01 July, 2006


Well, we are. Gutted. England were defeated today by Portugal in a PSO, the dreaded "penalty shoot-out," which means that after you've played the whole game and you're tied, in this case "nil/nil", the outcome is stripped to just this: a kicker, and a goalkeeper. The other players all stand in a symbolic row, arms around waists, for both teams, while the kicker kicks into the goal. Each team gets five tries, and if one gets to three ahead of the other, it's over.

But the real drama was with these two pictured above. For one thing, David Beckham is the heart and soul of the team. An hour or so into play he was kicked, or wrenched his shin, or something, and after continuing to try to play for a few minutes, gave up and was invalided out. It was announced later that he tore his Achille's tendon. Enough said. UNTIL the arguably most important actual footballer, Wayne Rooney, got into a tussle over the ball with two Portugal players and after completely stomping one in the groin, then went on to shove away a Portugal player who came to "help" with the referee's decision. Result, RED CARD. It's almost comical, the so-called "booking" process of penalization. The referee actually produces a colored card (beginning with yellow and progressing to red for a double offense) from his pocket and waves it in the air. But in this case, as when a small boy on a playground moves straight from "dare ya" to "triple dog dare ya" without the crucial "double dog dare ya" in between, the referee skipped right from neutral to red card, with no yellow card warning in between. So as punishment for a childish temper fit, Rooney was off and England were reduced to 10 men, minus as well their captain.

They were valiant, however, and until the loss at the penalty shootout played better than they had all the World Cup long. End of story. There are people crying in the streets. And let me tell you: I kindly let John off picking up Avery at Anna's, in the penultimate moments of the game, and got in a taxi myself, the radio in the cabby's spot blaring loudly. Aside from the occasional random Russian or American tourist, there was NO ONE on the streets. I have to wonder what will happen to all the pent-up energy in the pubs, not to mention in the little German town where the match took place. English fans are notoriously difficult, even in triumph. Who knows what will happen in defeat.

So there you go. Quite heart-wrenching. What will pencil-thin Victoria come up with to say to her man, when he limps off the pitch? What will the new queen of the WAGS ("Wives and Girlfriends" of the footballers, to the uninitiated), Coleen McLaughlin say to her best guy Wayne Rooney about his temper fit, possibly leading to the loss of the match? Much better to be us, who can shed a tear and then move straight on to the compelling battle at... WIMBLEDON! Right now it's Murray against Roddick. John and I are going on Wednesday, so I'll be sure to have a great court-side report for you then.

1 comment:

Library Lover said...

Fact police: Picture out of date!!!!!
Beckham has hair now!!!! Plus, the penalty shootout has 5 tries a side and if they both have 3 after 5, they keep kicking until someone misses.