Friday, August 22, 2008

Olympics Football: Remembering FIFA World Cup '06

The Olympics is ending soon and that is unfortunate but maybe it is for the best because for the past few days I have been glued to the television set, flipping through the three or four Olympic channels and holding the Olympic TV guide in my hand (which I got from the local newspaper). I have become a certified couch potato and that is never a good thing.

Faster, higher, stronger is the motto here as the world's best athletes vie for the the Olympic Gold. One of the first games I watched was the football match between Argentina and Australia. Being a football watcher two years ago for the FIFA World Cup match in Germany, I wanted to get the same feeling I had before when I would wake up at 3AM to watch the live performances at a Makati bar. Prior to that happening, I didn't understand what the fuss was all about, why everyone in Europe was so into it, and what made it so special to say basketball or tennis/ badminton, so I decided to try watching one match with my girlfriend. And that's when I got addicted to viewing the sport. Even my friend Peter who had nothing else to do that night and found out we were going to a bar, joined us. Not for the game which he had no interest in, but for the booze. Little did he know that even he got drawn in by the games and became my early morning partner in our quest to see the live games (being just five houses away from each other helped a lot too). We would usually plan to sleep by 9PM so that we can wake up at 2:30AM. I would then pick him up, drive all the way to Makati to one of the bars having live coverage, order some drinks, cheer/ boo the two football teams with the crowd, finish the game, pay the bill and head off to one of the fastfood joints for breakfast before going back home again for a quick shower and drive to our respective work areas. We would do this for three days leading up to the finals and to the famous head butt by France's Zidane. Italy won that day, France first runner up and host country Germany second runner up. It was an exciting two weeks for us and we all started getting our own souvenir shirts from Adidas to wear proudly on these shows. I was able to get Brazil and France I think and had an old Australian cap, which I wore to an Australian match. It was just good fun and when the team we rooted for got defeated, we would just then look for another team to cheer for again. After all, there was no Philippines here so might as well have fun in every match. So football has gotten us in that short time. First time I saw Beckham play too and realized he was that good as he usually scores the winning shot for England via a penalty kick. Janine was able to join us once or twice as she was a certified football player back in her high school (her dad's a coach!) so she was able to explain the various rules to us first-time viewers and answer all our questions: What is a red card? What is a yellow card? Why is there no such thing as a green card?! Why can't that person play in the next match? How long is the overtime? Who is Michael Ballack? Haha.


Going back to the Olympics, I am now confined in my own room (so no gas, booze, food expenses) to watch the games. On Australia vs. Argentina match, Argentina was able to score one goal on the second half and used the remaining time to play with the ball. Australia struggled and in the end, Argentina won 1-0.

The next match I was able to see was for the Semi-Finals. This time it would be Argentina vs. Brazil, which should be a good match given the strong background of the two teams. Argentina the reigning Olympic Gold champion and Brazil five-time world champion has a lot going for this match: Argentina wants to get a back-to-back Olympic Gold (which hasn't happened in the past 40 years) while Brazil, although a five-time world champion, has still failed to secure a spot in the Olympics record books for the Gold medal. For the first half of the game, no goals were scored although both teams were quite aggressive in trying to do so. The second half was quite surprising, starting off with the first goal for this game via Argentina's Aguero. Brazil went wild and tried to make a score to tie off the game but Argentina's goalie was good in blocking two shots going his way. About 5 minutes later, a big surprise came up as Argentina was able to make another shot and by Aguero again who was standing close to the goal when the ball went his way. So 2-0 already and with a couple of minutes to go and Brazil still having a hard time scoring. Brazil got a penalty kick and its captain, the famous Ronaldinho took the shot, to which it was blocked by the goal keeper. Brazil seemed very unlucky that night.


Things headed downhill for Brazil when Argentina gets a penalty kick. This would be done by Argentina's captain Juan Riquelme and he would put Argentina into a huge lead of 3-0! Brazil tried to score but ended up getting two red cards for its players, leaving only 9 players in the stadium vs Argentina's 11 players! It was a terrible day for Brazil ! Argentina would win that game.

Argentina will now go to the Finals against Nigeria (winners of 1996 Olympic Gold in Atlanta) so it will be interesting to see which team will get a second Olympic Gold. This will be shown in Philippine sport channels Saturday afternoon. Brazil, on the other hand, will go on a match against Belgium (11PM tonight at CIS or 12 midnight at Solar Sports) for the Bronze medal award. Both games will be interesting to see and will definitely try my best to catch them. After all, FIFA is still two loooong years away!


janine+ said...

I can't believe 2 years ago na ito. I can't believe I'd wake up at 3am and actually leave the comforts of my bed. But then again, I can't believe I now leave the house at 5 am when I used to just come home from a gimmick at the same time before! Times have changed.

Running Fatboy said...

hi janine+, as they say, the only constant thing in life is change. :) see you this Sunday!