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.

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