Sunday, June 25, 2006

Bend it like Beckham...

I was looking for a different twist on this story, but on some things you just can't improve on reality. What we saw at 60' into the game with Ecuador was England's dream come true from their young folk hero. The goal will go into the FIFA archives as one of those classics that we will see hundreds of times in years to come without tiring of the repetition.

And guess what? Scolari had a surprise or two for us also. When Maniche nailed his tally at 23' against the Dutch, I for one didn't think it would be the end of the scoring. But, it was.

Actually our day started out with scheduling issues regarding a game of our own. Yes, our local FIFA team versus the LOC. It hasn't been easy to find a window with all the wetness on the field and trying to keep it in good shape with the tight schedule of matches here in Cologne. It looks like the match will be after my departure to Russia for an inspection trip, and while I hate for my team to take the field without me, they will uphold our honor in my absence. When I told the Sunday morning meeting that they would have to find another No. 9 in my absence the response was a small murmor or chuckle... I guess some of them saw me as a No. 7 like Beckham. (They were actually rolling with laughter).

The sense this morning was of conclusion. One more meeting tomorrow for the final preparations of Switzerland vs the Ukraine. What was clear, following the more than two weeks of collaboration with an excellent team of professionals in our venue, was that we would miss the morning meetings, the times we spent with each other each day and mostly the fact that jointly we did a great job in delivering the environment in which the wonderful entertainment product, which is the World Cup was realized.

In New York City today, Mary Lynn was putting Nicky on a bus to take him to eight weeks of summer camp. For us in Cologne, the feeling was that our camp season was at an end and we wanted to find some way to keep it going. Instead we will celebrate the time we have had together tomorrow night, following the match held in the presence of Football's high authorities, with a toast one last time, commemorating our wonderful venue and the friends we had made this summer.

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