June 28: The Gods of Football wanted to play
Today we spent the day driving from Durban to Johannesburg and it was not the most pleasant trip. To begin, both Christina and I were feeling stomach sick – not at all comfy when you have to be in a car for 7 hours. Thus, a lot of stops became very necessary. When we were finally only 30 minutes from Johannesburg, the car died. Reason? It turns out, for a car to keep going, gasoline is needed. And we completely lost track of how full the tanks was.
There we were, two young ladies stopped in the middle of the highway with no gas, trying to stop any driving soul to help us out. And so he came: the 60-something guy – Lou – in the white SUV, as if driving from heaven, came to the rescue, took us to the nearest gas station (where we got a 5-liter gallon) and drove us back to the car. And then we also realized what Vuvuzelas are made for: gas funnels! Really super awesome funnels!
I want to thank Lou once again – amazing how when in need some people come to the rescue.
Now on to football.
I want to take a moment to state that sometimes the Gods of Football (read: FIFA) do not want some teams to win. Refereeing today was bad, disgusting and really not worthy of a World Cup. These are crucial games and silly mistakes should not be allowed. Both England’s second goal (everyone saw the ball go in) and Argentina’s first goal (Tevez clearly offside) should not be happening at this level.
Germany 4 – 1 England
Germany was clearly superior. But we will forever speculate on what could have happened if England had kept momentum. The referee’s mistake – not giving England the equalizer when Lampard’s ball clearly went in – killed it. But credit to the Germans. England has created a lot of build up for the World Cup and did not deliver. Rooney was isolated, and a team cannot function based on two players to do everything (Lampard & Gerrard). In the words of a young English man: “it’s the complete disequilibrium within the team that makes our best players redundant. Playing Gerrard on the left is an abomination. Playing Upson anywhere is a farce. We’d be better off with a herd of sheep guarding the goal than any of our goalkeepers: a better goalkeeper would have kept out Germany’s 2nd and 3rd. I thought Capello was a top manager. He was the reason I was genuinely confident going in to the World Cup. He was hopeless. Putting Emile Heskey on the pitch with 15 minutes to go needing 3 goals is akin to the US Marines putting Tin Tin on the front lines in a last ditch effort to catch Osama Bin Laden. And taking off Defoe for the purpose only adds to the absurdity of the decision.”
Argentina 3 – 1 Mexico
Argentina is, unfortunately, on fire. Maradona’s boys are a super strong offensive force and Mexico could not hold them back. Tevez was superb and Messi, as always, played amazing football. On a side note, as Argentina face stronger teams (like Mexico and now Germany) their defensive system becomes a problem: it is weak, full of gaps and it will take a more mature team, like Germany, to fire off some goals into the Argentine nets. Watch and you’ll see.