Friday, 20 June 2008

Crises of Heroes - Portugal Bites Dust - Euro2008

And so it had to happen and did. Portugal, for all the hype surrounding Christiano, are out of the European Cup in the opening quarter final match of the championship against Germany(20 June 0015 IST). The score 3-2 in favour of coach Lowe's boys.

Coming to think of it, Portugal provided a good example of how not to play a Championship match. Everyone thought of himself as a hero in the game. Everyone wanted to score a goal - never mind more well-positioned players. As a result the forwards hardly made very many decisive passes, they dithered ad nauseum near the goal as if they were out for a picnic.

Compare this to the German blitzkreig on the counter attack and the first goal with wall to wall passing down the left flank with Shweinsteiger slamming it through. 'Two goals in four minutes' burbled Tony the commentator. After Klose's header, Portugal never recovered. Even when they scored through captain Nuno Gomez and later through Postiga, the attempts seemed only half-hearted.

At the end of the game the commentator was still speculating wildly whether Christiano would continue playing for ManU or moving to Real Madrid. Clearly the game could wait. The national team could find other scorers and well, players made much more playing for their Clubs.

Yes these are the heroes we have crippled with our adulation. Heavily-marked, like zombies they move across the field trying to clutch a stray ball, operating as it were on an Arnoldian darkling plain where ignorant armies clash by night.

It is disappointing and sad, because Portugal have so much of talent. But talent itself is not enough. It is the team that matters.

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