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Banbury Cross

a pillow for lost thoughts...

Post details: Reality Czech

Reality Czech

If Robert Louis Stevenson watched today's game (CZE 0, GHA 2), he'd feel compelled to upgrade one of his famous novels to "Ten Dr. Jekylls and Ten Mr. Hides". The Czech Team morphed from a hungry goal machine into a lackluster pack of amateurs with a proficiency that would have drawn appreciative whistles at a werewolf convention.

One of the idiosyncrasies of our national character is certain possessiveness of fortune's goodwill. The moment something nice happens, we tend to huddle around it so that no one (particularly Germans or Russians) would take it away. Hence, after the amazing win over the USA, the game-plan for today's rendez-vous with African soccer was based on reinforcing defenses for that "coveted" 0:0 draw. At least according to our coach. Well, that brilliant strategy worked for about 70 seconds. After that nobody knew what to play.

There were three causes of today's letdown: atrocious passing, atrocious passing and atrocious passing. While the Ghanians made their plays look easy and almost ballet-like, the Czechs were kicking the ball randomly, hoping that "someone" would be there. Even Rosicky would rather run across half the field than pass the ball. After conceding a quick goal, they all tried too hard to dribble into the opponent's goal itself or kept shooting from distances that one normally reserves for astronomy.

Ghana played soccer the way it should be: light footed, resourceful, risk-taking, witty and it must have been as enjoyable to play as it was to watch. The Czech team was obvious, imprecise, static, stereotypical and clinging to their previous fame, rather than trying to win a new one. It was good that in the other game today the nine valiant American men withstood the one man advantage of the Squadra Azzurra and washed away at least some of the foul taste of that awful game.

But in soccer, every day brings a new sunrise. Now that we have no reputation to uphold, we can go back to our original selves and beat the living daylights out of Italy.

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