Finally, there is a break in the action at the World Cup. After 19 consecutive days of high-stakes soccer, the clock has ceased to tick and the eight teams that remain reload for the quarter-finals.
It seems so strange. Maybe that’s why they call it “The Beautiful Game,” because of its relentless and inevitable continuation in spite of that which conspires to obstruct it. The World Cup hates to be interrupted.
There are no commercial timeouts. They must wait until the end of the half or the conclusion of the game.
Even injuries can’t make time stand still.
Here’s another thing — the World Cup is unkind to those who claim the passing years as an ally, the so-called experienced players.
Witness the stars of the current edition — Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller, Lionel Messi, David Villa and Asamoah Gyan to name but a few.
The youngest is 20 years of age, while the oldest, Villa, is still only 28.
At the World Cup youth will be served.
Finally, there is no time to stop and argue about mistakes made by referees.
The underlying message is to play on in spite of any adversity.
That’s the way it has to be because the game, not the referee, dictates the outcome.
It’s true that beautiful goals like the one scored by Frank Lampard of England have to stand and if that means video technology, then so be it.
But someone has to find a way for that to become a reality without stopping the clock.
The example is the National Hockey League.
In the late 1990s, video reviews and the laughable mock drama of officials on telephones while rewinding tape machines almost ruined the sport.
The World Cup can’t let that happen.
Time is what sets the World Cup apart and gives the tournament such aura.
This is a rare beast that occurs only once every four years and perhaps a single time in a player’s lifetime.
It’s also special because at the World Cup time is fleeting and it stops for nothing.