So one week on from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, we know that the German team won 1 – 0 against Argentina with a goal by, Mario Gotze, who came on as substitute in the second half. We know that to everyone’s surprise, including the player himself, Lionel Messi won the Golden Ball, given to the best player at the World Cup, and that James Rodriguez, the number 10 of Colombia, won the Golden Boot for the most goals scored at the competition, having scored six goals in five games.
Colombia also won the fair play award, which is very well deserved, and a credit to the way they played and behaved throughout the tournament, both individually and as a group.
Now that the World Cup is over, I’m sure that companies all over the World will see sales and production increase, and absenteeism, due to a plethora of minor ailments, reduce. Sales of alcohol will plunge and those who are addicted to football will wander around dazed for some weeks, wondering what to do to entertain themselves.
And one week later, we once again see celebrations in Colombia, but this time not for a goal scored or a game won, but because the 20th of July is their Independence Day. Actually it hadn’t dawned on me that today was the 20th of July, and I only realised this morning when I went out early to take one of our dogs for a walk and noticed that many people had the Colombian flag gracing their balconies. Even then I had to ask the porter of our building why people were flying the national flag.
It’s not that I don’t know the 20th of July is Independence Day, just that I have a head full of ideas and things to do, and for that reason my cluttered brain hadn’t woken up to the fact that it was the 20th of July and hence Independence day. Usually the day is a national holiday, but as this year it falls on a Sunday, there is no day off from work. Some national holidays here are moved to the nearest Monday, but Independence Day isn’t one of them.
Parades are organised in the major cities and towns to commemorate Independence Day, however, the celebrations are fairly low key, especially compared to the excitement that was evident throughout the country during the Colombia team’s successful World Cup campaign.
For those few weeks while Colombia progressed through the group stage of the World Cup and on to the quarter finals, there was an incredible, invisible, electrifying buzz in the air, in people’s conversations, in the workplace, in supermarkets and on the streets. There were enormous, glowing smiles on people’s faces; there was optimism and hope, as a nation got behind its football team and tried to push them on to victory with collective willpower.
In the end they fell to a Brazilian team that didn’t play nice football, and didn’t allow Colombia to play the exciting, entertaining, flowing football they had been playing in previous games. Losing 2 – 1 though, was in stark contrast to their defeat to Brazil on the 24th of March 1957, when in Lima, Colombia lost 9 -0. The team have come a long way since then.
To win the Golden Boot Award and even more so, the Fair Play Award are testament to the diligence of the players and their Argentine coach and ex midfielder, José Néstor Pékerman Krimen, from Villa Dominguez in the North East of Argentina.
It will be interesting to see if they can build on their successes over the next four years and make an even bigger impact on the world stage at the 2018 World Cup to be held in Russia.
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