Gravity is an evil aide-mémoire of our physical restrictions. It is that which keeps us grounded; it tugs us downwards and makes us sluggish. The thought of flying, then slowly fades away.
Fans cheering for Portugal to win the Euro Championship, should feel that way today.
Expectations were high on them to do well in the Championships, after a long streak of miserable performances. Reaching the semifinals of the World Cup in 2006 is a distant memory now. But time and time again, they had yearned. Hoping for that which is turned into dust and is lost now.
The Spanish were expected to win this bout against the Portuguese with ease, just like the Dutch were. It did not happen then, but it happened today.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a phenomenon on the pitch, that is a given. But he has a knack of disappointing at the international level. On the day when Messi scored three goals against Brazil, Ronaldo and company produced zilch. Undoubtedly, he was not the most imposing figure on the field in Lviv against Germany.
The man who believes he is worth more than €94 million that was paid in his transfer fees in 2009, missed a few easy sitters against Denmark in the second game. Goals that would otherwise, easily be put away if he was only wearing the Real Madrid jersey.
Then when it counted the most, he showed up against, what we thought was an invisible Dutch squad, to score two goals to take Portugal into next round.
He came up big once again scoring the lone goal against Czech. And we believed he was back. Not much in this game though. The best player in Europe must have been ruing that he did not take a penalty that could eventually have taken them through.
Most of teams come up with a plan against Spain but none of them had been successful yet. Portugal had to believe that they could overcome the Spanish onslaught. The two Goal Keeper’s were almost redundant with Rui Patricio doing a bit of cleansing job in the extra time (those 30 minutes were more exciting than the entire 90 minutes). They could literally have bought a book along.
Additionally, there was all this talk of Spain moving the ball around a lot made it too boring to watch. What was one expecting? If the teams have all 11 players defending in their own half, how is one supposed to break that? Spain’s strategy to beat that defensive block was to contain possession until the other team falls asleep.
But this is football – some days you are exposed to pure exciting entertainment and some days you don’t.
A positive moment of the game was when the Turkish referee booked Busquets for showing an imaginary yellow at him. Makes you wish that the same would be adopted else where in every league.
Eventually, a promising thought of Portugal and Ronaldo winning the Euro’s has come crashing down to earth. Whereas the Spanish faithful find themselves asking, whether this sense of victory will live out till after Sunday when they meet either Germany or Italy in the Finals.