Bulletins From BA #33
10 julio 2014
¡Hola! there… Rodger French here.
World Cup Report #6 - The Final
As I watched the Germans unimaginably annihilate Brazil 7-1 in the Semi-Finals, I felt a profound sense of sadness. It is a fact that A Seleção helped bring this catastrophe upon themselves as a result of their Phyrric win over Colombia. But no team, no nation, deserves this level of humiliation, not in the World Cup. When it comes to fútbol, I have neither particular regard for nor animus toward Brazil, and I did pick Die Mannschaft to win. But this was astonishingly painful.
[Sidebar - The tragedy is so epic that this particular match has been given its own moniker: “Mineiraço,” from the name of the stadium where it took place, the Mineirão. It translates, más o menos, as “The bad thing from Mineirão.” In Brazil, Mineiraço has seemingly precipitated a national crisis, the repercussions of which could be of actual consequence.]
When the beat down was complete, I heard scattered cheering on the street below our Buenos Aires apartment. Understandable, since Brazil is Argentina’s historically despised South American fútbol rival. But such schadenfreude is seriously shortsighted. (Sorry.) Brazil was always going to be vulnerable in this World Cup and, in my opinion, no one in their right mind would rather play against an awesome German team in the Final.
Yet another night of high drama. After 120+ scoreless minutes in which two comparably talented teams played strong defense and elected to spend a significant quantity of their time on offense chewing up the middle of the field (with an occasional flurry of activity somewhere in the vicinity of a net), it all came down to penalty kicks. Now, I loathe the whole idea of penalty kicks being the final determinant at this stage of competition, but them’s the rules. So, Argentina prevailed over The Netherlands and is headed to their first Final in 24 years.
Naturally, the whole country is going bonkers, with noisy celebrations in the streets. (Some of us even have vuvuzelas.) And Buenos Aires is currently the best city in which to live in the whole wide world. At least until Sunday.
Preference: ¿Tienes que preguntar? ¡Viva Argentina!
Prediction: We had the good fortune to live in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup and when it concluded, I predicted that Germany would win in 2014. Really. It will be difficult, though not impossible, for La Albiceleste to win this thing, but they have to play to their utmost if they are to stand a chance. If, however, the Germans are anything like as sharp against Argentina as they were against Brazil, they should hoist the Cup for the 4th time.
2014 World Cup Champion: Germany
But I could be wrong, and that would be just dandy.
[Sidebar - Brazil will take on The Netherlands in the Consolation Match and I hope they win. This is a decent shot at a measure of redemption and an opportunity to salvage something from the wreckage of Mineiraço.]