Argentina performed with such ineptitude and lack of enthusiasm...
I decided to stay indoors. News was that the hunt had begun early to find virgins and I didn’t want to be caught out again like I was last year. The giant wicker man, stitched together with fishing line and bits of flotsam and jetsam, including empty tin cans and discarded barbeque foil trays, looked more like an odd but interesting home concept from Kevin Mcloud’s Channel 4 roadshow, Groan and Design, than it did as an idol to be worshipped.
On the beach they gathered in their tens and possibly twenty somethings. Tall thin druids and scruffy pagans playing guitars badly whilst overweight women festooned in flowers lifted from the nearby rock gardens danced barefoot waving their arms in the air and supping cheap cider.
“A new age!” they yelled to the sky, each other and passing dog walkers. “The Old Ones are returning!”
They continued their twirling and howling until someone called Breeze turned up and reminded one of the festooned pagans that her babysitter had just texted her to say could she come home early because little Sapphire Tangleroot had eaten too much pizza and was busily dispensing her innards onto the wild hemp macramé living room rug.
Whilst Breeze was delivering the message and Sapphire Tangleroot was redelivering the pizza, the Argentinian national coach was delivery an equally colourful array of tasteless verbal abuse from the touchline to anyone within earshot. Unfortunately, unlike the regurgitated pizza being yielded to free little Sapphy’s delicate stomach of over processed junk, the coach’s painful mantra couldn’t relieve the abomination that was fast growing in the stomachs of his players: defeat.
Argentina performed with such ineptitude and lack of enthusiasm that even the drunken druids on the beach could have beaten them with one arm and their beards tied behind their backs. So lacklustre and disjointed was the Argentinian performance that, inevitably, they spent more time kicking their opponents than they did the ball. High tackles, lunges, slaps, tugs and stamping abounded across the whole pitch and it was more a case of Mid-Summer murders on show rather than the beautiful game.
The Argentinian goalkeeper, Caballero, proved the ass of the night. In true machismo style he casually attempted to chip the ball over an advancing opponent’s head to one of his shell shocked defenders only to spoon it straight onto the said opponent’s lethal right foot who calmly teed the shot up before pulling the trigger. The resulting shot crashed like a large marble flung from a slingshot into the top of the Argentinian net with Caballero on his hands and knees watching hopelessly on. As were the whole of the Argentinian defence who’d decided some time ago not to bother running back to defend. Or chase lost causes.
Overweight ex drug dealer and hand of good beneficiary, Maradona, was reduced to tears. It’s difficult to say whether it was through utter disbelief at the unprofessionalism of one of South America’s finest football teams falling apart before his eyes. Or sheer disdain that his fellow country could stoop to such despicable tactics in order to win a game they clearly had no chance of winning any other way.
The sight of the once mercurial centre forward in replica team shirt carrying extra poundage with his head in his hands was proof that there is indeed a god. And as is their wont, gods play tricks on those they once loved. Take back their gifts without warning and bestow them on others, like Luka Modric the Croatian midfielder whose scintillating second half strike done for the Argentinians what wooden steaks with a garlic chaser done for Dracula. Fresh blood is a definite must if Argentina crave resurrection from the grave they clearly dug for themselves and wish to progress into the next round. Sacrifices will doubtlessly be high on the menu.
The summer solstice delivers its magic spell in uneven portions onto unsuspecting shoulders both broad and well rounded. The longest day turned into the longest night for some, most notably the Argentinian team and their followers and 2018 will be etched on the minds of those brave enough to venture out into its bewitching air.
I chose to watch the sacrifice on TV along with the wailing and screaming that accompanied it instead of taking part in the one on the beach nearby. Maybe the gods were angry. Maybe they were drunk or just didn’t care. The Argentinian side sunk to unknown depths whilst Croatia rose like a mighty footballing phoenix, a European side ready to dismantle the South American challenge, studs and all.
If only we could have a solstice at every major sporting event. What dreams, what visions, what carnage would we be witness to then?