Day Two: The Games
You're sitting at a bar and proclaim to no one in particular how you would improve the game. Perhaps you're lounging on your front porch, enjoying the freshly mowed lawn and enlightening the youngster from next door. "I think a six month-ban for simulation or 10 minutes off the field for "writhing in pain" seems at least worth a test run."
But everyone has these gripes. Another decay of the beautiful game, l suspect less universal, is the anti-climax of the near-goal set piece ritual.
To remind, the ACNGSPR involves the following actions.
1. Foul called outside of the box but within realistic goal-threat range.
2. Quick tantrum from the aggrieved before he* realizes the call has been made.
*the women's game seems to be less prone to this charade.
3. Five or more players from the penalized team surround and accost the official.
4. This aggression continues for minutes while the referee gesticulates: the finger wag, the hand wave, the emphatic pointing to some place he wants the players to be instead of his face.
5. Exaggerated drama of the 10-yard walk off. This wasn't enough theater so the magic spray was introduced a few years ago.
6. Media take over. A combination of excitement, fear, anticipation. "This decisive moment will be something to pass along to future generations."
7. Close up on the shot taker. Discussion of his ability to withstand the pressure,
8. Analysis of the keeper's shifting of his troops.
9. Interruption by the referee. Someone's been a bad boy.
10. Whistle blows. Four seconds.
11. Shot hits a 10-year-old in the 33rd. row.
12. (and most irritating) It almost never deviates from these actions and happens EVERY game.
I bring this up because of the exception we witnessed on Friday by the guy I love to hate.
The focus and intensity on Ronaldo's face in the waning moments of an impending loss was messing with my cynicism. Was I no different than a Fox Sports shill? Watching the goal in real time I thought, "'wow', but Spain must have f-ed up something on the line. It wasn't a laser beam." Then came the numerous replays that showed the brilliance--the final of three amazing goals in an amazing game that probably won't be matched this Tournament.
Final thoughts: From the time the ref calls a NGSP, 20 seconds to set up or an automatic goal is awarded. That would fix those preening cry babies!
The other Games:
Despite the magnificence of the Spain-Portugal goal-fest (it might have also featured the best goalie Boo-foo of the tournament) Iran's 95th-minute own-goal gift from Morocco was the most devastating. In a likely group elimination game Iran somehow managed to top the pile at the end of the day. Take that Spain and Portugal! Uruguay also escaped Egypt with a late, late, late winner. Good day today.
On to the Beer
Today I drink in honor of the great football nations not participating this tournament. On my desk and down my gullet is Gulpener Ur-Pilsner from an independent Dutch brewery in Gulpen, Limburg, the Netherlands.* Margaret brought me back a bottle from her trip to Aruba and the label is in dutch. It's an unfiltered organic light lager, 5% and "tipple hopped." I hoped this was an experimental hop, but .....no.
It's a standard northern European lager, light body with a gentle bitter finish. OK for a quick lunch at a canal-side cafe but nothing to seek out .
*No beers from Spain or Portugal yet. Still shopping.
Lewbricator Weizenbock, Kalona Brewing, Kalona, IA. As we head down to Des Moines for the Iowa Beer Fest I'll take one more sip of a great Iowa Brew this tournament. This beer is a tasty version of one of my favorite styles. In honor of former brewer and best-brewer-name-in-America Lew Brewer. I met Lew at brew school and he's among the great folks I've met in this industry.
Tomorrow is Iowa Beer from noon to bedtime so we won't be posting. I will recommend Quilmes beer from Argentina in honor of the games. This is a low-rated beer on Beer Advocate, but it was my favorite among five light lagers on a trip to Puerto Rico a few years ago. That's like reviewing bottled water in the middle of the Sahara. Pale adjunct lager good with sand and sunscreen.
SPINNING THE CUP with DJ Narthex
Vicarious travel is a cool side-benefit of following international football. At least it is for me, the not-very-well-travelled American. I get the matches, and I get the surround of the cultures.
This is universally good, with the glaring exception of the vuvuzela. And hooliganism. And Peter’s photo selection from yesterday. I’d better stop.
Anyway, I’m the same way with music. I love how streaming music allows me to zigzag the globe and explore the margins, discovering and trying to support global artists I’ll almost certainly never see and may never learn very much about.
With that in mind, and with Argentina hoping to open its tournament account on Saturday, I was reminded of this band I chanced across on a few years ago called Romanes. That’s right — Romanes. Even though the typefaces, certain wardrobe selections and elements of the sound recall a certain act from Queens. A South America/CBGB fusion, maybe.
So I’m not sure if the tie-in is deliberate, but what I CAN say is this is a solid pop-punk band from, I believe, Buenos Aires. Their top songs have about 15,000 worldwide plays on Spotify, or not very many. So safe to say only a handful of us Americans have heard them. And now you’re about to, lucky you.
This title of this driving and deceptively simple track translates to “She Dreams of Flying.” The Argentine side could do much worse for a pre-match dressing room anthem.
Ella sueña con volar
Album: Romanes (2015)
In honor of Group B Killers Iran we suggest a lazy Saturday afternoon of hot outdoor grilling.
Chelow Kabab. Skewered Beef (most common). Topped with butter or raw egg yolk (in NW Iran. . . damn, Nat!) Serve with grilled tomatoes, powdered sumac and Lavash (hope you don't live in Northwood, Iowa.). Here are some suggested recipes for the lazy among us. Or this recipe.
Iceland pulls a huge upset after the team manager finds a way to sneak fermented, rotting shark into the Argentine's pre-game meal while they are mesmerized listening to the Romanes.