Yesteday I was lucky enough to attend the two final games of the FIFA Under 20 World Cup. It was a fantastic experience. So far I haven’t been able to get to a Toronto FC game so this was my first visit to the new stadium as well. It is perfect. Small enough to seem intimate but big enough to be loud as hell and look professional. Seeing this only highlighted in my mind the need for a new outdoor preferrably waterfront stadium in Toronto for the Jays and Argos. Unfortunately we’re probably stuck with the sterile monstrousity that is the Skydome/Centre Rogers for many years. Enough about that, lets get to the action.
The bronze medal game was between Chile and Austria. I’m pretty sure you already know that Chile’s team was involved in a pretty insane altercation with the cops after the last game which led to some hostility from Chilean fans outside the stadium but perhaps they were just pissed they couldn’t get seats and were trying to watch from there. The game was pretty entertaining. My favourite part was watching this one flashy Chilean forward who absolutely refused to pass. He must have gone on at least ten runs, making fantastic moves only to be stripped of the ball when it mattered. He also had the most boss rat-tail I’ve seen in a while. I think that the rat-tail is becoming the new mullet in soccer. The mullet has just become to mainstream and boring for these guys.
The final game got off to a very slow start. The Czech and Argentine players both seemed unwilling to give an inch. A yellow card was given less than a minute into the game and the ref did not stop issuing them. In all 10 yellow’s were given along with millions of free kicks forced by ferocious diving from both sides. The first goal was a beauty, perhaps the nicest of the tournament which came early in the second half. A left footed volley from Fenin of the Czech Republic. The honeymoon didn’t last long as Argentina scored almost immediately. They then went ahead with just minutes remaining to ice a game and tournament that they truly deserved to win. They were the strongest side and I’m sure many of their players will go on to be dominant for years to come. The celebration that ensued was something that cannot be described. In fact, it’s quite possible that the players are still running around the stadium shirtless doing choreographed group headfirst slides into their collection of trophies. They even grabbed drums from their fans and put on an impromptu concert while receiving their medals. The highlight was when one fan jumped onto the pitch to join the team celebrating at one goal. He was surrounded by the team and security was unable to grab him. Eventually players shielded him all the way back to the stands where he lept back in unscathed. Here’s a video of the goals from the final if you’re interested. When I think soccer I think Blink 182.
All in all it was a great day. Viewing scantily clad beautiful South American fans, yelling at adolescent youth for their dramatic flair and poor choice in barbers, and overindulging in massive overpriced beers definitely have their merits.