14 June 2008

Croatia - What's It All About?

Yesterday Croatia beat Germany.  I didn't see the game (as usual), but reading the descriptions made me feel vindicated, since it sounded as if Germany's problem was essentially that they played a defensive game.  Maybe I should coach the German team -- although I don't know how to say, "For God's sake, get up on the other end of the pitch!" in German.

I've have a sneaking fondness for Croatia.  I think this is because when I was in London last November they were playing a game there against England, and the tube was crowded with supporters of both teams heading to and from the match.  I really hate London fans of England. They all seem loutish, and they all seem drunk.  I mean, generally speaking I find people who root engagedly for any sports team off-putting, but the England fans in London conform so exactly to the stereotype of an England fan that I dislike them particularly.  So, essentially, I became fond of Croatia because they beat England in that match.  All the England fans going to the match were singing their obnoxious repetitive songs, and I thought, Wankers!  Then somehow I ended up in the tube again when the match was over (what was I doing, for heaven's sake?  I spent most of that trip in places, not travelling to them), and all the England fans looked really disconsolate, and I was so happy that they'd had to eat their songs:  Ha!  Thus did I come to like Croatia.

Yet somehow this Euro cup I'm rooting for Germany, in so far as I'm rooting for anyone.  I don't quite understand how this happened.  I guess I'm not rooting for them so much as I'm following them because I know them.  Still, it's odd.  In every World Cup, including the last, I rooted for England until they were out of contention.  But the difficulty with England is, they're always swiftly out of contention, and it's almost always as a result of their own 
foolishness.  Remember when Beckham kicked that guy in 1998? Or when Rooney ground his heel into that man's balls in 2006? What is the deal with that?  (Actually, I think I know the answer to that question.  The ex-boyfriend who trained to be a soccer player told me once that professional soccer players [like all professional athletes, I guess, and like rock stars] are permanent adolescents.  They get drafted into the professional game when they're about 17, and from that moment on they're both completely immersed in the sport for most of their time and surrounded by people whose job it is to keep them (a) focussed on football, and (b) happy.  So they just never grow up from 17.) Once England is out, then, I usually switch to France or Denmark.  This time (which I know 
is not a World Cup), however, England didn't even make it to the competition (thanks to Croatia), and France don't seem to be doing anything interesting except getting trounced by the Dutch (whom I LOATHE.  I saw them against Portugal in 2006, and the result was (a) to shock me that football could be that hateful, and (b) leave me with contempt for both teams:  pigs. Plus, the ex-boyfriend told me that the Dutch spit on other players.  They spit!  And I hate spitters).  And the Danes didn't qualify, either.  So perhaps I'll root for Croatia. Or Italy.  Although God knows Italy have enough people rooting for them; they don't need me.  Okay, then:  Come on you Croats!

You know, when I was in England in January I had a chance to watch one day's daily football round-up on Sky.  And when they say "round-up," they mean round-up:  they worked their way from the top all the way to the bottom, so that I got to see highlights of matches in stadia and matches that were played in front of the players' friends, family, and...not really anybody else. These latter games were so delightful, and so much more enjoyable to watch than the big ones. So one thing I'm hoping to be able to see when I'm there is some local football. 

No comments: