Day 12: It Begins to take Shape…
Too tired to offer much this evening…but a few thoughts.
Germany cruised to victory (this afternoon) against an Ecuadorian team who rested a few key players and played as if they were fairly indifferent as to who they faced in the 2nd round (which they probably were). If their opponents (England as it turns out) judge them solely on this half-hearted showing, however, then they may be in for a nasty shock. They are capable (as they showed in their previous two matches) of playing some tidy, attractive, attacking football….and equally capable of some (super) heroic celebrations.
I first thought that the bould Kaviedes (pictured after his goal against Costa Rica) was paying tribute to one of his favourite Lucha Libre wrestlers (or some such) even though such a gesture would, of course, have been more appropriate coming from a Mexican player.1 As it happens, however, the celebration was in memory of a fallen comrade:
His masked-man stunt was a tribute to Otilino Tenorio, a teammate killed in a May 2005 car crash in Ecuador, just three days after he played for his country in an exhibition game at New Jersey's Giants Stadium.
"He is a partner, a friend, a brother who was with us and is a part of us," Kaviedes said. "He was with us a long, long time, and he transferred to us this joy that was very contagious."
Tenorio, whose nickname was "Spider-Man," used to pull the mask from his shorts during his goal celebrations.
"We had a feeling that he was present with us," Carlos Tenorio, who is not related, said through a translator.
It’s gratifying that the normally finicky and punctilious FIFA overlords chose to view the act in the spirit in which it was intended rather than (as seemed likely) punishing Kaviedes for it.
While there were no masked figures to be found tonight in Cologne, England’s closest thing to a superhero – Wayne "Metatarsal Man" Rooney – was back in the starting line-up. While he did (unsurprisingly) inject some much needed life and vitality into an English team that has (up to now) been disappointingly stagnant and one-dimensional, it was Joe Cole’s dynamic performance that particularly caught the eye. England sill look far from the finished article (and a sad, serious injury to Michael Owen will hardly help their cause) but at least they finally showed intermittent flashes of imagination and creativity against the dogged – but mediocre – Swedes.
While I’d still fancy them to (just about) overcome Kaviedes and Ecuador, a potential ¼ final against Argentina may (as it did in 1986) spell the end of this particular World Cup road.
Germany 3 Ecuador 0
Costa Rica 1 Poland 2
- There may well be a well-developed Lucha Libre style wrestling scene in Ecuador that I'm unaware of. [back]
June 20, 2006