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The Hitchcockian, once in a lifetime night of football

  • Published at 09:50 pm June 29th, 2021
Switzerland
From utter despair to sheer joy for a Swiss fan as Switzerland draw level with world champions France after recovering from a two-goal deficit during their Uefa Euro 2020 last 16 match in Bucharest Monday

They say a truly classic football match can be seen once in a full-moon but on that historic night, it occurred twice in the space of a few hours

On the morning of 29th June, 2021, I woke up with sheer disbelief, felt like a hungover and was recalling what happened last night.

I was sure, most of the football fans around the world felt the same as they were spellbound by the most astonishing, surreal, once in a lifetime football night.

It was tantamount to the suspense of Alfred Hitchcock aka the king of suspense, but even the great British auteur director might have been awed by sheer thrill, the saga of comebacks, display of every possible human emotions, triumph of will and tenacity, and the exuberance which mesmerized the world.

And it was not for once, but twice.

They say a truly classic football match can be seen once in a full-moon but on that historic night, it occurred twice in the space of a few hours. 

It would be redundant to recall the results of those unforgettable Euro 2020 matches as everyone, even that hapless friend of mine, who slept and became dumbfounded in the morning, knows Switzerland stunned world champions France by accomplishing a remarkable comeback from a two-goal deficit in the last 10 minutes before winning it on tie-breaker. 

The joy of the belligerent Swiss side created the avalanche of joy and nothing may better illustrate sheer passion of the game than the images of one of their fans.

That anonymous fan, who was seen crying in despair when his team were on the brink of loss, all of a sudden started to roar tearing up his robes when his side completed the remontada, achieving the impossible.

On the other hand, Kylian Mbappe, the superstar French player, who has won global fame and a World Cup at his teen-age, was in the reverse sphere of emotion. 

The game, the great leveler, saw him miss the pivotal penalty shot that eliminated his side and showed him the opposite side of success, glory and fame. 

No wonder, football is called the microcosm of life and it paves the way for all sorts of emotions. 

For Mbappe, redemption is the path to follow as it is one of the finest things if not the finest thing in human life. 

Very few things are as reassuring as watching someone finding the path of salvation through redemption. 

That was the main story of the first match of Hitchcockian football night when Spain won the nerve-wreaking affair where the fate was dwindling like a pendulum.  

Every football fan will remember the classic as a lifetime experience, a tale that will be foretold to future generation innumerous times.

Many will emphasize the remarkable comeback of the Croatia side who surmounted a two-goal deficit in the last 10 minutes to finish the stipulated 90 minutes on 3-3, just to be beaten 5-3 in extra time.

But I will remember it as the redemption of two human beings, two sinners of the holy land, otherwise called football pitch, becoming saints.

Spanish custodian Unai Simon, who committed the most horrendous blunder, a comical howler to make himself the ultimate villain, made the save of his life an hour later not only to deprive a hyper pumped-up Croatia from taking the lead, as well as the tempo and onus, but also inspired his own side to rise from a dilapidated state. 

Simon's transgression from being sinner to a patron saint provided the blessing to his hapless colleague Alvaro Morata. 

The striker, who is trying to accomplish the tough job of filling the shoes of his all-conquering predecessors, one of the finest bunches in football history, miserably failed in the previous matches being under the spotlight as team's main striker. 

The man was abused, faced plethora of trolls, endless humiliations were hurled towards him and he was shattered with the ferocious real life threats.

He was pushed into the nadir of inferno, into the gutter. 

Yet the aforementioned blessing, the heavenly spirit inspired him to score one of the finest and more importantly, one of the most crucial goals in the highest echelon of the game.

The goal with celestial blessing ascended the hapless soul from the gutter straight to paradise amid the jubilation of fans in cloud nine. 

This is football, the greatest fairytale of life, the greatest thriller story of the world. Football, bloody hell!