MatchDay Memory–Technical Difficulty

Spain's goalkeeper Iker Casillas (C) raises the trophy handed to him by FIFA President Sepp Blatter (4thR) and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma (3rdR) as Spain's national football team players celebrate winning the 2010 World Cup football final Netherlands vs. Spain on July 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. NO PUSH TO MOBILE / MOBILE USE SOLELY WITHIN EDITORIAL ARTICLE - TOPSHOTS AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS

Adjectives to describe the 2010 World Cup Finals would not include the following: exciting, goal filled, fair.  There was plenty of tension and even a few surprises but overall the tournament produced very few amazing moments.  A year on, the only things I can remember are Tshabalala’s opening goal against Mexico for South Africa, Switzerland stunning Spain in their opening match, the French team debacle, the unbalanced performance of the US (which included Donovan’s goal against Slovenia), Van Bronckhorst’s goal against Uruguay, and de Jong’s ridiculous kick on Alonso.

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But I said fair.  Yes. Ghana played their hearts out and were so close to representing their country and the continent in the semis.  Forget Suarez.  Gyan had a chance to win and missed. Mexico was handicapped by an Argentinean goal that looked to be well offside.  And how de Jong stayed on the pitch in the final beggars belief.  A straight red and immediate dismissal from the national team seemed pretty fair to me.  Then there was Lampard’s goal for England.  If it had counted instead of being IGNORED, the Three Lions may have gone on to keep Germany at bay and win instead of being ripped apart.  Maybe.  Then again maybe it goes to PK’s and we know how that would’ve ended.

Enough biased, uninformed commentary.  On the day of the final, the league I play brought the fixtures forward so that we could play in the early morning or lunch time and then go off to watch the Final live.  Good thinking.  Our team took care of business, took a shower and then reconvened at the bar to get ready for the game.

The Final itself was white knuckle stuff. Holland sacrificed a lot of their attacking verve to nullify the threat of the Spanish possession and attack.  Maybe if the Oranje had gone for it they would have been torn to pieces, but we’ll never know.  Instead Holland withdrew into a defensive shell and tried to hit Spain on the counter.  It almost paid off for them as La Furia Roja couldn’t score in a brothel, and Robben was released twice in the second half but couldn’t convert.

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An expected classic crawled toward penalty kicks, which would determine the World Champion yet again.  And then, then what?  The answer was Iniesta’s goal. . . but I missed it.  That’s right.  With just minutes to go before the final whistle, the screen froze and after staring at it in disbelief for a full minute, we finally got off our collective ass and tried to solve the problem.

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The game was on ABC and due to DirecTV, that feed was our only local option.  Immediately the smart phones and iPods came out only for a roar to come from the opposite corner of the bar.  Running over, we were informed that the vampire had won the World Cup for Spain.  Moments later the feed was back up and we saw the referee end the match.  I missed the goal that ended years of Spanish suffering because of technology, which has failed me time and time again.  I didn’t even stick around for the trophy celebrations and just went home.

Here’s a word for the tournament:  underwhelming.  The Final put dried out frosting on a concrete cake.  Part of me wanted to give up the beautiful game that night but, as always, I returned.  By the time August rolled around, I snuck away from my family responsibilities to see Iniesta score a fantastic goal in the league against Racing Santander.  And already I am looking forward to the 2012 European Championships, knowing full well that the Final could be interrupted either on site like the Germany/Turkey semi in 2008 or due to some other issue like weather, satellites or sunspots.  Regardless, I’ll be back in front of the tube, anxious to see if Spain can maintain their dominance.


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