FIFA World Cup

A dramatic retelling of a FIFA World Cup match

Author: Aditi Chandrasekar

The day was the 16th of June in the year 2018. The time was 11:00 PM. The deep-voiced reporter on my tiny television was talking to an Icelander. “So, do you think Iceland is going to win today?” he asked in a jubilant voice. The reply came almost immediately-a flat voice saying, “No way. Argentina has Messi.” 

Indeed, it was going to be a David and Goliath contest. The hours preceding the match saw a lot of buzz about the possibility of Messi equalizing Ronaldo’s hat-trick in the previous day’s match. Some were ambitious enough to hope for a 4, or 5 goal streak in the match. The teams were now walking onto the field. All I felt, as the camera swept towards Lionel Messi, was a weak anxiety. The world was watching him expectantly. 

The referee’s whistle sounded and the first “thwack” on the ball reverberated through the stadium. As the match progressed, I felt my heart slowly sinking into my stomach. Iceland was dominating. Within the first 9 minutes, they had already made two very close shots. On the white and blue side, Messi missed two shots within the first 7 minutes.

Just as all hope seemed to be lost, Sergio Aguero scored his very first world cup goal quite brilliantly. The only thought that crossed my mind though, as the camera panned across everyone’s elated faces, was that Jorge Sampaoli, the Argentinian manager, looked like an ecstatic glazed donut. Instantly, I felt the need to jot this down in a notebook, and I did. My mind was already cultivating an idea for a comic based on all the football veterans as foods. Icelander Finnbogason’s nutmeg goal snapped me back to reality. My mind reeled with questions as the blond haired beauty broke into a celebratory run-Was this really happening? Could Iceland actually beat 3-time world cup champions Argentina? Should I make Maradona a burnt macaroon in my comic?

Soon, my mild opposition towards Iceland started getting tainted with real hatred. 

The ball rolled towards Messi, as though in dramatic slow motion. It fell onto the side of his stud and I let out a long sigh. A loose first touch was the last thing their team needed. Iceland seemed to be more and more determined to park the bus, as the Argentinian forwards openly struggled. In the struggle however, a hand ball by Iceland offered a glint of hope. But just as quickly as the happiness arrived, it escaped. The referee disregarded the hand ball.

I wondered with vain, if this was the ref’s way of apologizing for raking his heels against Icelander Gunnarson’s studs earlier in the match.

As the minutes passed, the nightmares rolled by, one after another. Messi’s penalty kick missed. Messi’s free kick missed. 

The match ended with a saddening free kick miss by Argentina. I sat through the panel discussion that now played on the TV, weighed down by sorrow- “Iceland will feel like the victors in the match even though it was a draw”, “Credit must be given to Halldorsson for being a good goalkeeper.” and other sentences that bounced off my unfeeling self. 

I retired to sleep, telling myself that Argentina would be back on their feet soon enough, unaware of the sad future that lay ahead for them in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

 

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