|Iker tearful break down|
Indeed I wonder how many people really weighed in the emotions that run in this final game of South Africa. Many try to pretend that it is all about football only. Might be true elsewhere, like in the European Cup, but there is always something extra that comes with a World cup that makes it so thrilling to watch even if the best technical football is what you see in the final European Club championships. But at the World Cup no one escapes the cultural and historical baggage that tags along.
It was the ancient fight between Protestant Low Countries against the Spanish Inquisition and the bloody Duque de Alba sent by Philip II. William of Orange was one of its leaders, or where else did you think the Orange of the oranje came from? This is retained in the Dutch national anthem, least they forget where they do come from. And yet today Spain as little to envy the Netherlands as far as human rights and social liberalism.
It was the choices of the locals, whether they could support the Netherlands when those ones where the ancestors of the Afrikaners, the engineers of apartheid. And yet there enough local folks waving the Dutch flag remembering that modern Netherlands was one of the leading countries against the apartheid system, when a famous Dutch player dedicated on of his trophies to Nelson Mandela.
It was also the burden of separatism for Spain as the Catalans were protesting yesterday against Madrid, with some even announcing that they hoped that Spain would lose because it was unacceptable that the Catalans in the team would glorify a Spanish team, bemoaning that half the players of the Spanish team were from the Barsa. Even poor Casillas, the team captain, from Castilla and the Real Madrid, tried to minimize it by making a lousy joke as to the "catalufas" eating at their separate table during the team's diner. And yet as far as I can tell defender Piqué made a wall with Casillas against any pretension from the Dutch and no one in the Spanish team missed the celebration and the Cup surrender ceremony. May that be a lesson to Barcelona.
To repeat such an historically loaded finale you would have to imagine, say, a Japan China final game played in the US as the host country for the Cup or a France Germany played in Rome. But of course few people remember such things, such as your faithful blogger. If the Dutch lost their nerve it was probably due to their reaching the finale for the third time, knowing that at home they would not be forgiven if once again they failed. Such is the ingratitude of the fans, if you do not get what they want, they boo you even if reaching the one before last step is an exploit for what is after all a small country. And such is the weight of football history, a burden worse than many a massacre or Inquisition.
Politicians are of course very aware of these things even if they run through the people at a subconscious level. Thus you could see the Queen of Spain visiting the locker rooms of the Spanish team and kissing the players after their victory tonight, such as the picture of her kissing Iker Casillas. After the semifinal victory over Germany, she even congratulated Puyol, a Catalan, as he was holding a towel around his waist. No one kisses the Queen of Spain except her relatives, but tonight she was just another Spaniard, and an ecstatic one even if once upon a time she was Greek royalty.
|royalty showing their colors|
And thus finishes another edition of the World Cup, an exciting one that I am sorry I missed, lacking the mood for it, even lacking the mood to watch the final game in full with the attention it deserved. Then again by the end of the first half it was clear that my prediction had to come true, Spain could not lose that game even if the Dutch were magnificent opponents. This last picture of a van Persie action forcing Puyol to roll on the ground and Casillas to fly in the air tells you the tale. Too bad, most of my predictions this edition would have come true and I would have won lots of money had I been betting.
Thus my final contribution to this 2010 cup could only be a nostalgic tour, where I admit me being envious of South Africa who could host so successfully such an event, envious of such a small country like the Netherlands can keep putting out bright generations of players (je maintiendrai, I shall persevere, is their motto), how the famously nervous Spaniards can produce such a steel tempered team and become the third country in history able to hold at the same time the Eurocup and the World cup (France and Germany are the only two other). Nostalgic because here in Venezuela we keep falling back, we cannot build and fill up with dignity something like Soccer city, because we do not have the perseverance of the Dutch, because we do not have the will to overcome the alleged curse the Spanish suffered and yet overcame one by one, be it in football or politically. Here in Venezuela we keep falling back while the world keeps advancing, even if unevenly, in politics, in human rights, in football.
PS: 38% of you guessed that Spain would win by 1. Congratulation!