|Gratuitous photo of Diego Forlán, who didn't even play yesterday|
I must tell you that I cheer for Brazil in the World Cup. Always. Yes, I am American and I feel almost bad about cheering for another country, but I love how much this country loves the World Cup. I didn't even know what it was until I was 20 years old and the World Cup was playing down the road from me in Palo Alto. I am not alone among the Americans. Though I still do not love the game (unless played by my six year olds!), I am entertained by the spectacle.
The second team I cheer for is the Netherlands. It's in my genes. They wear orange. I like orange. The third team is Uruguay...and this brings me closer to my point. In 2010, I went to the World Cup in South Africa and watched most of the games even when back in Brazil. And I saw a player named Diego Forlán, from Uruguay. He played the Cup with a joy and skill way beyond how he played in the regular season (this all my friends tell me). He ended up being MVP of the Cup, and I started following Uruguay, a teeny tiny country (pop. 3.4 million) with a noble World Cup history (2 titles).
So last night was the final night of deciding which four teams qualify for the Cup from South America. In one of those complex soccer statistical things, Uruguay had to beat Argentina (the leader in South America), and Ecuador or Chile had to lose rather than tie, and then they had to get six or four or something more goals than Chile or Ecuador (clearly I am at the very limit of my knowledge). Uruguay won, and Ecuador lost but Uruguay did not have the required number of goals to be the fourth team to qualify. So what next?
Well, the fifth team in Asia gets to play the fifth team in South America in a winner-take-all playoff (2 games). In Brazilian, it is not a playoff but a "repescagem". Literally translated this is to "pescar outra vez" or "fish another time."
Personally, I would like to translate it as "go fish" which some of you may know as a card game in the US (and maybe other places). I love "repescagem"--it sounds so much more fun than a playoff--I can almost picture the teams with fishing poles.
Uruguay will meet Jordan. Hopefully they'll let Diego Forlan off the bench. Someone needs to relieve that arm-muncher Suarez once in a while.
Awaiting comments from my soccer genius fan base about how many things I got wrong here. I got "repescagem" totally right though.