Watched the match last night. London. 13 June 2014. #FIFA2014


The Spain vs Netherlands match was a rematch (they played in the finals in the last World Cup) where the world champions watched their title tremble and shake.

This. Match. Was. Shockwave. Come. Alive. A match where Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben scored twice and transformed Day 02 of FIFA 2014 into a contest that is known to electrify the world every time. One of the statistical facts circulating on the internet is that it was in 1950 against Brazil that Spain helpless watched being vanquished by as many goals. Well, a 5-1 defeat isn’t as bad as the despondency that was obvious on the faces of the Spaniards and the ‘let them score again – I don’t care’ stances of the players on the field. This is a terrible psychological damage for the world champions of the last FIFA and it isn’t going to be easy to bounce back. But then West Germany did bounce back into the game with full vigour way back in 1954… but since then no team has conceded five and then went on to win the World Cup.

The Washington Post writes that the Dutch coach Van Gaal ‘signalled he’s considering playing five defenders to stifle Spain’s slick-passing forwards in a further sign that the attacking “total football” style of the Dutch teams of the 1970s and ‘80s has been supplanted by a tough, uncompromising focus on defence.’

As I watched the match what struck me was that winning moments are too fleeting and one just needs to seize the precise moment or they’re gone forever leaving behind restless memories and remorse. The Spaniards were experiencing quite a few of them as they reached the Dutch goal posts and then were net able to convert as efficiently as that header by Robin or the dribble-and-shoot antics of Robben. Their actions need to be understood clearly as they were like photographers out there in the middle of the field and creating history, not just watching it unfold.

The secret that this match brought with it was the sort of mystery that photographers find themselves in day-in and day-out. Photographers are watching the drama of nature or people or moments and while the rest of us choose to watch, smile, and applaud, they seize the moment and focus on scanning, panning, and clicking. The Dutch players did just that. They were neither listening to the roar of the spectators nor looking at the way the football cut through the air swerving and pirouetting like a ballet dancer… all they did was to scan and input the things that really matter and jump or skid or rush or run to complete the moment! The truth, you see, is that however sensual a moment seems, it remains incomplete if we don’t add action value to it. The Dutch footballers did it.

Football matches aren’t about running helter-skelter for hundreds of metres in 90 minutes. Nor are they about unholy jostling, punching, protesting, or bouts of improvised histrionics aimed to get the right attention from the referee or get some brownie points from the team administration or the spectators. Football is all about completing a moment and not leaving it dangling in obscurity forever. Moments that are completed by us have the power to pull us up onto a different level of bliss altogether. Isn’t this reward enough? I mean, I watched the match and have tried to complete that moment of ecstasy by writing about it. We can all complete moments every day of our lives. All we need is the sort of focus that I saw Robin and Robben play with.

Spain vs Netherlands_FIFA2014 Spain vs Netherlands_FIFA2014_01



Arvind Passey
14 June 2014