Sunday, July 15, 2018

Going Forth in Croatia

Our first full day in Croatia was so very lovely. The only sad aspects were that it was day 47 which means that I'm approaching 90% complete on this holiday and that England lost another World Cup match.

Boat Trip

Breakfast was a buffet style affair with freshly cooked eggs (in omlette form) as an optional extra. It was a bit of a rush at the end as we had to get to the dock to catch our 8:30 am boat trip to do a bit of snorkelling.

We arrived a little early and soon were waiting for the boat crews to come and whisk us off across the sea.

It was a great half-day trip with three, one hour stops punctuated by three twenty minute high-speed boat rides.

Off for a boat trip

On Trogir

Trogir FC

The Blue Lagoon snorkeling destination was, truth be known, a bit disappointing. It's a beautiful spot and the water is crystal clear but there's just not much to see in the way of marine flora and fauna. I guess we're just lucky having Rottnest Island on our doorstep.

The third and final stop was at a lovely Pasarela restaurant on the shore of the island of Sholta at the port of Rogach.

Snapper was delicious

After eating - time for a dip

We got back just in time to get changed and find a bar to watch the Belgium v England Bronze play off.

Professor Google to the rescue here. It was a cute little place just around the block from us and Leb and me got great seats for the match.

Lb and me get ready for Belgium v England

The match was an anti-climax. After quite a bright start, England's defence seemed to be asleep at the key moment to allow Belgium take an early lead.

After England went behind against Croatia, our lovely, ever optimistic, friend Gerry Touhey from Penn kept reassuring us that "it'll be alright" - so Leb and me both repeated those words as the replay was being shown, and... another Gerry catch-phrase "Love him!"

As it turned out it nearly was all right, or at least it should have been because for most of the rest of the game England dominated possession and the chance stats.

Unfortunately, it's a cruel game and as the clock was ticking down and England continued to press for the equaliser, Belgium scored a quite brilliant breakaway goal to seal their second victory over us in the world cup and 3rd place.

Not that anyone seemed to mind. The whole game was played at quite a pedestrian pace and the celebrations were more like a friendly than a World Cup final.

I wish players and fans would take these games more seriously. If you can't get excited about playing for 3rd place in the World Cup, why are you bothered about anything? Is it really all about winning and nothing else? It's an attitude that reminds me of a spoilt six year old.

"If I don't win at Monopoly I'm not playing."

I'll go on about this one last time. I think all 32 teams should have stayed and been playing in their own final tie at the end of World Cup.

Am I the only football fan in the world who would have relished such a final set of finals such as this...

... These are the matches that I think would been the final set if each "loser" had played an equivalent game to each winner and the higher ranking FIFA team would have won.

I would have loved it.

It would also mean we'd get a final table where all the teams would have played seven games. It might have ended up looking like this...

Not so good for England, but a bit of consolation for Brazil, Germany, Peru et cetera.

As well as golden goal, golden boot, there could be a prize for the team that won the half that didn't qualify, the losers of the last 16 and losers of the quarter finals. If this sounds a bit "politically correct" like giving kids lots of prizes in school to build up their self-esteem, that's because it is exactly what's needed in this celebration of the world coming together over football.

In a nutshell, surely, please, it shouldn't only be about winning.

Right. Having said that... today is World Cup final day and here I am in Croatia to witness their first one ever. I can't decide who to go for. I feel torn because Darry and my French relatives will all be backing Les Blues, of course. Normally, that alone would be enough to guarantee my support. But France have won the World Cup before whereas Croatia haven't. In the spirit of egalite, I think I'm going to be backing Croatia.

So... Darry et al, if you're reading this...

"Je suis très désolé France, mais c'est la Croatie pour moi aujourd'hui!"

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