Therein lies one tragedy of football  

Maswood Alam Khan     | Published: June 21, 2018 21:43:41 | Updated: June 21, 2018 22:11:28


Ronaldo strikes again for Portugal in a World Cup match against Morocco on Wednesday

There is nothing that can better define the power of football and make a football fan dance in an ecstasy of joy when seeing the ball hit the back of the net of your opposition team, and make you sob in a frenzy of rage when seeing the opposition score against your team. Goals in football ultimately decide success and failure. But, therein lies one tragedy of football.

Those who have watched the latest 'Morocco Vs Portugal' match of this World Cup must have realised that the present laws and grammars of football are helpless in rewarding a team that doesn't score but play with outstanding finesse.

Every single player of Morocco, the loser of the match, showed brilliance in almost every single move, whereas only one towering player Ronaldo of Portugal, the victor, showed his inherent prowess to dump Morocco by striking one single goal while other fellow Portuguese players were seen spending their jolly time flirting around with the ball.

It was a great goal from Ronaldo but apart from that Portugal looked very ordinary at best. Ronaldo's bravery has never been open to question and the goal came when he plunged into a header. His early goal was the difference between the two teams. It was not all perfect from Ronaldo on an individual level though. He blasted two free-kicks from the edge of the area into the wall while he skied horribly when he ran onto an inviting chance.

Morocco were the better team for most of the match and created an array of chances but they couldn't make a telling chance or touch when it mattered most. Morocco got eliminated from the World Cup despite a gallant display. But they have occupied a place in our heart. Their performances were inspiring, brilliant from almost every player, just wonderful attacking and relentless football that beautified the very complexion of the stadium.

We, however, must congratulate 10.32 million people of Portugal on their victory over Morocco that came 32 years after Morocco defeated Portugal 3-1 in the group stage of the 1986 World Cup. At that tragic moment, when all the people of Portugal were tearing their hair out trying to figure out why they had to face such a humiliating defeat, a Portuguese baby named Cristiano Ronaldo was just16 months old.

Uruguay versus the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) match was vital for survival of both the teams. Initially, we assumed that defeating KSA by Uruguay would be a cakewalk. Uruguay fortunately won, courtesy of a Luis Suarez tap-in at a corner. Yes, our assumption was correct as far as the score (1-0) and luck were concerned. But the tournament was totally devoid of vigour or dash. I've been watching all the World Cup matches burning the midnight oil. This is honestly the first time, like many of my friends, I have been thoroughly bored.

KSA put up more of a fight than they had in their opening 5-0 defeat to Russia but struggled to test Fernando Muslera in the Uruguay goal. Uruguay continued to lead by the only goal of the game, but Saudi Arabia looked like they could play for another two hours and perhaps they decided to not trouble the scoreboard operator. They amazingly forgot that they needed a goal or they were out of the World Cup. They just loved keeping possession of the ball only but had no interest in doing anything with it. KSA were in the field only to defend. Well, Uruguay may have a reason to be defensive. But why Saudi Arabia were guarding their goalpost 'parking the bus' (a football jargon used when all the players play defensively)?

Uruguay, a nation that once was a synonym of football, failed to show any magic or brilliance. Unless and until Uruguay shows some delightful feats in the next tournaments, we would have nothing to sing about them except harping on a piece of their past that 'the first World Cup was played in 1930 and Uruguay was both the tournament host and the winner that year'.

 In the Spain vs Iran match last night, Spain won for the first time at this World Cup, beating Iran 1-0 in Kazan thanks to Diego Costa's goal. As a result, the 2010 winners are level with Portugal at the top of the group. Iran are third, with three points. Costa scored the only goal of the game and it was the result of extraordinary luck, with Ramin Rezaeian's tackle cannoning off the shins of the attacker and flying past Alireza Beiranvand in the Iran goal.

In the second half, Iran thought they had an equaliser when Saeid Ezatolahi crashed the ball home but the midfielder was adjudged offside and a VAR check confirmed the assistant referee's decision. It is not a hilarious moment when someone snatches food from your mouth.

maswood@hotmail.com

Share if you like