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Taking sides

Panama 0, Ghana 1
Ukraine 3, USA 0
North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, June 5 2015

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I’m not the sort of person who can watch a game of football and just be ‘neutral’. I have to be hoping that one side or the other will win. Thankfully, it’s not a terribly debilitating condition. I can usually find a way to decide which, of any two teams, I should be cheering for even if it comes down to simply backing the underdog or choosing the team with the best colours. The only real difficulty comes when it’s two teams I fundamentally despise, like Inter and Lazio, but even in those instances I can at least come to some kind of view by asking myself which side winning would benefit Roma the most.

But at the FIFA Under 20 World Cup there is one factor that makes sometimes difficult choices like these slightly more problematic – the lack of thinking time.

Over the past week and a bit I have been watching more live football in a short space of time than I can ever remember having crammed into my life before. This means there is no time for deep philosophical thought about which team in the game I am rushing to next should be ‘my team’. I have to make sound decisions at the drop of a hat.

That’s why I have developed this simple, failsafe (I think), process to follow:


It’s hard to see it going wrong, unless the extremely unlikely event occurs when two teams contain the same amount of Lazio or Inter players. If this crops up my little head may just explode right there in the stadium, in which case the game may not go ahead anyway with a sizeable mess to clean up. Problem solved.

Regardless, this system has served me well so far and it particularly did so yesterday. Ghana had a player from Cagliari, Godfred Donash, and USA took points off Italy in at Germany 2006 (and they cheated – Brian McBride ran head first into De Rossi’s elbow) so Ghana and Ukraine were my two teams and they both won!

Lucky me. Except for the fact that in the second game I was expecting USA to run rampant so sat myself at the end they were attacking both halves. Unfortunately for my photography portfolio, the team of world beaters I wrote about in my last post managed to turn into, I don’t even know what, and as a result I got hardly any good photos.


The consolation, of course, was New Zealand winning in Wellington to probably book a place in the knockout rounds pending a few other results, a fair few of which would have to go the wrong way in order for them to miss out. History made! Chalk one up for Oceania. Hopefully we can chalk another one up in Whangarei tomorrow when Fiji takes on Uzbekistan! It would be bloody incredible to see two teams from the home confederation making history. I’ll be there and I won’t even need the flow chart to know who I’ll be backing!

Stand up for workers in Qatar.

Categories: FIFA New Zealand 2015

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

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