Ernifer was in sun-baked Europe (even the few hours at Heathrow sprayed some much needed sun on the new Kappotises!) for the Honeymoon.
But the real heat brewing among our new Greek friends was all about the FUTBOL !
Even though the action was stirring 7,500 miles away in Brasil, the Greeks and their media were not only bracing themselves for their national team’s inevitable drama against the Costa Ricans, but were also opening up their national soccer TV channels to embrace and relive some of the history of World Cup Futbol.
Argentinian futbol legend Diego Maradona (source: youtube.com). Maradona lit the stage in USA during the 1994 World Cup, when he was still one of the world’s premiere players.
Maradona led the Argentines to the 1986 Cup in Mexico City. 4 years later, they returned to the Final in Italia, but lost to the Germans.
On Sunday, Maradona’s countrymen will face Deutschland again for the ultimate prize!
So here are my notes from abroad to the North Shore Soccerroos – Brick and Ming:
Monday, June 30, 2014 –
As you know, Jen and I are on our honeymoon in Greece, and we are having a fantastic time!
But I had to take just a few minutes to document some of the World Cup historical notes I’ve picked up during this past week in Europe. Remember, when you’re in Europe during the Cup, futbol is everywhere!
On our British Airways flight to London (double-decker 747 by the way – awesome!), I watched a short film about Pele’s final team – 1970 Brazil – a team that won all six of its qualifying matches and then all seven of its tournament matches. Futbol experts consider this club as one of the finest futbol organizations ever formed. Pele (29 at the time) was discouraged by the Brazilian media to even participate in the tournament. Brazil had won in 1958 – led by 17-year-old Pele. But in 1970 it was widely believed that the superstar was beyond his prime.
But, like Michael Jordan in 1998, rumors of Pele’s demise were greatly exaggerated. Although no longer the capital of Brasil, he was the squad’s inspirational leader and most veteran player. Only 2 other Brazilian teammates outscored Pele over the seven matches of the 1970 Cup, culminating with Brasil’s 4-1 thrashing of Italy in the Brasil-hosted final in which Pele scored his record 100th career World Cup goal – his last.
Then, this morning in Mykonos, after the Greek soccer channel replayed last night’s Costa Rica dramatic penalty shots victory over Greece, they showed the replay of the 1986 Quarterfinal between Diego Maradona and Argentina and England – played in Mexico City.
While Jen and were chatting about the vacation, etc, I noted (just listening to the Greek commentator) how many times Maradona’s name was being mentioned. Jen said that’s all she was hearing, “Maradona, … Maradona …. Maradona”. I said because that guy must always have the ball. So I look up to the screen, and within a few moments, Diego steals the ball, dribbles toward the net, a deflection incurs, and then Maradona punches the ball into the net. It is known as the “Hand of God” goal because the officials didn’t see that his hand touched the ball – obviously illegal.
Then, a few short moments after that, Maradona steals the ball from his British opponent, and starts racing down the field. Approaching the center line, he starts passing Englishman (five or six) on his way to the goal. Then outside the penalty line, he takes aim – sharply netting the ball to the exact opposite end of the goalie. It was unbelievable. They showed the replay like four times – and this was 1986 Greek TV!
Anyway soccerroos, just wanted to share these slices of the World Cup from Europe with you. Enjoy the matches!
And let’s go USA!!!