The International Writers Magazine: World Cup
It's Nearly All Over
I’ll feel relieved when the current tournament ends. My sensibilities have been bleached white and tattered by the ongoing theater of human emotions, rather like The Tales of Brave Ulysses, who was left battered and disoriented by the perfidious winds of fate.
All of my top teams have been relegated to the rubbish bin: the U.S., but not before having received the unkindest cut from the mad referee Koman Coulibaly, a paid agent of Obama Bin Laden if there ever was one, to be sure, who robbed the U.S. of its only victory and was subsequently jettisoned by FIFA, which was alarmed by the prospect of having its internal determinations exposed to the light of day, where they could very possibly be unfavorably compared to the Vatican machinations recounted in “The DaVinci Code”.
Of course, in the recounting of historic debacles nobody surpasses the French, who have imploded to such an extent that alarmist bells are already ringing in the Chamber of Deputies, that country’s legislative body, heralding the imminent demise of French society. These kinds of pyrotechnics have occurred before, notably at the 1912 premier of the Ballet Russe’s “Après-midi d’un Faun”, where the dancer Nijinski was perceived to have had carnal knowledge of a scarf; not to mention the Dreyfus affair, which paralyzed French society for years before being exposed as a hoax. The distinction between culture and politics in France is very fine indeed, and that is why the meltdown was witnessed at first hand by their minister for sport, Roselyne Bachelot.
Considering FIFA’s lamentable performance in adjudicating fouls, they are bound to be blamed for calls that they get right as well. This was the case when Uruguay’s goaltender was lured out of the net with seconds left in the second overtime period of their match against Ghana and striker Luis Suarez stopped a Ghanian header using his hand. Suarez was awarded a red card and Ghanian striker Asamoah Gijan got a penalty kick, which he flubbed, throwing the game into its penalty kick phase, which was won by Uruguay.
All of the above was totally conformant with the rules of football, but that didn’t stop the entire African continent from being thrown into frenzy. Tough, but why didn’t they howl when their homeboy, Coulibaly, stole the game from the U.S. team? No honor among thieves, I am tempted to opine.
This Suarez strategy of field players backing up the goalkeeper with their hands and deferring the goal to a penalty kick could very well become a new phase in the evolution of the game, as coaches ponder what such a strategy could avail to their sides. If FIFA decides to change the rules to allow an automatic goal in such instances, that would render the point moot. But FIFA never moves with such alacrity, and, who knows, they might decide that to continue the present policy would render the entertainment more interesting, with the added benefit of not having to institute controversial new changes, in which case this evolution of goalkeeping strategy could be the beginning of a whole new game of football, with two or three fielders crowding the net, backing up the goal tender. Admittedly, I am only daydreaming.
|But the hits just keep on coming. The mother of all upsets just occurred by Germany’s definitive 4-0 stomping of Argentina, after which Argentine coach Diego Maradona addressed a few choice remarks to the pro-German crowd in language only a French striker could love.
He was possibly perturbed by the seizure by Colombian customs authorities of an exact replica of the World Cup trophy composed entirely of cocaine, which was intercepted in transit to Spain. Who could have been the final destination of such a distinguished trophy? Only his drug dealer knows for sure.
I don’t mind admitting that, much as I love to see a masterful team impose its domination on the field of play, it was extremely unsettling to see it coming from Germany, and dressed all in SS black to boot. All of a sudden, Deutschland t-shirts started popping up all over the Upper East Side of New York, as though these fans had lovingly kept them sequestered in hope chests, like expectant brides. This stockpiling of German uniforms leads me to believe that we are at the dawn of a new age of revanchist German obnoxiousness, a resurgent Fourth Reich of tedious, tin-pot Aryans emerging from the woodwork, particularly if Germany deconstructs Spain in the semi-finals, as I anticipate.
Basically, it’s a harrowing prospect to contemplate neighboring states confronting each other for the title. Better for psychic tranquility to see rivals separated by thousands of kilometers compete than two adjacent countries that harbor historical grudges dating back to time immemorial.
The ancient Mayans of Pre-Colombian Central America used to engage in a sport closely related to football, with the losing team having their chests cut open by priests and their still-beating hearts thrust into an adjacent cenote pond to the accompaniment of drums, horns, incense and priestly incantations. Think what the producers could have done if they had had access to 3-D television and instant replay! Maybe such a spectacle would have the cathartic effect of lending a permanence to the victory, a later grudge match being highly unlikely. Additionally, if that show were to be brought back today, it would undoubtedly generate enormous advertising revenues for FIFA.
© Dean Borok July 5th 2010