The Last Time We Met Was in Cape Town. You Wore Blue, the Germans Wore Black
On Sunday Mr. PaddyDog and friends went to the Cubs game. This usually means they are absent for about 12 hours since there is a succession of old drinking holes that simply must be visited pilgrimage-style whenever they get together. For me this means unfettered time in front of the TV to watch trash. So I nestled into the sofa to catch up on RuPaul's "Drag Race." And that's when I realized I no longer have any need for manufactured drama. After four quarter-final matches that could have been used as plot devices in a day time soap, I defy anyone ever again to say this sport is boring.
A brief recap for those of who for some inexplicable reason had something else to do last week: The Dutch eliminated Brazil and did so without any room for doubt. Uruguay and Ghana go to extra time. Ghana's certain goal in the last seconds is handballed out by Suarez and Ghana misses the resulting penalty. Then it goes to PKs and there are misses and saves and Uruguay go through in a finish worthy of a "Roy of the Rovers" strip. Even my mother-in-law who couldn't tell a football from a hockey stick was glued to the screen. Then it's the Germans' turn to decimate or should that be undecimate? (I thought I'd throw that in for the Latin scholars among you to discuss) Maradona's boys. Funny how the same commentators who before the game were lauding the strategy of pressing for goals without much defense were suddenly trashing Argentina for having the weakest defense of the tournament. Also I have to note how bored I am with the clichéd discussion of the German team. Please commentators, come up with something other than "efficient" and "well-engineered" to describe their play. Martin Tyler even went so far on Saturday as to say "It's all going according to plan. They surround and then pick off the enemy one by one." Finally: Spain v. Paraguay. There's been a lot of referee-generated confusion but this one really amazed me. He makes a team replay a penalty instead of playing advantage when he didn't make the other team replay a penalty that was missed at the other end even though the exact same infraction occurred?
This World Cup has generated so many questions. When was the "John 3:16" banner, ubiquitous in previous years, replaced by the "Free Gaza" banners? I admit before my brain kicked in and noticed the spelling I wondered if Paul Gascoigne had another run-in with the law. Why do people who were weeping inconsolably two seconds before leap with joy when the stadium camera pans onto them? If my team were down four-nil, it would take a lot more than 10 seconds on camera to make it all better. And top of my list is: Why does Figgy hate Mexico? Please tell us (and I have first dibs on the telenovella rights).
By the way, ESPN is currently running a great documentary on the murder of Andres Escobar following his own goal in the 1994 tournament. It traces the history of drug cartel money propping up the domestic Colombian league, the role of Pablo Escobar (no relation to Andres) and how this eventually ended up in their finest player being gunned down in his car in Medellin because of a stupid mistake on the field.