“If this is the game of the people, they need stars.” — FIFA president Sepp Blatter, defending the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid.
O’BRIENS, Santa Monica — Words form sentences, some of which are coherent …
“It’s not easy to play with Portugal. They have world-known players and they’re one of the favourites of the tournament.” — Turkey coach Fatih Terim, after his side lost 2-nil to Portugal.
Some day, I may actually get to watch the European Championships, or World Cup, or both, in person. But for now, I must settle for enjoying the action as best as possible from fun locations in the area. This is a running diary of the experience.
Day: Saturday, June 7
Location: The Field
City: San Diego
What we drank: Bloody Marys, which were excellent, thus furthering a hypothesis to conclusion that Irish pubs make the best Bloody Marys.
What I ate: Bangers and eggs, which would be a delighfully delicious recurring theme for the weekend
Player of the day: Servet Çetin, a defender for Turkey who sports a “don’t dare meet me in a dark alley” look. Fans of his club team, Galatasaray, call Servet “Ayibogan,” which translates appropriately to, “a man who could choke a bear.” It didn’t take long for Servet to make his presence felt. Just 30 seconds into Saturday’s match, the really mean looking Turkish defender gave Cristiano Ronaldo — the concensus choice for the title “best footballer in the world” — a healthy shove to the Stade de Genève turf. Prior to the game, ESPN studio announcers insightfully predicted that Ronaldo would be the most fouled player in the tournament.
The scene: Oh, to have the iron tolerance of somebody who just turned legal drinking age. A group of fellas, who wouldn’t pass the eyeball test of any bouncer at any bar anywhere, sat through both games. Then, after we spent the afternoon at the San Diego Zoo, only to return to The Field hours later for one more tasty, fermented beverage before embarking off to Petco Park to watch the San Diego Padres eventually beat the New York Mets 2-1 with a walk-off homer in the 10th inning, these young lads were still on hand, in the same seats, continuing to drink pints of beer. It is estimated that this group was there for at least nine hours. The Field had that sort of feel of a place where you could feel at home and hang comfortably for an extended period of time.
Why am I doing this? As is my custom during major international soccer tournaments, I will attempt to view as many Euro 2008 games as possible — without jeopardizing employment — from various places, namely sports bars. This is simply a breakdown of the fun for your reading pleasure.