vs. Spain was a match of good vs. evil, modernity vs. barbarity, multiculturalism vs. racism - it was more just a good soccer match. There were racial overtones, of course, with most/all of the Spanish players being white-ish, and most of the French players being black, but if anything it turned into a moral lesson for all who watched - what goes around comes around.
About midway through the first half, a French defender made contact with a Spanish offensive player in the French penalty area - the Spaniard dove to the ground, as could be expected of any national team without honor. The Spaniards scored the penalty and probably felt confident. The French managed to equalize on a brilliant goal before half, and the stage was set for the moral lesson to play out for all of us in the second half.
The picture is of the racist Spanish coach, Aragones, as he argues with the referee - possibly about a call where Henry did a little playacting to get a call of his own - late in the game, and not in the penalty area. He may have been fouled, as the Spanish player may have been fouled, but what is certain is that he did some playacting, as did his Spanish predecessor. Henry decided to show the Spaniards that 'what comes around goes around'. France were awarded a free kick about 35 yards out, which Zidane took, and within a few more touches was in the back of the Spanish net.
We like to think that Aragones' racism and the Spanish players', fans', and federation's seeming approval of that racism is what offered the French some karma with which to work.
The moral of the story? If you want to reach the World Cup quarterfinals and not exit the tournament early to face violence in the streets from fellow racists, don't be a racist in the first place.
This World Cup thus far has been a disaster for Team USA and for decency and honor and the game of soccer, in general, but this result was the right one. All is now well in the world. Good thing the referee wasn't black, else we could have *really* had fireworks from the racist Spaniards.
UPDATE: ESPN exposé on Euro racism, including Aragones:
UPDATE: Racists taunted French before match.