The only football I really understand — and like — is Australian Rules football. However, the rules of ‘real football’ (ie, soccer) was explained to me by various football-loving friends in the UK during my years of living there. The off-side rule was explained over a fry-up, with the help of the condiments shuffling around like players. I understand the off-side rule, but I don’t understand the hype about a game that is so low-scoring. So, imagine my surprise when, last Friday night, I was roped into seeing the France vs. Netherlands match at a French pub instead of watching some lovely animated films during the Annecy Animation Festival. I was there with one French man and nine Dutch. To alleviate the boredom I decided to play with my camera.
First up, here’s a photo of what happened when the Dutch team scored a goal:
Notice the unhappy Frenchies and the lack of movement on that side of the room.
No worries. The French team also scored a goal. Can you tell?
Sadly for the French, the game ended in a 4-1 victory to the Netherlands in what turned out to be one of the highest-scoring games I’ve ever avoided watching!
Alas, I did not have my camera with me last night when a friend who had been away for a month asked me out for dinner, followed by the football. Eager to catch up with her, I agreed, and watching the football with her was actually quite entertaining. We sat in a pub, surrounded mostly by men — and one girl who spent the entire match playing on her PSP until her boyfriend, annoyed at France’s inability during the match, told her they were leaving five minutes before the game ended and she obediently packed her game away. Men like to watch. Men like to yell abuse when their team isn’t winning. Men do not like hearing women, like my friend, saying things like: “The Italian player didn’t even touch him” while a French player is writhing on the ground faining agony, or: “France are hopeless”, even if she was right on both accounts. If the French men around her weren’t already annoyed that France were losing the game, she got them there with her comments. What really topped it off was when Italy had some sort of penalty shot at the goal (hey, it’s not Aussie Rules, okay? But I can tell you all about marking and shepherding if I was talking about Aussie Rules), and the Italian player, who had kicked the ball wide of the goal area, managed to score a goal when a French player (possibly Thierry Henry) attempted to divert the ball anyway, and instead, it ricocheted off his head and into the goal, securing Italy’s victory. Had I taken a photo of the French men around me, their faces would have shown the look of unsurprised defeat. Allez les bleus!