Anyway, about that empty feeling you have this morning. Multiply it by about 11 million, slug a bottle of NyQuil and think about child soldiers or something…now you’re half as depressed as the nations of Mexico and Greece, after both teams suffered heartbreaking losses at the World Cup on Sunday.
First up, Mexico, who were left angst-ridden (and angry) after a 2-1 loss to the Netherlands that was decided by a controversial injury-time penalty against El Tri. Dutch winger Arjen Robben was tripped up by Rafael Marquez in the box, earning a penalty kick that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar buried to give the Oranje the game, and another trip to the World Cup quarterfinals.
Of course, if you’re a Mexican fan – or coach Miguel Herrera – you’d probably say Robben dove, the penalty was a bullshit make-up call for a foul the refs missed in the first half, and there was a tournament-long officiating conspiracy against your team. And you might be right.
Lost in all the controversy was another heroic effort from goalkeeper “Memo” Ochoa, a score from Giovani dos Santos, and the fact that Mexico outplayed the Dutch for the majority of the match. In sweltering heat, they started strong, then weathered the storm until the 88th minute, when Wesley Sneijder scored the equalizer for the Netherlands. We’d add that this marks the sixth-consecutive World Cup where Mexico has lost in the round of 16 (most of any nation), but that’d probably be piling on.
It’s the undercard here, but try consoling any Greek fans this morning after their team’s unlikely run to the World Cup knockout stage came to an end in penalty kicks against Costa Rica.
Sure, Greece wasn’t supposed to make it this far, but after tying the match 1-1 on Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ injury time goal (it was as delicious as his last name), the Greeks failed to take capitalize on the momentum – or the extra-man advantage they held from the 66th minute on, after Costa Rica’s Oscar Duarte was sent off with his second yellow card.
After a largely two largely shapeless 30 minutes of extra time, it all came down to penalty kicks, and that’s when los Ticos keeper Keylor Navas came up grande.
Michael Umana put the next kick in the back of the net, giving Costa Rica the 5-3 win in PKs and sending the team to their first World Cup quarterfinal. Greece’s coach Fernando Santos wasn’t around to see it though, as he was kicked out of the game by the ref before penalties began. Probably because of his nose hair or something.
Yet another sublime, sad Sunday. One dream dies, another lives on. The cyclical nature of all things. We suppose we should take comfort in all that. Maybe tomorrow. This is the World Cup. We are living reminders.