Sitting and standing snugly in a local pub, soccer fans awaited the world cup finals impatiently. To quench their thirst, water their throats and hydrate themselves from the scorching sun, the sweltering fans ordered drinks in their droves.
Several screens dangled from the ceiling to provide a view, from all angles, the final event of the tournament. Glasses, bottles mugs and jars lined the table tops, full, mostly half full, half empty and empty.
The fans, even though not pledging their alliance through national colors, started cheering even before the game got underway. And despite the absence of full battle regalia, you could feel the tension, see the expectations and if you listened hard enough, hear a vuvuzela blowing in the background.
As soon as the first whistle was blown, bets started flying around the tables, and as the game progressed, the amount of money or bottles betted went up.
Spain strategized on dominance while Holland spared no chance that came up either for a goal or a tackle. The referee, a bow down for him for the way he served discipline to the players.
With each card dished out, there was a clap, a jeer and an out of key sound from the vuvuzela. There was just too much liquid being blown into it rather than air.
By half time, more bets had been placed, from which the fans contemplated more drinks, and ordered. In their quest to save the planet, and against their doctors’ advice, more alcohol than water was being consumed.
At some point, there was an unspoken urgency in the bartenders to collect the emptied canisters as the tension rose. They always say that you can cut it with a knife when it is too high, but this, you could throw a bottle, or a glass at.
The competition went from being a football match to a debate of what is preferable; the Spanish tomatoes or the Dutch uuuuuuiiii. The fans almost forgot that the Dutch also made the windmills and floating houses. And yes, the two countries are into much more than what was being tabled.
Spain possessed impressively despite some few loose passes in their defense while Holland took every opportunity to tackle and make a strike. If I had his cell number, I would have called the Spanish coach and requested some few long shots, because in spite of their brilliant passes and dominance, they lacked finishing and attempts on goal were just not being made.
From where I sat however, I could not raise my concerns or wishes since I had not declared my following. And am not sure I had one. Since Argentina’s 4 – 0 loss to Germany, I did not have any more favorites.
Both teams went on to waste huge chances but in the end Spain created more than it wasted. Like all finals, someone’s gets a red and yesterday was not exceptional.
I foresaw that if the game was to be settled at the penalties, Spain would have lost. But then again, am not psychic, that I would leave for Paul the octopus to be.
And then, after some 90 and 30 minutes of the fans trying to harangue a win from their favorite team and a loss from the other, the consumption of liquid that could flood a small city, moments of despair and hope the Spaniards proved to be too much and scored the only goal to seal their deal and Holland’s fate.
After that, all hell broke loose, the money owed and owned, the alcohol in blood streams, the win and the defeat and the dark of the night.