“Wowwy wow wow!!!”
This text message came clattering over my cell phone at 4:17 PM, Foley’s time.
“Shades of Nicola Caricola” hit my screen at 4:18 PM, from a correspondent who shall be identified as Doug From Florida.
Both were noting the own goal in far-off São Paolo, greeted with mostly horror by the large crowd in the Irish baseball pub on New York’s W. 33 st.
Many of the patrons were wearing the familiar yellow jersey or t-shirt. As somebody at our table said, everybody’s default position in the World Cup is Brazil. (Except Argentines.)
The “Wowwy wow wow!!!” speaks for itself, but the “Nicola Caricola” in question was an old Juventus player who became legendary by making an own goal in the very first game for the MetroStars, from which the franchise is still recovering.
In jam-packed Foley’s, there was the frisson of danger that Croatia might profit from the own goal propelled into the net by Marcelo of Brazil.
Some of us at the table spent a few minutes telling the tragic tale of Andrés Escobar of Colombia who scored an own goal against the United States in 1994 and was gunned down in a parking lot when he got back home.
Before long, Brazilian talent and the referee's hasty whistle for a penalty kick combined for a 3-1 victory for the host team.
Finally, they were playing the World Cup. I was hoping that Brazilians would make their points about the brutal costs imposed by FIFA for holding the World Cup, and yet balance it with their love of futebol.
I have been thinking that Brazil players would be somehow affected by the demonstrations planned around the country, but on the first day the yellow jerseys swarmed. Neymar carried himself with the assurance of a young man who knows he is handsome and talented. Not sure he meant to hit a slow grass-skimmer inside the right post, but that may be the way life works for Neymar.
I sold a couple dozen copies of my new book about the eight World Cups I covered, hung out with old friends from Hofstra and elsewhere, met some really nice people.
For the duration of the World Cup, I'll be commenting on the matches here and there on a daily basis. Reactions and Comments are more than welcome. Muito obrigado.
David Vecsey's sweet tale of distant love before the Web, now NYT Podcast, narrated by Griffin Dunne. Please see:
George Vecsey is Hofstra University's Alumnus of the Month! Read a Q&A with George here.