Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Free Pizza For Everyone

As the NHL and TSN prepare for Thursday's awards cermonies and Friday's draft, the rst of the world is watching the World Cup.

I count myself in with the rest. And so, apart from being roused by the occasional trading of a team's major cog, I neglect my coverage of signings like Mathieu Darche for now.

I think it's only right. After all, for all the drama of teams shifting salary, it somehow just doesn't quite stack up to entire nations going at each other, some coming through in impressive fashion and others completely falling to pieces.

This morning was a case in point. This morning, an embattled French team took to the field in South Africa to face the home Bafana Bafana squad. I didn't need to watch the game, or the red card, or the bad loser's refusal to shake hands to embrace the feeling of this result.

South Africa 2:1 France

There's a beauty in that. Two coutries who qualified for the tournament through FIFA's own special allowances playing their way out. One group had their heads held high, one group left biting each others' heads off.

France, you see, deserved this fate. Having wrongly avoided being put to a penalty shoot-out in order to qualify courtesy of a goal made possible by Thierry Henry's offside hand to foot pass. Since that time, the Irish and those who thought FIFA took the easy way out have been hoping for the pendulum to swing back into the collective mid-riff of the French.

The momentum seemd to change early. France, a pre-tournament power if only for their star power, slipped and slogged away against an uninspired (on the day) Uruguayan side.

A loss to Mexico followed, with an effort that was questionable all around. From there, as you'd expect, flowed criticism, rifts in the squad, plenty of whining, a players strike, resignation of high ups in the French football federation, public humiliation, an injunction from President Sarkozy, more humiliation, and finally a loss to the lowest ranked team to be pulled from Pot A in this, and probably all, World Cups.

If you're Irish you call it justice. If you're just about anyone else, comedy.

Ireland come out with high groiund and pizza

Meanwhile, the Irish National football team (the other team I know to work in-fighting into match preparation - 2002: Keane, Roy) is enjoying this World Cup, perhaps more than they would have had the hand ball been flagged down by the linesman wishing to make up for his botched offside call. They'll have plenty of time now to relish the high ground.

Last week, sombreros and tequila were the order of the day in Dublin as France went up against Mexico in group match. If there was ever a day for Corona to outsell tehe black stuff on the river Liffey, it was on the evening of the French defeat that nearly sealed their fate.

Today, the Irish will be eating Pizza to their hearts' content, I imagine, as Pizza Hut is offereing free pizza following the French exit.

The results in sport don't always fall in the way that we want. Nor do they always fall on the side of fairness. But sometimes, it appears that they do.

Whatever the teams, the results. You just can't top the drama that's unfolding in South Africa. That it seems is my round-about apology for putting hockey on the backburner for a few days...

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