Monday, July 03, 2006

End it like Beckham

England is out of the World Cup. Boo.

After the unpleasant and completely unexpected quarterfinal exit of England's
most celebrated football squad in decades, the British press and general public are unfairly vilifying coach Sven Goran Eriksson, inexplicably defending pugilistic (and swell-headed) striker Wayne Rooney, and conveniently overlooking Frank Lampard’s lackluster performance throughout the WC finals (his horrendous stats: 0 goals out of 33 shots— I swear the guy is jinxed). To top it all off, team captain David Beckham has relinquished his armband, and at 31, may have just seen his last WC stint.

As a staunch England supporter, I was crushed when they lost in the penalty shootout against Portugal (whose scandalously dirty pre-quarterfinals match against the Netherlands was utterly distasteful and lost them my respect). To their credit, the Queen’s men actually held on for quite a long time after Rooney was (rightfully) ejected from the game, keeping Portugal at bay for most of the second half and 2 periods of extra time, despite a one-man disadvantage. Becks also had an early exit from the match, as he left the pitch with an injured Achilles tendon and was replaced by Aaron Lennon. My heart went out to him as he limped his way back to the bench, fighting back tears of physical and emotional pain. How helpless he must have felt seeing his team struggle to hang on ‘til the bitter end. Apparently, England has never won a shootout in all of WC history, and I guess they stayed true to their English roots by observing tradition and losing 3-1.

However, more than the sad outcome of the shootout, or Rooney’s red card, or Lampard’s nth sorry miss, the moment that stood out for me was Beckham’s valiant show of leadership and strength when the match was over. As his fallen comrades unabashedly wept or hung their heads in shame, he went around and approached each player, offering words and embraces of comfort. As he hugged a sobbing John Terry, I marveled at how Becks managed to keep from breaking down in tears himself. To me, more than any other time, the English skipper showed true greatness after their defeat, setting a heroic example of composure and grace for his squad and his nation. Granted, I have always had a soft spot for Becks because I believe he’s arguably the best passer and corner kicker in football today— and yes, yes, it helps that he’s gorgeous— but I now hold him in even higher esteem. England may have gone out with a whimper, but Becks bowed out in noble fashion. Posh Spice should be proud.


At Monday, July 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i feel kinda bad that england lost. you could really feel the toned down party atmosphere from last saturday. sure there were some festive portuguese (vs england) and french (vs brasil) people... but nowhere near the kind of energy one would feel, had england won. too bad. too bad...

well, germany x italy. that would have been a great final match. but that's for tuesday so we'll see about that!


At Tuesday, July 04, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Sigh, nothing left to do but cheer for Herr Klinsmann's boys. BTW, aside from Podolski, I'm really digging number 3, Arne Friedrich. Prefer dark-haired dudes more than blondes (Becks as always is an exception ;p).

At Wednesday, July 05, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Well there goes Germany. Argh. I really thought it would come to a penalty shootout. I'm running out of teams (and cute players) to cheer for. I guess Italy's the best option of the 3 remaining countries. France is ok and Zidane is amazing, but his star complex just pisses me off. But I still hope they beat Portugal. :p

At Monday, July 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

podolski is so hot i swear. exag!!! so is ballack (funny how i only remember the FIT ones...) =D

yup, i am the most POSER-y of all football fan posers!


At Tuesday, July 11, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Don't forget Lehmann. =D And I'm beginning to see what Jiji meant by Klose's mysterious appeal... but I still don't get why you both find Ballack attractive. Sabi nga ni Ji, he looks like a prehistoric man. Haha. Hanks fancies Klinsmann. I think he's cute too, for an older guy. Germany's beginning to look like a nice place for *ahem* sightseeing... ;p


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