Yesterday’s clasico was a tale of two halves. Or so say the headlines. In fact, many headlines refer to a game as a “tale of two halves.” Your cerebral self chuckles and thinks: no shit. Doesn’t every game of soccer consist of two halves? Isn’t that, like, kinda the fundamental rule and proportion of time? Could a headline be any less descriptive?
I used to agree with you. But, alas, you are wrong (and so was I).
A game of soccer can actually consist of both less and more than two halves. For example, in the World Cup final, it was “A Tale of Two Halves and Two Thirds of a Half” because it went to extra time with two sessions of fifteen minutes. In the World Cup semifinal between Argentina and Holland, it was “A Tale of Two Halves, Two Thirds of a Half, and Penalty Kicks”. The title says it all. On the other hand, sometimes games get suspended due to fan violence and/or light failures at stadiums. A sample headline could be “A Tale of One Half and Thirty Five Minutes.”
Thus, this past Sunday’s clasico was truly a tale of two halves. 45 minutes followed 45 minutes. It was the regular season, so no penalty kicks or additional time. No gripes here, aside from what transpired on the actual field of play. Most Madrid fans will view this as a lost opportunity, not a soul-crushing (or even title decisive) defeat. For long stretches, Madrid’s younger midfield (Isco, Kroos and Modric) harassed Barca and looked on top. Sadly, though, the strikers left chances dangling like prepositions after a verb in the infinitive. I actually penned some quality pieces pre-clasico and they are still relevant. Enjoy them here:
For Paste Soccer, I went all “historical listicle”. Here are 10 FC Barcelona players from yesteryear. For the other side, here are 10 Real Madrid players that kicked butt in decades past. Lastly, I penned a portrait of the Racist biter aka Luis Suarez. I filed this on Friday and, lo and behold, Racist biter scored the winner.
For SoccerGods, I categorized and mocked a decades-long trend: the perpetual “crisis” headlines and coverage of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Can you “chicken little”? Or, rather, pollito chiquito? Read here.
And, of course, many years ago I wrote an independently published book about the history of Real Madrid & Barcelona. It was Kickstarted by some pretty cool folks, but don’t worry – you didn’t miss the bandwagon. You can still snag it at iTunes here.