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36 matches in less than 2 weeks to get to the straight fight phase. It doesn’t matter if you have been waiting for this moment all spring, or if you don’t even know why one foul deserves a penalty and another doesn’t: at least once, you will have to sit on the sofa and enjoy a boring match.
National anthems are playing. The teams are on the field, the tension is growing. Starting whistle: for 10 minutes no one can be quiet on the sofa. Shouting, backing, comments: pass me a drink! And then, if nothing in particular has happened already, the voices fade away and silence falls on the room.
You start looking around, everyone seems absent-minded. You take your mobile out of the pocket. You open Instagram; there’s nothing interesting on your profile. Twitter on the contrary seems quite busy: all hashtags are for the match. Two, three texts every second. Everyone wants to comment, the people of the showbusiness seem to compete to make the funniest joke and catch the attention of the public. The only sure thing is that you are not the only one who thinks the match is really boring.
There is a reason why midfielders usually don’t become as famous as strikers. When the ball stays in their area for too long, the tension slackens, the match turns into a war of attrition and for the public it just becomes…boring.
And there you are, your team doesn’t leave the midfield and time goes as fast as when you are trapped in a traffic jam. And suddenly the tweets are so many, but not so fun. You notice that someone in the living room is talking about people that are not with you tonight. Gossip. Someone goes to the bathroom, someone else to the kitchen. Technical comments become reproaches. Halftime is over, you hear a yawn. The host comes back from the kitchen with a box in his hands: “I ordered it last week, shall we try it?”
It’s a cocktail set, shaker included. All the eyes in the room are suddenly glowing and the mobiles are on the table. The treasure hunt for bottles and sodas has begun. One of you, sitting in the best place on the sofa, right in front of the TV, abandons his spot to run home and come back with three bottles he received as a present for Christmas.
While commentators try in vain to make a wrong pass seem interesting, the night finally has a new rhythm. Ten minutes later, the first cocktails are ready. On the table suddenly there are trays and containers full of tapas and some random guy has just delivered Thai food and got a Long Island as a tip (and you see him from the window, riding his bike happily in the desert streets on a night when the national team is playing).
The teams are back on the field, the game restarts. Two football extremists remain stubbornly sit in the centre of the sofa (with two White Russians in their hands), everyone else is on the terrace by now, bustling about with charcoal packs to light the barbecue. The commenter screams, everybody turns the head to the TV but the ball is at least three metres above the crossbar. The chit-chat restarts.
On the field, someone leaves the bench; on the terrace someone sit down on it. Your host had to line up also the stools and the first meat skewers are already served. The delicious smell of the barbecue spread in the neighbourhood, the shaker enlivens your night. Someone suddenly remembers that there is a match going on e shout to the extremists on the sofa: “call us if something happens,” but there’s no answer.
Who would ever imagine that a football match of the National team could be so fun?