“Oops they did it again.” I said to myself after watching the disaster of a game the Iranians played against Mexico. Lasting for 70 minutes, they let themselves get humiliated in the last 20 minutes of the match.
Mexico's second goal, which by the way, destroyed the morale of the Iranian squad, was scored in part, due to an Iranian defender's inability to stop the ball right outside of the 18-yard box. The Mexican side nimbly capitalized on the mistake and pushed the ball past the poor goalkeeper and caused the Mexican Nation to jump for joy. Good for them.
This skill of stopping descending air balls under one's foot is something that succesive Iranian teams have been lacking for as long as I can remember. All other teams seem to know how to do it but not us. Our players need an area 2 meters in radius to bring air balls under control. I'm beginning to think it's something genetic and as such, can't be fixed.
Please forgive my Monday morning quarterbacking but do try to understand that like millions of others, I've been counting the days for the World Cup to begin. Heck I went and bought a giant plasma TV just for the occasion. And to see our national team get clubbered in this fashion in their opening match hurts hard and deep.
Come to think of it, the qualifying rounds have always been more exciting for me than the actual tournament itself. Iran's performance has consistantly been dismal at their World Cup appearances and I doubt -judging by this anticlimactic first match- that this tournament would be any different. Three games and go to the hotel room packing, as usual.
Ok, I admit it. The match against America in 1998 was an exception. But that victory was more of an act of God than anything else.
I remember in 1980, when the American hostage rescue mission failed in the deserts of Khorasan, Robin Wright, the esteemed American journalist bewilderedly said in one of her TV interviews, and I am paraphrasing here: “… maybe God is on their side.”
And God was on our side too in 1998 when we pulled that upset against the Americans in the soccer field. It had to be, and it was. The whole world was watching and the collective will of “oppressed” had to prevail and it did.
Things are different, though, these days. With the grave threat of an Ahmadinejad trip to Germany looming over the host country if Iran makes it to the next round, every effort will be made to stop this from happening. Can you imagin our beloved president being greeted by neo-nazis at the Berlin Airport, then being taken to the spot over Hitler's bunker to lay a reef?
I digress. I'm just flat tired of getting disppointed every time our national team makes it to the World Cup. It's the same story repeating itself time and time again. We don't play in the same league as the Europeans, the Americans, or even the Africans. We have a third-rate team that cannot make miracles happen. So let's stop expecting the impossible and get on with our lives.