30 June 2008

A Counterblast To Agnosticism

To those who would have us believe that 'pretty football' and 'winning football' are mutually exclusive; who believe that the primary aim of the game is to keep a clean sheet; who are happy to have teams rake in millions from a captive market while telling us "we're in the results business"; who mistrust beauty; who would praise Chelsea; who are called 'Sam Allardyce'*; who would happily see the entire population of the world enslaved as the bitches of an alien race of eight-foot, 30-stone-of-pure-muscle, endless-diagonal-balls-to-the-head-of-the-big-fella-up-front super-bastards; who would inculcate us all with their particular brand of bitter, witless self-hatred given half a chance; who probably secretly fancy Margaret Thatcher...

...to those I say: MWAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH!!!

To recklessly exaggerate for a moment, this has been as close to a perfect tournament as we're likely to see: positive and often spectacularly football, heart-abusing drama, a lack of cynicism (in terms of both style and discipline**) and an honest-to-god football team triumphing. All that was missing was a hilarious snatching of defeat from the jaws of victory by England and a heroic 1-1 draw by Ireland.

It's almost too good to be true. Spain's midfield yesterday comprised Senna, Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and Silva, while Xabi Alonso came on as a substitute. How cool is that? (World-class analysis, there.) Something to consider: this is still a young team: the bulk of it will still be there in two years' time. I'm praying for a Spain-Argentina final in Johannesburg.

On which note, and without wishing to hastily jump to grand conclusions based on scant evidence, I nevertheless hastily conclude based on these 31 games that a loving God does indeed exist. Sure, He sets a mean test of faith, what with the last Euros, Mourinho, Abramovich, the Eduardo injury, Cyprus 5-2 Ireland, etc., et-bloody-c., but it's almost been worth it all for these last three weeks. I say almost because I'll only be fully convinced when I see Arsenal winning the Premier League again - and what the hell, the Champions League while we're at it. I mean, that's what He does, right - portents? And what else could this tournament, with its beautiful attacking football and the right team winning, possibly mean?....

No, no - now's not the time for such parochialism. Let's just wallow awhile in this, no less than the triumph of Good against Evil. Not that I take football too seriously or anything.

Photo by Hell's Donut House

*I've had a go at Allardyce before, and I will again. It may seem to you like I'm picking on him. You'd be right. There's a special circle of football hell reserved for him and his ilk.

**Wonderful stat: there were fewer red cards in the whole of Euro 2008 than in the Holland-Portugal game in the 2006 World Cup.


fredorrarci 1/7/08 12:22 PM  

A note of explanation: this was written a couple of hours after the final but I wasn't able to post it until last night. I wondered to post it at all given that it's a bit...hmmm, shall we say over the top? But I decided to leave because (a) I was too lazy to change it and (b) I like the first two paragraphs and the title, pilfered though the latter is.

Richard Whittall 2/7/08 12:31 AM  

When's the last time any of us have taken off on a flight of fancy on account of a football tournament? Let's leave the navel-gazing cynicism for mid-July, just in time for the leaves to change colour.

Richard Whittall 2/7/08 12:32 AM  

That should read mid August, and even then it's not even remotely correct. But still...

Steve 3/7/08 3:15 PM  

The new reign in Spain
Is truly germane
Since their usual bane
Was "Big game, big pain."

But this time 'twas plain
There'd be no disdain:
For we saw, in the main,
Krauts playing in vain.

That was one heckuva tournament. I've enjoyed reading your impressions each step of the way, Fredorrarci. Do you think if we keep cheering they'll come out for an encore?

Anonymous,  3/7/08 3:38 PM  

This post is so lovely that, were I the Goddess of Football, I would grant your wish and make Arsenal the champions of England and Europe in 2009.

Since I'm merely mortal, you'll have to enjoy your Euro-euphoria while it lasts.

fredorrarci 3/7/08 9:38 PM  

Thank you. You must be easily pleased, but thank you.

Now that no-one is thinking of the Euros anymore I think I'm safe in whispering this: Torres fouled Lahm before the goal by pulling him back by the arm.

SSSSSHHH! Don't tell anyone!

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