Same old, same old

28 10 2007
Wales 0 Switzerland 2
Euro 2009 Women’s European Championship qualifier.

Wales were playing in Rhyl again so another joyful trip to the home of football. After arriving late I found the gates open. I couldn’t find a programme but after enquiring about one with an official he furnished me with one. This was more like it, a match in Belle Vue and the milkshake drinkers hadn’t received a penny of my money.

After a quick look around I didn’t find anybody familiar so I took a seat. The fare on the pitch was a little uninspiring. The game was free of fouls, diving or any real cheating of any nature, as women’s games seem to be, but I couldn’t feel excited. I’ve seen Wales at all levels now and it’s only really the men’s full international that get my pulse racing, why this is I can’t put my finger on it. For example it wasn’t as if the game was boring. The course of the play ebbed and flowed; the ball at one end after one attack and then a couple of minutes later it was near the other goal. In case anyone’s attention wandered shrill cheers indicated that Wales were in possession and moving forward with attacking zeal.

With the game bobbing and weaving towards a half time stalemate a goal arrived. A Swiss free kick near the Welsh area was propelled goalwards. The ball bounced in the middle of the area. The goalkeeper remained calm as she waited for the ball to arrive. The ball continued along it’s upwards trajectory. The keeper was still calm. The ball continued upwards but then suddenly reached it’s zenith and veered downwards. The keeper was still calm but rooted to the spot and hence she was stranded. The ball, without any respect, bobbled in. 1-0 to Switzerland, Wales losing a qualifier, what a surprise.

In the second half I sat behind the goal that Wales were attacking. I became fascinated with the words emanating from the Swiss goalkeeper’s mouth. They didn’t sound French. They didn’t sound Italian. I listened more intently and I could make out that they sounded a little German in origin but they delivered in a strange accent. It was certainly more interesting than listening to Living Legend Kendall.

The match continued down its path. Wales exerted a bit of pressure but couldn’t put the ball into a postion of scoring possibility. The Swiss keeper looked very comfortable; crosses were claimed with a calm air of authority. About 10 minutes from the end Switzerland scored their second and this was the signal to bring in the flag.

As I made my way past one of the corner flags the Swiss no.19 came to my attention, mainly because she displayed some wonderful close control. As she tried to go past a Welsh defender she hit the floor, it wasn’t a foul but she stayed down. This manoeuvere drew some uncomplimentary comments from the more cultured spectators. The no.19 was booked for refusing to leave the field of play. She became the first player I’ve seen sent off in a women’s game about 5 minutes later. Excited noises was bayed by those erudite fans. This was incongruous behaviour today; there weren’t many Rhyl fan here, did they care about football I wondered.

I made my way to the pub to kill time before it was time to go and watch Alan Carr later on. Killing time in Rhyl is an activity worthy of a mention in dispatches. Any misplaced glances could lead to a volley of glass in your direction. Morrissey came to mind as I wandered towards the theatre a couple of hours later. Was there a more wretched sight than a seaside resort on a cold, wet and windy day. Answers on a postcard please.

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