DOHA, Qatar (AP) – Joy for the Williams family of Spain on Wednesday at the World Cup. Then disappointed the same Williams family, who is also from Ghana, on Thursday.
Williams’ brothers Iñaki and Nico managed to live up to both sides of their family heritage in a remarkable way at the World Cup in Qatar by playing for two different countries. They were both born in Spain but their parents are from Ghana.
Nico was part of the Spain team that beat Costa Rica 7-0 on Wednesday in the tournament’s best performance so far. 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 his first World Cup match for Ghana, losing 3-2 to Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.
That means a difficult 24 hours in the family back home in Spain with a celebration for the 20-year-old Nico no doubt quickly followed by a commitment to the 28-year-old – old Iñaki. Same for the two brothers, who Ghana’s coach Otto Addo said both thought Spanish when they were Ghanaian.
“I know that they both have a good relationship with their mother and their father,” Addo said.
Because of 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 in the Basque region.
Iñaki, a forward like Nico, played the whole game for Ghana against Portugal and stood in the middle circle at the end of the game looking bitterly disappointed with the loss.
“Maybe for some it is difficult to understand but I think it is possible to have two countries in your heart,” Addo said of Iñaki. “And indeed he had Ghana in his heart from day one. But also Spain. ”
The story behind this event is inspiring, and it involves their parents’ decision to leave Ghana nearly 30 years ago to seek a better life in Europe.
Felix and Maria Williams could not have thought that they would end up with two sons playing at the World Cup when they traveled through the desert and climbed the fence to Spain in the early 1990s. Maria was pregnant with Iñaki at the time.
They live in Bilbao and both boys grow up to be footballers. They still play soccer together for the hometown team Athletic Bilbao.
The work of the brothers has always been connected, even after Iñaki decided this year to change allegiance to Ghana and return to his roots. They played for two different countries in the space of 24 hours is, ironically, not the first time it has happened.
Iñaki made his debut for Ghana on September 23 this year against Brazil, having this first time. Nico made his debut for Spain against Switzerland a day later.
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