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Monday, July 10, 2006

Playing Footise

I got an email on Friday. The subject line said “Watching the footy?”

I replied that I was intending to go down to Scopa on Cuba St for both the 3rd place game and the final. The email returned with the subject line changed: footy = rugby.

Isn’t amazing how your vocabulary, forged over many years, can be changed over a single month? Football might not be such a misnomer for rugby anymore. The recent style of play by the All Blacks includes kicking more often than they used to, even two years ago, often to the dismay of the supporters.

So we went around to Che’s for the rugby, but I’ll talk about that later. First the socc…just kidding, football.

I made good on my intent and went to the Italian café Scopa for the Germany/Portugal game on Sunday morning. All was well (coffee and food both excellent) and the place even had a few Germans in it (including a cute-without-being-annoying 3yr old one). Somehow Scopa attracts Europeans; the place was full of French and Spaniards during that game. But it wouldn’t be football with hooligans.

About half way through the first period a group of three guys came in. All very drunk, two of them talking loudly in basic French. They sat next to us and one of the “Frenchmen” shook my hand to say hello. They were fairly loud and a little annoying as they kept cheering the French (who weren’t playing) using the same phrases over and over (France will win the World Cup, Vive le France, Vive les François etc etc), which made me believe they weren’t actually French themselves.

However, the only kiwi in the group was getting angrier and angrier and swearing a lot, which in a small place at 7am is very out of place. Then the threats began. The kiwi guy started spouting about how the other guy “wasn’t respecting him” and how “outside this restaurant you said you were going to kill me” and then, “I will f***ing paralyse you, you f***ing c***!” At this point the guy from Scopa stepped in and ushered them out, to be honest it came about 30mins too late.

It was one of those weird situations where it wasn’t my place so I couldn’t ask them to leave myself and I felt weird (and slightly threatened) to ask them to keep quiet.

The kiwi guy and the quiet one left and the other guy, who was actually just jovial and not threatening, sat quietly for a while before slipping out.

It was quite a contrast to the game which was full of stunning football and some marvellous acting.

I like Portugal. They were very nice to us when we went over in 2000 (that was the year Figo lost World Player of the Year to Zidane which was broadcast live around the country while we were there). But the way they were playing was terrible. They play a style similar to Italy and Argentina which, it has to be said, involves a LOT of diving!

Christiano Ronaldo is a brilliant player but his dives were as amazing as a Hong Kong kung-fu film. It didn’t help his cause any that (again) whenever he had the ball the stadium was filled with boos.

This game however belonged to the Germans. Their goals were superb and their play was exciting. The Portuguese’s only goal was pretty bloody good too. But Germany is the third best team in 2006, winning 3-1. PS. for some amazing football videos may I suggest Nike Football.

I would have returned to Scopa today to watch the final; however, there were circumstances beyond my control. Someone had to go to Sydney for business and couldn’t edit a certain podcast, so I had to do it. Which I didn’t mind, but it meant I had to stay up until late and couldn’t be bothered getting up at 4am to get into town by 5am to get a seat.

So I watched it under a blanket on the couch at home. Ate home-made scrambled eggs and drank Karajoz coffee (thanks to the recent Great Blend). I missed the first 10mins of the match as I was trying to upload the previously mentioned podcast (rightclick, save target as...) and then I had to wake up Amy at 6.20am. These small times away from the TV meant I managed to miss the only two goals scored in the match.

The Italians ruled the first half, the French controlled the second. Italy were lucky not to concede another penalty when Maloude went down in the box (tee hee) but that just made up for the one he did get that was clearly not a foul. Then, when the French were on a roll, Zinedine Zidane head butted Marco Materazzi in the chest and was sent off.

[UPDATE: The King of Hate stopped by and mentioned that he had photos and a video of the incident on his blog. Cheers]

We may never know why he did it, but Materazzi must have said something pretty bad to piss off Zizou that badly. But here is the real question: did Zidane’s red card actually affect the outcome of the game?

I do not believe that it did. After he left the pitch the French were still attacking and indeed almost scored on one occasion. The game came down to a penalty shootout (as you probably all know) and Trezeguet missed his shot giving Italy the win.

Trezeguet was brought on to replace Henry (who was limping) well before Zidane was sent off. Who knows what impact Zidane would have made in those last few minutes but he sure as heck wouldn’t be taking the kick for Trezeguet and so France still would’ve lost the penalty shootout and Italy would still be world champs.

As a side note: France and England are the only teams to have won the World Cup only once. All other winners of the cup have won it at least twice.

Away from Football now and on to the real man’s game: Footy. So manly is rugby that you can just piss right on to the field.

A lot is being made of what Jerry Collins did (urinate on the field before the start of the game if you didn’t know already), but not much is being made of WHERE he did it. Like where did he do it?! If I was a player I would hope he went to the sideline because no body wants to be at the bottom of a ruck right where Jerry relieved himself. Also he clearly didn’t wash his hands.

Bathroom stops are a funny area for professional athletes. Paula Radcliffe stopped for a quick emergency toilet break on her way to winning the London Marathon and really if you have to go in the middle of an event, where do you go? There was great article on this subject in the NFL a year or so ago. It contained the memorable line “it’s hard enough to tackle a 200lb running back, it’s even harder when he is wearing urine soaked trousers.”


To go one step further, Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck has a great story about a game he played in which his Centre (the guy who snaps the ball to the QB) had severe intestinal trouble. Basically the guy filled his trousers just as Matt walked up to stand behind him. With no time available, Matt just called the play and threw the ball away as fast as he could. The Centre waddled off.

1 comment:

Hater said...

Zidane is a genius and an innovator. I mean, who else could come up with such a powerful headbutt at such a crucial point in a crucial game?

I have the video on my page. A thing of beauty!