I spent all of yesterday driving from Sacramento, California to Phoenix, Arizona, which meant I was forced to follow the day’s World Cup action through the wonderful but these days totally and tragically underserved medium of radio.
There was a time when radio was the pinnacle of football broadcasting – I remember the oft-told story of my grandfather watching the “Magic Magyars” of the 1950s on TV (which was one of the first TVs in their village, mind you). Turn down the volume and turn on the radio commentary from legendary broadcaster György Szepesi, often referred to as “the 12th man” of the team as its literal voice and direction. This was obviously a common habit in the diaspora, particularly in the early days of this newfangled television technology. Szepesi also later earned the Guinness record for longest career as a sports commentator, but I digress.
These days you’re lucky if you get a dedicated radio crew. Most of the time you either get used to regular commenters describing a game for everyone to see. In fact, increasingly, you only get the TV commentary piped into your earlobes. I’m looking at you SiriusXM FC and FOX.
Anyway, results aside, I can’t really tell you what happened in the shot-shy 0-0 draw between Uruguay and South Korea – the Fourth of the tournament already in the first week! – in Switzerland’s narrow 1-0 win over Cameroon – with a lone goal from Cameroon-born, Swiss-raised player Breel Embolo – or in Portugal’s insane 3-2 win over Ghana, which is certainly worth watching for the highlights alone . The commentary I was privy to definitely didn’t do this game justice, especially in the last 20 minutes.
I perked up, albeit not in a good way, when the Brazil vs. Serbia commentator seemingly casually mentioned that “Thiago Silva was behind the game” – and then proceeded to say nothing more about it! I understood that Silva could probably continue, which I was later able to confirm visually. phew!
Oh, and Richarlison scored a fantastic goal to complete his brace in what should have been a much more one-sided 2-0 win for the tournament favorites. Expect this goal to appear in every post-tournament build and montage, and perhaps end up earning the goal of the tournament as well.