Ageism: 58 Mundial years (a day, a match, another T-shirt, another Azzurri press guide, and the railway redeye to Berlin)
Crazy night in Dortmund last night. Wicked game, wicked seats (Westfalenstadion’s media tribune is about the best in the whole World Cup), wicked backache from the seats, write a column as if on deadline to catch a train that turns out to be 40 mionutes late leaving because the station is so crowded. Bora Milutinovic.
Yes, Bora. I rounded the corner out of the SMC headed to my seats, and there he was, Bora. He’s so well traveled I had to enter a receiving line, for pete’s sake. And so it went, Bora shaking hands with one and all.
“Japan? Hello Japan. I love Japan.”
“Mexico. Buenos dias. I know Mexico. I am Mexican.”
“China. Ah yes. I am Chinese, you know?”
|Bora coach no more.|
Canada. Always stops ‘em dead. Usually they’ll say something like, “you have football in Canada?” with a hesitant look on their face, but instead of explaining the intricacies of three downs, the rouge and Ricky Williams I cut right to the chase and answer that we’re not very succesful at this World Cup thing, but we’re great at the World Cup parties.
I never get that far with Bora. I say hello, Toronto says hello, and remember that afternoon in the currency exchange at the Seoul press centre four years ago, we both had travellers’ cheques to cash? Of course he does.
Why don’t you come to Canada, we need a coach for Canada, I say.
“No, no, I coach no more,” he says. “Too difficult. When I see how difficult watching these guys, I like to be here instead.”
We sure could use you.
“Yes, thank you, I know.”
Good to see Bora again. Even if I’m never sure if he’s kidding or not. Or even what he's saying, half the time.
And about that game. For better or for verse, here’s Ray Skyrme’s take, and man, I gotta get out my Google translator. Take it away, Ray:
0 GER v ITA 2
German fans leave Dortmund in dismay,
Knowing well their team fought all the way.
On Unter den Linden
Keinen Freude sie finden.
(Has their coach signed to coach USA?)
Gli Azzurri sono nella Gloria!
Grosso, then del Piero—euphoria!
Their goalkeeper, Buffon,
Cannot be scored upon
(Così sembra. Ma segue la storia.)
Atta go Ray. I’m going to head up to the Tiergarten now and get my bearings a little.
France 1, Portugal 0. Zidane (who else?) scores on a penalty set up by a Carvalho foul on Henry in the box in the 33rd minutes. Not even Fabien Barthez could give it away from there, the 'keeper's flub of a Cristian Ronaldo free kick that bounced to Luis Figo who headed over the bar among the best Portuguese chances in the second half. So it's France vs Italy in the final -- edge to Italy thanks to their defence, but the French are playing so well it's hard to count them right out.