Friday, June 29, 2007

USA vs. Argentina - match report

We arrived at the stadium in Maracaibo and received a pretty tranquil reception (read: nobody spoke to us and pretty much ignored our reception). We quickly learned that we needed to enter the stadium on the opposite side from where we were so yet another Bataan death march (mick, here is your s-o, now piss off) was in our future. Along said march, our experience transformed into my ususal expereince when soccer-travelling: other fans wanted to take pictures with us and pretty much every news crew wanted to interview us. Here was a problem - we speak limited spanish. Here was a solution - Luis aka C-3PO. Luis became the official translator and consequently should have been on every news channel in the spanish speaking world. My buddy Joe from Nolita House sent me a text saying we were on fox sports espanol.

The paraguay-colombia match was pretty awesome. 5 solid counterattacking goals. That scares me for our match against them. The result was much to the dismay of the then pro-colombian crowd.

By far, the biggest highlight before the Argentines took the pitch was the arrival of Diego Maradona. He was less than 100 feet from us. It was amazing. To be near to arguably the greatest jugador of all time definitely stirred something inside me. Turns out, that feeling was something else. The toilets in the stadium did not come equipped with seats. Or, alternatively, they did and some englishman took them and put them around his head.

Key thing I've forgot to mention up till this point is that it is illegal to sell beer anywhere near the stadium. I blame the loss on sobriety.

Apparently the national anthems are not that important as they cut both the Argentinian and US anthems short. The bombs did not burst in the air (shouldn't they be bursting on the ground anyway?). I went batshit when we scored, much to the amusement of several other spectators in our VIP section. By the time I finished popping up the 1-nil post, we were level.

After the match was decided (re 2-1), the venezolanos broke out with chants of "Libertad! Libertad!" which means "Liberty" and something that meant "the government will fall". A venezuelan who lives in Alabama explained to us that the state of Zulia, the state in which Maracaibo sits, is very much anti-chavez and that the chants were triggered by the prime minister's arrival. It was one of the more amazing experiences I've had - to be in the midst of people openly demanding revolution. The alabaman could not help but to join in passionately, despite his parents trying to silence and protect him.

Ben olsen was the MOTM for the US boys for me.

On the way out, we celebrated with some Argies and did more interviews, one with a Thai tv station that Luis thought was from Korea. The look on the reporter's face when I let out a "Dae Ha Min Gook!" was priceless.
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1 comment:

Todd said...

Very cool blog post, please keep them coming. Will you be going to all three matches we have scheduled for Copa?