The Greeks invented drama.
Way back when, in the days of chitons and olive wreaths, the ancient Greeks categorised drama into three specific themes: tragedy, comedy and satire. Last night, here in Recife, we witnessed a Greek tragedy.
It's a fabulous city Recife, far and away the best place we've been in Brazil, so far. Temperate, buzzing and relatively safe, me, girlfriend Koula and the other members of our little World Cup sewing circle (Des, Soc and Spyros plus a few others whose names escape me - copious amounts of whisky will do that) have had a perasame fantastica: a rerr terr.
They love their whisky here. And it seems rude to refuse.
Getting tickets for this game against Costa Rica was the usual doddle. The Brazilians love their football but, understandably, they love selling the tickets they bought cheap to cashed-up tourists even more.
Greece have played pretty poorly this World Cup. They've been defensive and unimaginative, but it's worked for them so far and now only Los Ticos stood before them and a most unlikely quarter-final berth.
Costa Rica beat Scotland at Italia 90, if you remember, so here's a chance for a bit of revenge, albeit slightly obscure and very much by association.
We can do this. We, us, the Greeks, my (adopted) boys. But we didn't. It turned out to be Elliniki Tragouthia - a Greek tragedy.
Los Ticos played tiki-taka football, the clever passing game, but with no real apparent danger. Apparent being the operative word.
The Greek goalie had virtually nothing to do except, early in the second half, pick the ball out of his net. He didn't even move, the useless big galoot.
We piled forward but not with any real confidence. The Greek coach, Fernando Santos threw on two subs, the ageing (some would say hopeless) Mitroglou and Gekas, neither of whom did anything of positive note.
I wondered aloud if the coach regretted making such substitutions. (If you had to do the same again, would you, my friend, Fernando?)
Plenty of pressure but no penetration. We were heading out; it looked inevitable. And then, in injury time, we struck with an equaliser.
Scrappy? Yes. Uncultured? Yes. Did we care? No. We went berserk. And I mean, completely berko.
Extra time. Los Ticos were down to 10 men and all 10 of them looked knackered. This was Greece's chance. We were all over them, but even though we had a couple of half-decent chances, To Piraticos continued to frustrate with their tendency to over hit crosses, get caught offside and generally fanny about.
Full time. And the dreaded, but undeniably drama-infused, penalty shootout.
Ridiculously (and I know this because we were right behind him) the Greek coach spent almost all of the recess prior to penalties arguing with the ref about something or other, as his players looked on aghast.
When he should have been firing his troops up, old Fernando was waving his arms about like a demented windmill, proving once again that you don't have to be a complete dumpling to be an international soccer coach, but it certainly helps.
The omens were not good. Predictably, Gekas was the culprit. Unblinking he stood in front of the ball when his turn came - geckos can't blink, did you know that? - and then hit it hard but too close to the keeper. Save.
Big Sammi Samaras was due to take the last one for Greece but didn't get the chance as Costa Rico made Sammi's involvement irrelevant.
Tragedy all right. Gutted. Absolutely gutted. There can be no more deflating feeling than losing a penalty shootout - so near and yet so far, but really, when you think about it, Greece only had themselves to blame.
Am I saying that because, really, I'm only a fan by association and default? Would I be quite as acquiescent if Scotland had lost in similar circumstances? Obviously not. And anyway, chance would be a fine thing.
Ah well, tomorrow's another day. And Recife has another bar. (And another. And another.)
We're staying in Brazil for the entire tournament and even have a confident hope of acquiring tickets for the final so clearly it's time to assert our (well my) support for the home nation.
Brazil. The masters of the mambo, sorcerers of the samba can - and surely must - win this thing. Otherwise, the locals, already disgruntled about how much this whole shebang has cost, whilst so many of them live in deplorable circumstances, will be mightily, maybe even riotously, pissed off. Come on La Canarinho!
What do you mean, fickle?
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