Early result from Mundial 2018: Dynamo MoskOligarkov 5 – 0 Wahhabi Petrol. That’s Dynamo MoskOligarkov five, Wahhabi Petrol nil.
Twenty-four years ago they had a World Cup final here in the U.S., with the deciding match played in nearby Pasadena. The Los Angeles Times, back when newspapers-in-print were the only way to fly, included a couple of pogs (remember pogs?) in each day’s edition — collect all 24! These were the days of Jorge Campos, Georghe Hagi, Andres Escobar (R.I.P.), Taffarel and Romario, Hristo Stoichkov and all the rest. If you read the paper even once or twice, they reminded you who the star players were from all the teams, so you naturally followed those guys — anyway, their names were so out-there you could not help but remember names like that. (By the way, Taffarel — what a name! And he was on the Brasil squad! Where in the Portuguese/Brasil cultural experience does a name like Taffarel occur in nature? It was like when we first got to La-La Land and some Guatemalans actually named their kids Darlene and Marvin! Taffarel!)
So we had the old print newspaper handing out pogs in commemoration of World Cup, 1994, plus all the superstars’ names printed daily in the sports section. They had the Three Tenors give a concert at Dodger Stadium (!) and that was a pleasant-enough entertainment for the citizens. Then on the Sunday, the deciding match was at the Rose Bowl, right down the (I)-210 East in Pasadena. We were across town, at Hollywood Park (also R.I.P.), that day, and even at the racetrack you could hear the gasp when Roberto Baggio sent his penalty kick in the shootout way over the crossbar, giving Brasil the victory. Roberto Baggio! We remember in the paper seeing the photographs (in black-and-white) of the two squads preparing for the final, and the Brasil squad looked like they were just hanging out in their wife-beater undershirts, maybe in a bathtub or something, Romario & Taffarel, just taking it easy, like they would be drinking on a backstreet of second-tier city like Belém or Recife or Belo Horizonte, nowhere near Rio or São Paulo, not really looking too stressed. Looking at this photograph back then and remembering it now, it seemed preordained that Roberto Baggio would necessarily send his penalty kick flying far away from goal, giving Brasil the title. Italy could in no way have been that relaxed before the final, no way, not seeing how Brasil looked in that photograph in the newspaper.
After Brasil, the winners were, successively, France, Brasil, Italy, Spain, Germany. This year, it will be neither Dynamo MoskOligarkov nor Wahhabi Petrol lifting the trophy. Nyet. Maktub.
P.S. If you remember things like this, it’s generally a good sign. It means that you were present and involved, and that those long-ago days engaged you in some meaningful way.
Finger 4, 6
Fast Final-Furlong Phantasms
Canterbury 4, 7
Churchill 3, 5
Chas. Town 1
Evangeline 1, 8
Fair Meadows† 4
PennNat 6, 7
Santa Anita 5
Santa Anita 4, 7
*-morning-line faves only, including those bumped-up to morning-line-favorite status after accounting for raceday scratches and changes, which are current as of 2:01 p.m. EDT; no-go if race switches surface or if any part of coupled-entry scratches; lost popular vote
†-raceday scratches & changes unavailable at press-time; batteries not included
YESTERDAY’s Fine Finishes‡
‡-High-Octane Chancers doin’ it exclusively with All-In-One V6 and its LifeLiner Speed Column analysis and LifeLiner Spread Column analysis, without regard to operational definitions of faves or freakazoids; thank you!
Taffarel! The world needs you! Taffarel!
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