What is it about the World Cup that makes it so special? Somehow it manages the impossible, to keep the entire world’s undivided attention without firing a single shot. The world cup has indeed been called the great unifier and the world’s largest stage, with an estimated audience of 3.7 billion people, it’s easy to understand the monikers. Every four years it seems that a combustible rain falls upon our globe to alight passion and national pride the levels of which are never seen outside a war. This year’s rendition of the beautiful game’s ultimate test was no different; a world cup riddled with controversies and surprises, it made the world a more passionate place for a few short weeks.
Sunday’s final match between Spain and the Netherlands showed a little bit about everything that makes the beautiful game shine a little less brightly. From questionable calls to blatant mistakes by the refereeing team, the human component of the game showed exactly how fallible it could be. Even with the record setting 14 yellow cards and 1 red, it was easy to see that the match was far out of the control of Mr. Webb. The final descended into not much more than an all out war between the Dutch and Spanish, with the Spanish side prevailing in what was a very ugly game. Ironically enough, the Dutch national anthem sung at the start of the match is all about their previous war with Spain, in which they were victorious.
Both teams arrived at the pitch with very differing strategies, the Spanish had planned to tire out the older Dutch team with their signature short passes and strike towards the end, while the Oranjes sought to neutralize the Spanish passing with physical play and get ahead with counterstrikes. Things didn’t quite work out that way for the Dutch, and we saw the physical play descend into some of the ugliest fouls ever televised.
Nevertheless, we also saw flashes of brilliance from both teams that reminded us why it’s called the beautiful game. The Oranjes had two amazing runs led by striker Robben which were followed immediately by unbelievable saves from the Spanish goal-keep Casillas. Iniesta’s goal deep into the second half of overtime was nothing short of breathtaking, and catapulted the diminutive play-maker into immediate super stardom and a firm place in the history books.
While all of our hopes where either validated or shattered, one thing we all agreed upon, FIFA needs to make changes. Be them better training for the referees or yielding to technology, the bad calls need to stop. It left all of us with a bad taste in our mouths and the level of their obtuseness is taking the beauty out of the beautiful game. In the end, what really matters is that we were able to see some of the world’s best athletes give all for pride and country; we saw some riveting battles, we saw some one sided matches, we saw beautiful performances upon the world’s greatest stage.
If this world were perfect we would all get to share in the victor’s ecstasy, but as it is not, we must be content with merely watching it:
We hope you all had as much fun as we did during this world cup, it was certainly exciting! Let’s hope the next four years pass quickly so we may again revel in the glory of the World Cup, but until then, we hope you keep enjoying our recipes.