Saturday, June 30, 2018

Colombia one, Senegal zero, an elegy

I'm pretty sure yesterday in this space I drew a curtain on the group stage of The World Cup and marked fresh a new starting line for the round of 16. But as I write now I only just saw my team, drawn for five dollars in my Library World Cup Pool, Senegal, eliminated from the tournament. They played pretty good and finished tied for second in their group. But alas they went out of The Cup on the decision of some minuscule tie-breaker. I think it was something about Japan having maybe two fewer fouls in The Cup than Senegal.

Well it had to be something.

And among soccer's great raft of structural flaws, ties always jostle aggressively for a good spot in the box. Plus they're tall. Today they scored.

Deep in its heart soccer knows this is a problem. As often as possible it just leaves ties sitting there. But when one absolutely positively needs a winner there's always something nutty that no one thinks is nutty because it's been around forever, like penalty kicks, or some arcane rule about fouls, like the one that just put Japan through and left Senegal behind.

I'm not mad. Like I said, it had to be something. I just want my five dollars back.

So does Africa.

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