Mag
Opinion
I Was Wrong About the Final Not Being a Moral Conflict

I Was Wrong About the Final Not Being a Moral Conflict

Published July 12, 2010

At one point during the final I entertained fantasies of the Dutch team crashlanding in the Andes and having to eat each other to survive. I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry watching a football game. Heartbroken, ecstatic, disappointed, joyous, bored, pleased, sad, happy, but never angry. It was a slow-burning anger, expressed mostly in sarcastic jibes, that didn’t really fully bloom until after I came home and started to think about the game a little. De Jong and van Bommel were just… grrrrrrr… I have not the words. It was… shameful. I don’t begrudge them physicality, but… holy moly, those were some absolutely brutal tackles. While I always expected the Dutch to play harshly, this wasn’t a level I was expecting. That said, it almost worked for them. If Arjen Robben had managed to lift the ball over Iker Casillas’ outstretched leg the Dutch might’ve won. What a sorry sight that would’ve been.
Despite all that I never really started to root for the Spanish, so much as against the Dutch. The Spanish were absent in this game, this was a game controlled by Holland. For what it’s worth they took control of their own destiny and could’ve won. I suppose it’s fitting that the Spanish goal came because of a terrible decision from Howard Webb, who awarded a goal kick when a corner should’ve been given. I like to think that Webb may have been trying to help the Spanish win, because they were looking completely incapable of doing it themselves. After a great performance against Germany, they barely did anything in this game, their central defenders and goalkeeper excepted, who were great. To paraphrase John Oliver, this was a contest between two of world football’s greatest chokers, and it looked like both teams would choke. Iniesta finally broke through, which was deserved, as he was by far the best of the Spanish attackers. This was a dreadful final, on par with the finals of Italy ’90 and USA ’94.
On to happier fare… the best news I heard today was that the great Diego Forlán was given the Golden Ball (no snickering in the back, please), the award for the best player of the tournament, which he richly deserved. Let me point you towards his lovely video diary where you can see him and his team mates enjoy barbecues and have fun, and perhaps most adorably, play with a lion cub.

Photo by Globovisión.


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