It’s Saturday. I have to remind myself because all day yesterday I thought it was Thursday. Even though coach Bernie set me straight last night I still only set my alarm for Friday, so me and my roommate overslept and were an hour late for breakfast. So it’s Saturday.
In the restaurant I met a player from the Somalian team, who actually is from Toronto and said a few of their players are from the United States.
After breakfast (more crepes and some cereal) and lunch (more tajine and some chicken on a stick) I got caught up on some writing and went online to see what was happening in the rest of the world.
Today’s first game between Guatemala and Ivory Coast was postponed until October 11 because Guatemala has been stymied in their attempts to get here.
The WMF tried to stream the games on Facebook Live last night, but that crashed and they went with a YouTube stream. When it comes to streaming everyone has a different experience on their own devices, but for me the best link is on Nessma Sport.
The first action came from Australia and Argentina, with the Aussies grabbing a 5-1 win punctuated by two empty nets goals. Next up was Bosnia and Herzegovina against Russia. Russia took a 1-0 lead but B&H came back to win, 2-1. Mexico, one of the tournament favorites, played a scoreless first half against Iraq and finally scored in the second half and then mostly killed the clock, eventually coming away with a 2-0 win. Next up, USA vs. Spain.
The US were ready, and not overconfident, but received a jolt when Spain scored twice in the first 10 minutes to go up 2-0, which is how the 25 minute first half ended.
Franck Tayou gave the US life seven minutes into the second half when he cut across the middle and fired a rocket near-side to cut the lead to 2-1. The weight was only lifted temporarily as Spain scored two minutes later, and again a minute after that to make it 4-1.
In a metaphor for the game, the US took a throw in and all the lights in the stadium went out. The LED ribbon and the music stayed on. Apparently a neighboring house had a problem and the power company cut the power for 10 seconds and restarted it. The LED and the music have a 30 second reserve so they were unaffected, but the lights can only turn on when they are cool, so there was a 10 minute delay for the lights to cool down and then fire up again.
Israel Sesay scored on a rare minifootball rebound on a ball off the post, but Spain answered again to go up 5-2.
Franck Tayou spun and hit a bouncing shot that found its way into the net to cut the deficit to 5-3 with 15 minutes left, but the US could not score again despite a furious series of corner kicks and a late power play when Spain got a red card which requires a team to play a man down for five minutes, but the red card occurred in the final five minutes so the US power play was truncated.
After the game the mood was heavy. Everyone went to dinner. Each player deals with losing in his own way and time. For the first time, I smoked a hookah in the hotel bar (when in Tunisia…) and a few of us chopped it up for a while. After about 10 minutes of dancing in the hotel’s nearly deserted club, we called it a night.