2 brothers, 2 teams, 2 contrasting World Cup experiences

2 brothers, 2 teams, 2 contrasting World Cup experiences
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DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Joy for the Williams family from Spain on Wednesday during the World Cup. Then despair for the same Williams family, also Ghanaian, on Thursday.

Williams brothers Iñaki and Nico managed to mark both sides of the family legacy in remarkable fashion at this World Cup in Qatar playing for two different countries. They were both born in Spain but their parents are from Ghana.

Nico was part of the young Spanish side that beat Costa Rica 7-0 on Wednesday in the tournament’s most convincing performance to date. He came on as a second-half substitute to make his World Cup debut in Spain’s record win at the tournament.

A day later, big brother Iñaki played in his first World Cup game for Ghana, a 3-2 loss to Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.

It meant a complicated 24 hours at the family home in Spain with celebrations for Nico, 20, no doubt quickly followed by commiserations for Iñaki, 28. The same goes for the two brothers, who, according to Ghana coach Otto Addo, both feel as Spanish as they are Ghanaian.

“I know they both have a good, strong relationship with their mother and their homeland,” Addo said.

Due to his love for his parents’ country, Iñaki’s integration into the Ghana team was very easy, Addo added, even though he was born in Bilbao and grew up in the Basque region.

Iñaki, a striker like Nico, played the entire match for Ghana against Portugal and stood in the center circle of Doha’s 974 Stadium at the end with his hands on his head and looking bitterly disappointed at the loss. .

“Maybe for some it’s hard to understand, but I think it’s really possible to have two countries in your heart,” Addo said of Iñaki. “And he surely has Ghana in his heart from day one. But also Spain.

The story behind this situation involves their parents’ decision to leave Ghana almost 30 years ago to find a better life in Europe.

Never could Felix and Maria Williams have thought they would end up with two sons playing at the World Cup when they walked barefoot through parts of a desert and scaled a fence to enter Spain in the early 1990s Maria was pregnant with Iñaki at the time.

They settled in Bilbao and both boys grew up to be footballers. They still play club football together for local side Athletic Bilbao.

The brothers’ careers have always been linked, even after Iñaki decided this year to switch allegiance to Ghana and return to his roots. The fact that they were playing for two different countries within 24 hours was not the first time this had happened.

Iñaki made his debut for Ghana on September 23 this year against Brazil. Nico made his first appearance for Spain against Switzerland a day later.


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