Story by Sarah Mobbs
As you may remember from last week “That’s What She Said” takes a much more sentimental approach to the beautiful game. This week, in my, admittedly rather late, take on last Sunday’s Euro 2012 final you will see the same kind of thing.
The buzz walking down to the local last week wasn’t quite the same as the World Cup final, but it was close, after all, this was a record breaker; Spain (my European soft spot) had made it to 3 major tournament finals, and back to back Euro finals, so I as took my pint and took my seat, I was excited. The atmosphere wasn’t much to shout about. There were around 8 people in the pub, including myself, and the land-lady behind the bar, and I was the only one shouting for Spain. Win or lose, they were my top-team. I genuinely expected the game to go to penalties, and was a little disappointed (and baffled) when I realised that Spain would be kicking-off yet again, with no strikers. However, the absence of strikers paled into insignificance at 14 minutes when Silva scored the first goal of the match. While I had jumped up, voice raised in shock and delight, the rest of the pub was beginning to grieve, especially the one person who had money on Balotelli to be the first goal scorer. Yet in my joy, I knew it was not impossible at this point for Italy to equalise and take the lead. And yet, shortly before half-time, my hopes were raised further by Alba, making the score 2-0 to Spain. I have never liked half-time in football, especially in games like these, so I was very pleased to see the start of the second half. Spain were certainly dominating the game, and my thoughts, like many, were if they could simply keep Italy from scoring they would still have won, and won well against this year’s Italian side. Then, on comes Torres. In contention for the Golden Boot, he sealed his fate with a goal at 84 minutes, and less than 5 minutes later, Spain’s fate was sealed by Mata. I had a weird sense of déjà vu when the whistle was blown for full time, Spain had won, and I was, rather sadly, over the moon. But, as I say, the sense of excitement was not the same. Yet in my, humble, opinion, it should have been. Spain had now not just arrived at the finals of 3 major tournaments; they had won.
Yet again I surprised myself by just how much I had enjoyed a game that didn’t feature Arsenal, but then again, it was Spain that delivered me into the clutches of the game, so I suppose it was for sentimental reasons that I was supporting them, and so eager to see them win. Seeing Balotelli storm off the pitch made it all the more worthwhile, and yet, it also annoyed me greatly. He had shown such bad sportsmanship; losing his chance for the Golden Boot, and losing to, what I thought, was much the better team (that’s one of the reasons I’ve never really liked him as a player).
After not watching a game where I was that excited for rather a long time, relatively speaking, I also remembered why, apart from enjoying myself, I had fallen for the game. It was the unpredictability, the anticipation. And now, of course, we anticipate the start of the 2012/2013 season. I never really understood the phrase “Absence make the heart grow fonder”, but I find, as a reasonably new football fan, that I cannot wait for the 18th of August.
God bless the game.