Friday, June 23, 2006

Honor is at stake in this game. Spain already qualified for round two, and Saudi Arabia is already out.
Saudi Arabia’s price is to write history, beating the Spaniards. On the world cup level, that is all the incentive needed.
The Saudis open the attack, but the Spaniards take control of the game early.
"Spain is kicking the ball around, spreading the Saudi’s thin," says the commentator.
Spain does not find an opening and looses the ball. Ukraine counters and a Spanish defender brushes his elbow into the face of a Ukrainian striker while he heads the ball away. Even though the tournament already has over two hundred yellow cards, the referee did not think this foul was worthy of one more.
Spain creates chances, but looses the ball on crucial moments.
Ukraine looses a man when his muscle did not agree with the Argentinean back heel kick. The medical staff treads him on the sideline.
Raoul, for Spain, accepts a long ball out of the air. He is in the penalty box, to the right of the goal. He tries to out dribble the defender, and nearly succeeds. The defender of Saudi Arabia does not give up, and scrambles the ball from Raoul in a second attempt.
Minutes later Spain shows off more technique. They dribble the ball into the box, like Brazilians. Passing it around sharply, like Argentineans.
"That is another level of soccer," says the commentator. The scoreboard remains empty.
It takes twenty-seven minutes before the referee issues the first yellow card, for an innocent foul. I guess the referee could not hold out any longer.

Spain builds up the pressure on the goal of Saudi Arabia. A Spanish striker out dribbles two Saudi defenders and fires at the goal. The ball gusts over the grass, rising upwards.
"What a save," shouts the commentator when the keeper of Saudi Arabia dives the ball out the air.
"Spain takes over possession," says the commentator.
It is an understatement, Spain is taking over the match, threatening to make it a shoot out.
In the thirty-six minute, they break the score. A high ball is headed in, clinical clean.

"That goal ignited the Spanish," says the commentator, while the fans in the stadium break down the house.
The fans stay on their high the second half, while the Spanish players take some time off.

"Spain is getting a little careless,” says the commentator, while they allow the Saudis to come forward.
In the background, I hear the Spanish commentator from another broadcast station shouting his longs out.
"He gets fired up when he awakes in the morning," says the commentator, realizing his booth is not soundproof.
Ukraine seems to give up towards the end phase, while the Spaniards are happy with the one goal.
"This is lazy soccer," says the commentator.
Maybe somebody told the field, the game heats up in the last minutes. Nevertheless, the score stands.
Spain world cup dreams lives, it was a long time coming.