Thursday, 8 July 2010

Delayed Twitter Coverage of Spain v. Germany - Now in Blogvision

So I didn’t get up this morning for the Spain v. Germany semifinal. A series of very late nights at work counselled against getting up even at the relatively late time of 6.30am, New Zealand time. I just couldn’t do it. And so I recorded the game, and had to watch it sitting at my computer so I could monitor my email and work.

(Yeah, I know: poor dear.)

I wrote already about the dissonance of the delayed coverage, the having to go off the grid because information is everywhere, it’s in the very air we breathe. But try to follow in that manner a game in which nothing happens. It turned out to be a saving grace that this time, half to wallow further in the dissonance, half in preparation of something I might write next week about the World Cup and remediation, I decided to record my impressions of the game on Twitter.

I was surprised to discover after the game was over that this redundant coverage had found an audience, including some of my colleagues here at Minus the Shooting. And so it’s not solely (but let’s face it: mostly) in the spirit of extreme self-indulgence that I reproduce it below.

(At one point of the proceedings, Mark wrote: “reading @gtiso's delayed tweeting on the #ger -#esp game reminds me of the famous quote about Waiting for Godot: nothing happens twice”. Make it three times then.)

Stand by for delayed livetweeting of the Germany v. Spain game

One of the children paired up with the Germans at the anthem towers over Trochowski.

2 min The commentator just revealed the score of the other semifinal. What happened to spoilers?

(The Netherlands won, by the way. Apparently.)

8 min Spain appear to want to do it by walking. Saving themselves for late night post game fun run?

10 min Like watching paint dry so far. Winner meets Pearl Lusta in the final.

15 min Spain brought the ball and they're not letting the German children play. That's bad sharing.

(Also, wait until Adidas hears about this.)

22 min "It's one for the purists here tonight". Translation: the game blows.

30 min Spain shows how you play against Germany. They're young, susceptible to being bored to death.

34 min Boy, they left Villa open with a lifestyle block's worth of space there, pass nowhere near him.

45 min "Gradually, the game began to be something rather more than a mosaic of ill will and sullen fouling." Somebody wrote this about Germany v. Italy of 1982

45 min Gradually, this game is doing no such thing. End of first half. If we had video technology, they'd ask them to replay it.

Spain had never been to a semifinal before. They decided to stick with tradition and not be in one this time either.

Tragic news: the guy who was supposed to put together the first half highlights killed himself. Our thoughts are with his family.

47 min The second half has started. Allegedly.

50 min Xabi Alonso takes a shot and is booked.

51 min "Capdevila always makes himself available". Yeah, not unlike his sister. This game is so boring it's making me sexist.

55 min Commentator guy claims Germany is succeeding in stifling Spain. I would have thought it's the opposite and that Germany came in as heavy favourites

Then again, what the hell do I know?

58 min Oh my God. An actual chance! Villa doesn't connect by a gnat's crotchet. Okay, on replay, maybe two.

63 min What the hell was Podolski doing marking Sergio Ramos? He was lucky not to concede a penalty there.

66 min And we're back to walking. The pace suits Puyol, who's having his portrait painted by a Renaissance master at the back.

69 min Podolski! That was close, the Spanish defence had got its coverage all wrong.

71 min I think I just spotted Samuel Beckett in the crowd.

73 min And just like that Puyol scores! The ball didn't hit his skull at all, just the hair.

75 min I'm going to bore myself just writing it, but Spain has played a game of supreme tactical intelligence so far.

80 min Del Bosque so confident he reckons he can do it with ten men. Torres comes on.

82 min Pedro heard me! He tried to walk it in rather than passing to the wide open Torres. Harsh.

84 min Pedro is taken off and, I must assume, whacked with a ruler by Del Bosque. That was a howler before.

89 min One minute to go. Time added on by my reckoning should be about 80 minutes.

90 min The ref signals just three because he has someplace else to be. I see no other explanation.

93 min Spain has done it! Germany made to look very average. Take a bow, Del Bosque. Take notes, Maradona and Capello. Superb possession football.

Don't get me wrong, still very boring, eh? Tapes of the game to be used as a natural alternative to induce anaesthesia before surgery. But.

