Archive for July 16th, 2014

G – O -A – L !!

With the end of overtime fast approaching, I had more or less resigned myself to the World Cup final being decided on a shoot-out. In fact, I had just turned to my wife and remarked that I didn’t think there was going to be a goal scored in the remaining few minutes … when Mario Goetze scored. I have since watched the replays of his remarkable goal several times and it remains a thing of beauty, a moment of brilliance. Perfection itself.
Goetze had entered the game almost towards the end of regulation and he produced the magical moment with Andreas Scheurrle, another sub. Both of them were able to outrun the tired Argentine defenders who had been on the field for almost two hours. Schuerrle sprinted down the left flank and fired a perfect cross into the penalty box which the fast arriving Goetze chested down, volleying the ball past Sergio Romero, the Argentine goalie, into the far corner of the net. Romero had no chance as the shot caught him moving the other way. It flashed behind him and into the net in the twinkling of an eye.

There have been other wonderful goals scored during this World Cup. The first was Van Persie’s airborne header in the Netherlands match against Spain. Another was James Rodriguez’s shot towards the end of the Colombia- Japan match when he juked a Japanese defender off his feet before firing the ball past the over-matched goalie. Then Rodriguez again against Uruguay when he received a pass on his chest and , in one fluid motion, fired the ball into the net even though he was surrounded by Uruguayan defenders. There were also efforts by Messi, Sneijder, Shaquiri, Cahill and others. They were all wonderful but Goetze’s was agoals beautiful as any of them and it had the distinction of being the only one in the final of the World Cup. All that was needed was that Spanish announcer who used to go G -O -A -L !

Two other thoughts about the final…

I have to marvel at the thoroughness of Germany’s preparation. They had prepared for every eventuality, saving one of their most dangerous goal scorers for the very end when the Argentine defense would not be able to keep up with him. Earlier, in the semifinal against Brazil, their coaching staff had planned how to control the midfield and weather the initial Brazilian onslaught.

In the aftermath of the match, it was nice to see how the cameras were not focused solely on Goetze. In other sports, the man who scores the final basket, the guy who kicks the winning field goal, the quarterback who throws the winning touchdown gets most of the glory. Not here. Here , the glory was shared and the reserves who hadn’t played a single minute were just as overjoyed as those who had played the entire match. When the final whistle blew, they all raced onto the field and leaped in to one giant pile. Lukas Podolski had been a star on Germany’s previous WC teams ; in Brazil, he played hardly at all. No matter, he was just as joyful as anyone who had played. He took selfies with his son and other players and had his son kick the ball around on the field where the World Cup final had just been played. What memories that child will have ! Who knows but that he might not make some World Cup history himself twenty years from now !

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