Sunday, July 11, 2010

true heroes of the pitch

My two longtime favorite players.  Whether it's at Barca or for Spain... they are true heroes of the pitch.  After their performances in this World Cup, I don't think they'll have to pay for another meal or drink for the rest of their lives.

These goofy photos are FC Barcelona postcards that I purchased in Barcelona in 2008.  I carry them with me at all times.  Is there something wrong with that?  Why are you looking at me so funny?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


I'll post my own idiosyncratic thoughts about the Spain v Germany match tomorrow... until then you can read Jonathan Wilson's excellent and cohesive article about the match instead.  He's spot on.  Also, German coach Joachim Low was a total gentleman after the match with his comments.  Not always the easiest thing to be.  As usual, Germany were good, difficult opponents. 

I'm more relaxed now than I was a few hours ago, but my brain is still squiggly.  But I'm happy.  Very, very happy. 

Saturday, July 03, 2010

may his pernicious soul rot half a grain a day! he lies to the heart...

I have no idea why I got in the car with him.
She promised me that she'd use the $20 for food.
If you had seen his eyes when he asked me... would you have called him a liar?
She seemed so sincere.  I really did think she had changed.
He said someone must have stolen it when he wasn't looking.
Why the hell did I sleep with her again?  After everything she's done to me!
I believed her.   I believed him.
I hate you.

I can't believe what a fool I was to have trusted Diego Maradona.  There's no question regarding the brilliance of Maradona the player.  But the coach?  I had suspicions from the start.  In fact, I thought he was a terrible choice.  I wasn't alone.  Numerous Argentinians, and admirers of the team from around the world, voiced similar outrage over his role as head of the national squad.  How could this crazy artist of the pitch, this holy fool of the beautiful game, command a team into the most prestigious of all football arenas... the World Cup?  Well, obviously he can't.  We know this now after Argentina's severe beat-down by Germany.  We know this now, because some of us still can't get the images of the assault out of our heads.  I know this now because I trusted this man to lead the charge when I knew deep down, even at the beginning of the tournament, that Argentina's road to glory was folly.

Thankfully, this incident doesn't hurt like the 2006 loss to Germany in the quarterfinals did.  Not sure why.  Maybe it was because Argentina didn't even score in this one.  If we had put up a real fight, if Messi had actually connected with the net, it would perhaps be a different story.  But punches still bruise and I feel achy all over.

Over the last few weeks, Maradona had convinced me that maybe this team really did have it in them to go all the way.  Like I said, I initially wrote them off.  Argentina, because of the way they approach the game, are dear to my heart.  But so is Spain and I've been praying for a realistic Spanish run for the cup since 2008 when pretty much the same squad won the European Championship, a treasured moment in my football-watching life.  Beautiful football won the day, style and short tidy passing conquered Blitzkrieg strength and power, and there was free money and booze for everyone!  Ah, yes, it was wonderful.

Argentina couldn't figure out how to diffuse the German onslaught.  I hope Spain can remember how they did it to them in the Euro final.  It's not impossible, as Serbia reminded us all when they clipped Germany's passing game.  But Serbia was all about defense... and Spain don't truck with that anti-football bullshit.  So... we'll see in a few days.

In the meantime... I'm going to keep my hate on for Maradona.  Pendejo!

Friday, July 02, 2010

i see the devil gloating as arjen robben writhes on his deathbed in an agony of remorse for a life of crime and cowardice on the football pitch

Arjen Robben is one of those humans who make me hope there is indeed a Hell. If there is, he will burn relentlessly and eternally in that deep and terrible circle reserved for diving crybabies. He is the poster-child for those loathesome, cynical footballers (many of whom, not coincidentally, have been too long associated with Jose Mourinho) who would rather win not through hard work, CERTAINLY not through beautiful play (such a man scoffs at the idea), but through manipulative power-plays and orchestrated hysterics aimed at convincing referees to do the bulk of his work for him. Which, too often, they do.

All the hype about Holland, all these years... Maybe they were beautiful once. There is no beauty now. Although you do have to love Sneijder's first goal, that long ball from nowhere that curled into the top corner. Even I enjoyed that. The rest of the Orangeness... Well, they can go to Hell.

So, next, Uruguay. (Alright, I'm jumping ahead here a little. It's possible Ghana may provide Forlan with his inevitable martyrdom, but I hope not, since Ghana v Holland is not a match I want to watch.) I am interested, in an oddly detached sort of way, since there will be little beauty involved on either side, to see what the crusading Saint Forlan can devise for these fellows.

Brazil was never my favorite team, but they've seduced me some in this tournament with their confidence and flash. I fell in love with Luis Fabiano, mostly for that extraordinary, double-handball goal against the Ivory Coast. It looked like such a gorgeous move until you watched the replays and saw the sleight-of-hand. Still, one marvels at the art of it, since even the defenders around him seem to have missed its illicit aspect. Does it seem like hypocrisy, loving Brazil for a gorgeous cheat and hating Holland for ugly cheating? Well, call it that, then. It's the aesthetic that makes the difference. Beautiful football is beautiful football; there's an art to it, even when you're exploring its shadier sides. Brazil has always known this, as has that epitome of lovable cheats, Diego Maradona. If it makes you laugh, if you can marvel at it, take a moment home with you and examine it joyfully under the light, then that was a moment of great football, and Fabiano's goal provided one such. Arjen Robben I think has never in his life done a thing of beauty. I suspect he would not know beauty if it bit him in the ass.

He would, however, writhe around howling on the grass until some referee, beaten down and exhausted by Robben's tireless chicanery, gave Beauty a red-card.