Podolski still on the field looking like he's discussing with his mates what just happened. Quite an endearing scene. They'll be back.


  1. One man's boredom is another man's...
    It's interesting how many articles I've read online this evening that share your view. I don't, but I understand. I enjoy watching players run around the pitch like their hair is on fire as a lot of fans do - I watch the EPL - but this was the semi-final of the WC.

    "75 min I'm going to bore myself just writing it, but Spain has played a game of supreme tactical intelligence so far."
    Correct. And they can do it without a hint of diving/cheating (a la the Italians). A pretty stand-up match even if the tempo was a bit like a waltz.

  2. And they can do it without a hint of diving/cheating (a la the Italians)

    Did you have to take two digs at me in the one comment?! I think it's a little gratuitous, considering the appalling piece of diving by Capdevila in the previous game.

    But to reiterate the opinion I recorded under Mark's post: I find the way Spain played today very impressive. The game had lots of intensity and was, yes, quite enthralling. But almost nothing happened in it, and I may be naive but I still need players to break into football from time to time.

    Germany had no answer to Spain's tactics today. Had they found an answer, and forced Spain to increase their tempo, it would have been a much more enjoyable game. I think it's possible to appreciate the sport and admire what Spain did and even want them to win (I did) without thinking that it was an enjoyable spectacle.

  3. Giovanni:
    Honestly it was not a dig at you (I didn't even notice your name when I read the post and when I made the comment), only at Italian football in general as an example that many people widely recognize. My sincere apologies for the unintended offense. I've lived with such comments regarding my name, too.
    And, I have no comment on Capdevila in the previous match - my comment was on Spain's conduct in Wednesday's match only.

  4. That might have come across as overly defensive of me - a smiley face might have been in order, it's how I meant it.

    And you're right of course, they didn't win by holding back, but rather controlling possession and the tempo of the game. It's just that they were so careful not to overcommit - and end up like Argentina and England - that they couldn't really create chances either, and all that was left to do was admire their concentration and patience. I hope the respective styles of the two teams will be more conducive to something happening in the final. Spain certainly knows how to entertain and still win.

  5. Gio:
    That's a very good observation - extremely cautious not to overcommit, which is exactly what Argentina did. As for England, well they were unlucky (the 'goal') and were awful as well (more the latter).
    The match against Holland will be different, I think. The Dutch play very smart with speed and incredible skill on the ball plus a physicality that borders on pit-bull analogies (exhibit: van Bommel). They are much more experienced than this German team. Spain's only retort will be to get rid of passes very quickly (quicker than even today), which will result in more dispossession - the key will be how quickly their MF's can get possession back without leaving openings.
    It will be fascinating. And, will likely have more action - I hope so too.

  6. It was a joy to watch Spain last night. Overall thought it was a decent game and sadly the Germans were just way out of their depth. Found your analysis bizarre and a bit silly.

  7. It wasn't analysis - they were my impression upon watching the game. However I was intrigued but the fact that they were picked up by people who were at that point reflecting on the game.

    I can't defend the charge of "silly" however. You got my number there.

  8. All the discussion of the boredom and lack of inspiration/action from Spain is interesting at least partly because I think this is an extremely unlikeable Dutch team (with the exception of Kuyt - remnant of a working class hero) who, similarly to Brazil, seem to operating with a mass nostalgia.

    Sneijder has played well, Robben is exciting if infuriating and Van Bronchust worthy . . . but what else?

    The football is has been largely relatively poor, with a few lucky breaks. Van Bommell insists on playing a successful version of Dick Dastardly, Robben reacts the same if he is hacked down or brushed with a shoulder, Van Persie is both ineffective and equally capable of falling over when he has reached a dead end.

    In comparison, Spain's slow building, passing, movements and tactical discipline/awareness is quite enjoyable, despite the fact they are yet to fully click.

    If Pedro had squared that ball to Torres everyone would be raving about their ability to both control possession and counter attack in a dynamic way.

    So me, I will be hoping for a Spain win, unless Dirk Kuyt - who I increasingkly think of as the anti-Ronaldo and proponent of football socialism - come to rescue for the dutch - and I say this as a man who stands to pick up £100 if Holland win.