I can’t believe that I’m actually writing about football here. Not what I think about football like my previous posts (see Every Little Thing He Does Is Magic). Not tips for guys how to make peace with their partner when they want to watch football. But really, I’m talking about the biggest game happened in Scotland.
Yes. Scotland vs. Italy. Last Saturday. In Glasgow.
Those of you might wonder, have I gone nuts? Did Stuart tie me on a sofa to make me watch it? Did he drug me or buy me expensive gifts to get me to be patience for 90 minutes? Have I become a geezer bird?
No, my dear friends. I’m mentally and physically perfectly fine and healthy, and I decided to watch the game, or for more precise, to watch the game with my laptop on (which means I would glance at telly every 5 minutes), because it was so huge the whole nation kept talking about it a month before the match and is still talking about it, so it’s difficult to not get infatuated by the whole thing. When Stuart said it’s an important game, this time I know it was.
Those of you who care less about football, let me give you the background a little bit. This is EUFA European Football Championship 2008 qualification. If Scotland beat Italy they will qualify for Euro 2008. If they lose then Italy and France will book their places at the finals. Should they draw, Scotland will need Ukraine to beat France at home on 21 November. A big dream for Scotland. Probably as big as Indonesia’s dream to grace Asian Games with gold medal in any other sport rather than badminton.
Before you ask, I also have asked this question to Stuart many times. This is EUFA. Which means European countries: France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, etc. But why do we play as Scotland, Wales, and England? We should play as the UK. This is like Singapore vs. Java, not Singapore vs. Indonesia. But Stuart insisted that Scotland is a country. Which brings the confusion back (read my dad’s torturing questions in Where is Scotland posting).
Anyway, since Scotland beat France 1-0, the hope that Scotland might be participating in EUFA for the first time in decades started to arise. So the last game of Scotland vs. Italy was hugely anticipating.
Now, if you live in this planet, you’d know that Italy is a powerful team. Plus the players are cute. So just for fun, because I know how nervous all the Scots were about the match, last Saturday I sent an SMS to GG saying that I support Italy. He replied saying that he would stop talking to me if I keep supporting Italy. Stuart, of course backed this up, cruelly threatened for a divorce. Oh dear. Rocky sent a cheeky text saying that he’d watch the game and let me know if Italy won. Ecky immediately said she’d support Italy (didn’t I mention that Italy’s players are cute?). Stuart of course wasn’t happy. Hours passed and he became more nervous. His friend Decky was on the bus to Glasgow to support Scotland, along with another 60,000 fans. And Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, who’s Scottish.
At least I can sing along with The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 miles). Why this song becomes a Scottish song, I have no idea. It’s not a national anthem but the crowd in Hampden Stadium sang this song many times.
Italy scored a goal in the first 73 seconds, when I just got up from chair to get some water in the kitchen, sent the whole nation in shock. Stuart screamed so loud when Scotland made a goal and when the score 1-1 until 90 minutes people believe that draw is good enough. Not quiet though. I was actually watching the telly when the Italians struck again in the 91st minute to shatter Scotland’s dream.
There was a huge silence in the living room. 30 Seconds later Stuart’s mobile was beeping. Decky reported, live from Hampden Stadium. He was crying, as well as the rest of 60,000 tartan army in the stadium and probably in every pub in Scotland.
Almost 30 minutes after the final whistle, the Scottish players reappeared for a lap of honour, and indeed it was heartbreaking to see a bitter twist like that. Even I almost cried. I said almost, because the whole crowd in the stadium was very emotional, but the camera went along to see the most of the fans really cried. Which I think is funny. Men are difficult to show their emotion. Except during sports match.
Rocky sent text (he apparently woke up all night watching the game, thank you darling), saying: “Nit, tell Stu, it’s so near, yet so far“.
Another empty summer for Scotland indeed. But as all the newspaper put on their front page, the message to the Scottish players are loud and clear: you’ve done us proud.