Bulletins From BA #28
17 junio 2014
¡Hola! there… Rodger French here.
World Cup Report #1
La Copa Mundial de 2014 (2014 World Cup) is well and truly underway in Brazil, and Buenos Aires is in the grip of some profound fútbol fever. Having lived in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup, I find myself once again giving over to it with great enthusiasm.
Which is not to say that I am any kind of expert about the game itself. In fact, it barely turns up on my sports radar in between these quadrennial outbursts. Naturally, this in no way precludes my having very strong opinions about the whole extravaganza; opinions I am willing, nay, obligated to share. With you.
FIFA – The international governing body of fútbol is an enterprise of operatic proportions; answerable to no one, subject to no laws but its own, and corrupt to the core. It is an organization seriously in need of a few RICO indictments.
Patriotism - Not so much. Nothing against the USA side; they’re good and might actually survive Group G (“El Grupo de la Muerte”). I’m just not all fired up about them, that’s all.
Best Outcome - Argentina wins, preferably beating Brazil in the final match. Oh, por favor. This place would go berserk.
Likely Outcome - Four years ago, I fearlessly predicted that Germany would win the 2014 World Cup. I stand by that.
Favorite Player - Argentine forward Lionel Messi is easily the most popular person in Argentina, with the Pope running a distant second. Messi is brilliant, his footwork is impeccable, and he does not reenact the death scene from “Camille” every time he’s touched. Plus, he looks like the guy who makes pizzas at the corner café.
Favorite Team - Ghana. The Black Stars should have made the semi-finals in 2010, but were robbed through a combination of flagrant cheating and bullshit rules. Also, it would be nice to have a World Cup Champion from somewhere besides Europe or South America, but, I don’t see that happening this year.
Sworn Enemy - One of the great things about the World Cup is that it allows one to harbor and nurture grudges for four whole years. Mine happens to be against Uruguay; specifically, forward Luis Suárez. Suárez is a world-class player and (arguably) racist drama queen. It was his totally intentional hand block that resulted in Ghana losing in 2010 and, thus, I hate him to the bottom of my socks. I don’t just want him (and Uruguay) to lose: I want them defeated and humiliated. I make no apologies.
Happy Consequences - I remarked on this is a one of my “Postings From Pretoria,” but it bears repeating. The World Cup inspires no end of informal chats among Embassy employees. Everyone is engaged and conversant and it all makes for a very cool working environment.
More later. It’s game time.