Monday, June 26, 2006

Futbol part 2

Solar Sports has some kind of monopoly on the World Cup here, or perhaps there are other avenues for watching the games, but for the regular schmoes like me, I'm forced to either do one of the ff:
1. Watch delayed telecast (as in two days delayed telecast)
2. Go to some bar/hotel bar
3. Spend a lot of money to get the all access pass
4. Change cable access to Dream cable
5. Learn Japanese as one of the Japanese cable channels play the games live (if you have the right cable connections...)

I've been checking the FIFA website regularly. At least three times in the morning for updates on the games that take place at 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. Manila time. Then another couple of times just to look at pictures of cute players, hahaha. No, to read the stories/article of course. FIFA, the girls version of Playboy!

Last Friday, however, I gave up. After looking at all the possible options above and letting stress make my life decisions, I talked to a friend about how we'd watch the upcoming Round 16 games, especially the back to back Germany vs Sweden and Argentina vs Mexico games. This was especially important as the winners of both games would face each other on June 30 for the quarterfinals. My friend, Melissa, is a Germany fan, and I'm for Argentina. We discussed options galore, before I threw in the towel and called up the Mandarin to ask about room rates.

Saturday afternoon, fast forward just a bit. I've checked in, and have a lovely room with a firm king size bed and cushy pillows plus fruit welcome basket. I don't spend much time in the afternoon there, but I get back around 11 p.m. in time to prepare for the first game. A friend joins me, not Melissa, but we enjoy the remainder of the game between the outplayed Swedes and the properly supported Germans. I know my friends in Munich are going crazy, kudos to Steffi and Jan. But after I'm on my own, I settle in for my 3 a.m. vigil. There they are, my boys in blue and white, going against Mexico in green. The first ten minutes see me in throes of agony, when Mexico attacks first and get a goal within 6 minutes! Horrors! Finally, Argentina pulls together and manages to equalize. Big relief and I can feel my pulse settle down a bit. My stomach remains in knots and the rest of the game is no relief either. Argentina seems to play like they're in a quidditch game, the ball is zinging here and there without any sense of direction. While they maintain possession of the ball more so than Mexico, they can't seem to get their act together till the end of the 2nd half.

Extra Time: after watching the players getting stretched before they start up for the next 30 minutes of extra time, I'm not sure whether I can take anymore of the heartpounding stressful game. I need to sleep. But I can't. If I turn off the tv, I know I wouldn't be able to stay awake not knowing whether either team had taken the lead or it had gone to penalty shootouts (please, holy of holies, not that!). So I kept vigil and sure enough, Senor Rodriguez put in a BEAUUUUTIFUL goal off his left foot in the middle of the first 15 minutes. Pure elegance, pure beauty, pure football. The next 20 minutes didn't give either team much of a chance to score, but I was happy. Until I realize, next Friday I'll be all up in knots watching my boys up against those Germans. The last time they faced each other Argentina lost, in the semifinals of France 1998. And Germany has all those supporters, I can't watch, it's like a horror film. But I will be there, snuggled against the king size bedspread and comforted by lots of pillows. Mandarin here I come.

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