Everything I know about penalties —which is neither a lot nor a little, perhaps just enough to say that I know something— I learned in a story by Osvaldo Soriano entitled
The Longest Penalty in the World
, where Estrella Polar, an indoor soccer team billiards and card tables, came to play a valley championship against the almighty Deportivo Belgrano: the great truths of life, including those that affect soccer, tend to emerge under the cover of some fiction.
The decisive game was played at the home of the second, who aspired to repeat the 0-7 of the first round and end the dream of Estrella Polar.
The stadium, the balconies, the rooftops... Everything was packed to see David kneeling against Goliath but, surprisingly, the visitors managed to take the lead a few minutes from the end with a free kick that set off all the alarm bells of power.
The referee, "an epileptic who sold raffles for the local club", prolonged the discount until a Belgrano player managed to get into the area and fell without contact: penalty.
Herminio Silva, who was called the braid, was beaten to sleep by a defender from Estrella, starting a fight that ended with the competent authority suspending the match.
The court of the league, meeting during the week,
—Constant throws them to the right.
—Always, said the president of the club.
"But he knows that I know."
"Then we're screwed."
—Yes, but I know that he knows, said the Cat.
Modern football has brought with it a good number of false certainties, also about penalties, which in a very short time have gone from the most absolute contempt - "they are a lottery" - to alternative delirium - "they are a science" -.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the dark areas of the game, those that require ingenuity to find an explanation, have been emptied of bards, charlatans and healers to make room for mathematicians, engineers, physicists and even the occasional other. chemical.
For some time now, the training fields have been invaded by drones, magical bibs, giant touch screens, polygraphs and loudspeakers that simulate the chants of the most hostile fans, unfortunately for the props, who no longer know where to keep so much junk.
The England team, for example, trains penalty kicks with the help of a smart network.
And I say that it will not be so intelligent if the Spanish still do not use it to fleece the Great Sun and thus avenge what happened in the 1996 Euro Cup, also on penalties.
Today, as then, a legion of analysts assure that both defeats could have been avoided through a detailed study of the rival and insistence on testing.
But how to know who knows?
Or who knows that the other knows, as Gato Díaz suspected.
To know, I only know that Bono, the Moroccan goalkeeper, ate our morale with an impeccable imitation of Silvester Stallone in
Evasion or victory
, surely because there is still no art, science or technology applied to football that is more reliable than cinema, perhaps literature.
Finding words is not as difficult as finding spaces in a closed defense, which is why inflammatory editorials, accusations, false remedies and the odd excuse abound today.
"More than a year ago I warned the players that they would arrive with more than 1,000 penalties thrown at the World Cup," said Luis Enrique himself.
So much dependence on technology and in the end it all comes down to the famous dog that ate our homework so many times.
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