July 29, 1986, Mexico City
114,600 people at the Estadio Azteca hold their breath. With 83 minutes on the clock, the score in the 1986 World Cup final is at 2-2. Both teams, Argentina and Germany push forward for the winner.
Jorge Burruchaga then scores in the 84th minute to allow Argentina to regain the lead at 3–2. The Germans then commit many men forward, only to be held off by the resilient Argentinians. Argentina hold on to win the 1986 World Cup. As a nation of 30 million celebrates, there is another, some 12,000 kilometres away, filled with sadness.
Fast forward to July 13, 2014…
Argentina and Germany meet, yet again, in the 2014 World Cup final. Only this time, the tables have turned. The score remains 0-0 at the end of 90 minutes. As the game progresses to extra time, Germany’s Mario Götze scores a 113th minute winner to break Argentinian hearts.
This is football. The beautiful game ('o jogo bonito' in Portugese). Much like a rollercoaster ride, it has its ups and downs.
Germany and Argentina are just two such examples of how much the game means to their people. Despite the intensity and fervour with which these matches are played, fans and players have a great amount of respect and camaraderie with their counterparts.
Football is a language spoken by millions across the globe. There are more members in FIFA, football’s governing body, than in the United Nations! 209, as compared to the United Nation’s 193. The barriers of creed, caste, race and religion are transcended by football. As the name suggests, all one needs is a simple ball and some enthusiasm to truly enjoy the game. For many people, it is more than just a sport- it is life.
Sir Walter Scott, the famous author, once remarked “Life is itself a game of football”.