If defeat is the school of character, our choice of “hopes” (or, as organizations dictate, under-21s, though I prefer “hopes” or, alternatively, “promises”) is college. Three endings, three missing endings. Even the “golden generation”, the first to reach the decisive match, could not have performed better, and the silver dwelling had to be satisfied with the second places, which, unlike athletics, are neither satisfying nor easy. Three losing finishes, as I said, two against 1-0, and one on penalties, requires a certain art, knowing how to lose, not in the sense of sportsmanship, but as if defeat were a job that has its tools and knowledge.
Yesterday, after the German goal, it immediately appeared that the boys did not have that much arrogance, to dissuade their opponents, to bring down the wall. They had the advantage of not giving up, of course, but with Germany defending the advantage, i.e. being allowed to dispense with any trace of intelligence they might have, the differences between the two teams became apparent: a bunch of frivolous, talented young men on the one hand, a gigantic fleet of Teutonic structures from On the other hand. If you ask the painter to draw figures that match the stereotypes of the footballs in question, Fabio Vieira is sure to come out (pale, ethereal and too light for snakes to harm the lawn) and Dorsch, that descendant of the Gignac giants, bearded barbarian.
Speaking of Dorsch, I added that if a boy’s skin was darker, someone would actually ask for birth certificates. The luck is that we know that in countries like Germany no one cheats because of age, but I was suspicious, I did. If these two players are archetypes of football in every country, the moment when Portugal was Portugal, nine hundred years of history in one game, took me back to the times when we played a lot but won nothing, it was the moment of throwing a masterful vitina (a miraculous feat) another in a host’s body). Shooting horror oh my god! How long has it been since I’ve seen this interpretation of style as searching for ideal initial conditions to shoot a shot, until there were no conditions for shooting, simply not shooting.
Desperate commentators shouted that Vitina has everything to score, but having everything is like having nothing. What he wanted was perfect. That perfect chemical point where the opponent’s defender has gone to the cabbage, the ball falls at his best foot and the goalkeeper, no longer aware of the space behind him, leaves the mailbox open where all you have to do is deposit, in style and education, the goal envelope. Like everything perfect, this moment is fleeting. Just blink your eyes and they disappear. On TV, we all watched and watched her run away, forever, that moment when Vittiña was supposed to kick, but in Portuguese, a killer, striving for ideal conditions, “fixed” the ball.
I don’t know anything about German, but I doubt that there is in that language of central philosophers and apologists an equivalent of “reform” (Google tells me that in German it would be “reform”, as in English “to reform”, but watch yourself once It is not the same as a “fix”). I said earlier that our players are talented, and so are the Germans. What Germans don’t consider “handsome” or “handsome”. Yesterday we lost not for lack of talent, but because of excess skill. Defeat was not the payment for our sins, but a natural consequence of our virtues. The defeat was the culmination of our art of baroque football boots.
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