Footcall VIII Day 6...
This was is it, the penultimate day of the London 2012 Olympic Games and the final of the football, today the mighty Brazilians took on the South American rivals, Mexico to decide who would take home the gold. And what a festival we have been treated to over the past fortnight, it has been a truly wonderful sporting spectacle and the culmination of seven years hard work by Lord Coe, the rest of his committee and the countless volunteers who have contributed to make it the best games ever! The GLW and I have experienced three events and the whole organisation of at The Excel, at Lord's and Earl's Court were nothing short of incredible. The element that shone through was the enthusiasm of the Olympic staff at each event with tireless cheesy grins from the moment we arrived to the minute left; it was tremendous, and it was clear that the purple uniform really didn't suit some of them but just like Barney the Dinosaur they put on a brave face throughout! For an hour and a half in Earl's Court we became Japanese as we shouted "Go Nippon!" with our new volleyball friends and we take full responsibility for getting them through the quarter finals.
Team GB had us all worried with the slow start to the Games as we saw what we thought were medal certainties slip through the net but our cyclists and rowers kick started our campaign into life and that was just the start. Suddenly we all believed there was a chance we could not only organise a damn fine event but also compete against the bigger boys (and girls). Once the athletics kicked off with Ennis and that man who jumped a long way we were off and running. Then came more medals in the Boxing, Ben "don't make me angry!" Ainslie sailing his little boat, the dancing horse lady, that girl who kicked arse in the Taekwondo all of whom contributed to the British gold rush. Then came Mo Farah conquering the ten thousand and then doing the double tonight with his wonderful gold in the five thousand. Simply amazing... everybody do the Mo-bot!
By the way, have you seen where Australia finished on the medal table? The County of Yorkshire are better than them! All this and I forgot to mention the history made by David Rudisha in the 800m and Usain Bolt and his double triple, it has been nothing short of magnificent.
Let's get back to the footie! Wembley Stadium hosted red hot favourites Brazil and Mexico fight it out in the final and things could not have gone any worse for the players in yellow and green as soon after the kickoff the Mexicans managed to win the ball in Brazilian and capitalize on some slack defending and Oribe Peralta tucked the ball in the Brazilian net! Mexico were one nil up and we only had 30 seconds on the clock; the fastest goal in Olympic final history! Whilst the dominant Brazilians pushed on, Mexico rode their luck as they saw chances from Marcello and Leandro and the first half finished one to the good for Mexico.
After the break Fabian Marco nearly extended their lead as he tried an audacious overhead kick which pinged off Brazil's crossbar! But it wasn't long before Mexico actually did double their tally as that man Peralta headed home his second goal from a free kick that saw the Brazilian defenders stand around like innocent bystanders! Two nil up and Mexico were cooking... they were first to the ball and winning the tackles but you just can't count out Brazil until the final whistle. That beast of player, Hulk (so named because his dad was a big Lou Ferrigno fan) did claw one back in injury time. Now it was really tense and in the dying seconds of the match with virtually the last touch of the ball, Hulk crossed in a peach of a ball into the heart of the Mexican 18 yard area. The strikers were all lining up to convert the equalizer and take the match into extra time and it was Oscar who took the responsibility upon himself and his nation. Was he up for it? Was he f***! Rather than a deft little glancing header he powered it over the bar like Tony Adams might have done when clearing his defence in his heyday! Welcome to Stamford Bridge Mr Oscar!
There was no time left and the whistle did blow to send the Mexicans, once again "crazy go nuts" for they were the Olympic 2012 champions. Brazil once again denied the only major trophy to elude their cabinet but surely their time will come in Rio?And so to the Footcall League...
Almost as amazing as the Olympics have been, it has possibly been eclipsed by the news that Footcall VIII has been won by none other than my ol mate Paul "couldn't think of a team name" Wakefield! After competing in every single Footcall, Paul's seven previous attempts have seen him progressively get worse year on year finishing, 10th, 39th, 11th, 14th, 57th, 88th and 117th but now he's top of the tree and the newest player to be crowned Footcall champion! A magnificent achievement and he recently sent me a text when Paul and I were second and third in the Group Stages to say "It's about time we started to do well, we've had enough practice!" As I pinned my hopes on Egypt to romp home, that decision saw my race run, Paul plumped for Mexico to go for gold. What a shrewd move that proved to be as he was the only Footcaller to pick them and those vital eight points see Wakefield Wanderers leap from fifth straight into the top spot above Leigh who must have been thinking it was in the bag.
This afternoon I made the call to break the good news and I was informed by Paul's wife Emma that it was actually her and their son, Jack, who had done all the predictions and it was just Paul's name on the entry form! This sees Paul pick 10 Hall of Fame points which could have easily been awarded to Emma, who isn't on the list yet or indeed Jack who is in fifth and would have seen him up into third. But it's Paul who will take the glory this time round. Let's hear it for the Wakefield family.
Sadly Leigh dropped to second, Patrick Ferguson claims third, new boy Stewart King finished fourth and Kevin Appleton in fifth and the six points he picked up sees him overtake Mick Mallion in the Hall of Fame. James Vallender finished sixth on his own and then we have a four way tie between Richard Goodwin, Tim Jennings, Graham Weaver and Joanna Mackenzie for seventh. All four players having identical data across four sets of criteria... quite remarkable! All the winners will be notified of their success.
Finally the Vuvuzela award was secured by Leanne (and Sean) Maloney and the very last prize goes to Les Herbert for the most popular team name "Pearce de la Resistonce" both of whom will receive a box of chocolates for their endeavours. See the Footcall home page for a full list of the prize winners.
Another fantastic Footcall draws to a close and I can't thank you enough for taking part. We're just left with another 26m run round the block in the marathon tomorrow and more medal opportunities in the remaining boxing events and then we can wrap it up with the closing ceremony and rumour has it the Spice Girls are making a come back... Yes! I hope they play Wannabe, that's my favourite!
That's it until the World Cup in 2014... see you in Braziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiil!