(Click on Video Highlights, it is the second goal in)
There have been quite a few beautiful goals this World Cup.
Joe Cole’s chest trap and volley for England ranks in my top ten. Certainly my blood was pumping and my voice shredded as I shouted , “yes….yes…yes” like Molly Bloom in the final chapter of Ulysses.
I must also devote at least a few words to my bitter disappointment that Michael Owen went down injured with a torn ACL in his knee in the first few minutes of England’s match against Sweden. Of all the players I most wanted to see score, Owen was first in my heart. He is the sort of player that changes games, if you drop the ball at his feet any where near the goal you can bet your sunday dress he will amaze you. His stunner in the 1998 cup against Argentina is possibly my favorite goal of all time. Seeing a young piss and vinegar substitute break away and score on one of the world’s top teams was something that possibly will never be repeated in soccer.
Against my will and my better judgement prior to the end of the tournament I may rank Ribery’s (French national team) goal against against Spain as possibly the most poetic of goals.
Soccer is an emotional sport. Definitely a passionate sport. A sport of poets and dreamers I say. I still wait and dream for the US to have a moment like the one I saw today. Or second best, England.
Just like a poet you wait patiently for that perfect moment. When the moment comes you must gage how many touches to take, and when to turn and face the net, where the keeper is, where the defenders are, where your opening is, and then you must have the courage to strike.
Having played the sport since I could walk, (in whatever mediocre fashion I do), I know what it is like to have the ball dropped at your feet, to see the goal open in front of you like a door. And you must strike or be damned. Defenders loom on you like fire-spitting demons who want to crush your head.
So to get that moment of bliss you angle your hips, face the net, gage your angle and strike. If God blesses you, the keeper guesses wrong, the defenders don’t knock you down, your foot strikes the ball true, and the shot screams between the eight yards of the posts and under the crossbar that border Il Paradiso.
Today, France was down one nil, and Ribery found that doorway like a pro, so I salute him.
Zinedine Zidane, and Vieri might soak up the glory, but without the ugly little brute named Ribery, they would never have found their stride, and they would have lost the match.
So I say, with whatever remains of that weakling poet inside me. -Salut to Ribery.