The dust has settled on the World Cup with a final that befitted the rest of the tournament: littered with fouls, play-acting, whingeing footballers, and leaving the referee with no option but to hand out cards like it was Christmas.
Now, I’m no professional footballer, what with the closest I got being a Sunday afternoon over 20 years ago where, along with a few mates, we broke into Dixon Park, the home of Ballyclare Comrades FC and played headers and volleys for a couple of hours until the village idiot saw us and phoned the police.
But what I do know is that the 120 minutes of football that a third of the world’s population tuned in to watch was an awful advert for the game that we all love so much.
From comedy villain Mark van Bommel and his tackles that were so late they could have been from a different time zone to de Jong opening a can of whoopass Jackie Chan style on Alonso, the Oranje successfully managed to break up the Spanish pass-pass-pass-pass-pass-pass-
Then, with the clock winding down and the game looking like it was inevitably going to be decided by the dreaded penalty shoot-out (BTW – did you know the man who introduced the penalty kick into football was from Northern Ireland?) until, with 4 minutes left of extra time, up stepped Iniesta to crash home a volley which crushed the hopes of the Orangemen but must surely have been well-received by neutrals the world over.
Spain are the World Cup winners for the first time, the Netherlands are left as losing finalists for the third time. Which incidentally, won me 140 dollars for a cheeky 20 dollar bet that I placed a few weeks ago on Spain to win the tournament. Which just about covers all the other bets / sweeps that I've taken part in....
In the weekend’s other game (which was actually probably one of the better games of the tournament), Germany took third spot after beating Uruguay 3-2.
All of which leaves us with the sweepstake results:
1st Natalie (Spain) 150 AUD
2nd Ross (Netherlands) 90 AUD
3rd Yoppy (Germany) 50 AUD
4th Andrew (Uruguay) 30 AUD
Yours in Football.