Apart from being an eternal garden captive, I also, strangely enough, have many more human flaws; one of them is football being the second most important thing in the world, after gardening of course. And the national team is the holy of the holies. Some folks regard it as 'back to wilderness', as football is a primitive game and its supporters primeval. All fine, I'm still proud to be primitive. I managed not to interfere my footie ecstasy with my gardening diary so far, but after being literally heart broken the other night, I can't really share more than tons of despair. Sometimes the better team doesn't win but that's football. And the word 'better' is also often a matter of misinterpretation. Although we have proven to be 'something to talk about' years in the past, our team has always been regarded as a sort of a 'black horse' of any tournament ( lets just say 'underrated' is our middle name) even though we managed to prove everyone wrong (hello Steve McClaren!) Only now after an amazing sequence of wins at Euro 2008, we have once again reestablished our underestimated name. I can't remember the last time the boys looked so harmonious, happy, proud and confident, a team that left Engerlund at home after that memorable match at Wembley. After beating Austria, Germany and Poland, our hopes were rising. And then there was Turkey, the team also underestimated too many times, and once again they've managed to turn it all upside down in the last minutes (seconds) of the game. A coincidence, you'd think. Maybe, maybe not. After goalless 90 minutes, Miss Fortune was obviously looking the wrong way. It wasn't a pretty game to watch either, it went from boring and maddening to shocking and crazy, and after 2 extra times, 1 minute before the end, all of our hard work seemed to be paying off when we finally put the ball in Turkey's net. And then, only 74 seconds later, already in referee's very own 'extra time', when 99 per cent of Croats were still in a winning delirium, Turkey got lucky one more time and the extra time finished a tie and doomed us to an early exit. What a shock that was for everyone. My happiest dreams for years ended with the Turkish goal in the last second. I couldn't imagine any player, never mind the experience and quality, keeping a cool head and still foot after such a shocker. They've signed the 'capitulate' note even before the penalties. After a total mental blackout, our players succumbed to Turkey in the penalties shoot-out which was, to mildly put it, atrocious. What a pity for such a dynamic and talented squad to go out on.
It's silly, almost childish, to think that every so often, at a certain moment in time, all of your life's happiness will turn around a goddamn 'footBALL'. Or any other sport you might fancy. What I can't understand is all those people moaning about lousy referees, shitty managers and silly players...just days after they have sworn their hearts to the best manager and best team on the planet, just days after they have glued all those utterly annoying country flags to their cars and then timidly removed them as soon as it got dark outside. Life is a game, so is football, some you win, some you lose. Elimination doesn't always happen to someone else. At least our boys left having nothing to regret (but fate), quality, pride, bravery, teamwork, fair play, they've done it all but it wasn't meant to be. So I give all my thanks to all of them, for we have not gone through all those qualifications with them in vain, we have not waited for another exciting summer in vain, for another quality show, all those highly exciting footie moments, it was all worth it and I'm as proud as if though they have gone all the way. I'm proud of Luka Modric, perhaps one of the best players we've ever had, although he's only to become that, a young, wirey little lad, with the brains of a genious, and the skills that leave no room for indifference. Same goes for all the rest. And finally hope that our best striker, Eduardo, will be back for the World Cup qualifiers, after he has had his leg brutally and recklessly broken in the English Premiership (shame on you Martin Taylor!) which has left him to master the art of popcorns while watching Euro'08 in front of a TV.
So for all of you, my dear garden bloggers, raising an eyebrow and wondering if I have totally lost it, ranting about ' fussball' 'n all that bore, well, yes, I've lost it, and the weather is not helpful either, it's way too hot to garden, way too hot to open the window and turn off AC, way too hot to do any sort of mentally productive activity, thus the fiddle-de-dee was the only option to minimize the lack of my garden posts. Hopefully you'll find it in your hearts to pardon me.
(photos by: CROPIX, 24sata, Jutarnji)
... and as far as the fans go....who else sings their national anthem in such harmony?