Mikel Rouse Sports Blog

France vs Croatia
Note to readers: you can find all previous Mikel Rouse Sports Blogs HERE

And as Josie is to her Pussycats, we are to this WORKD KUP entering, as we would, the final game of this 2018 FISA Marvel/Law&Order reach around and globe trotter dribble and these two teams have been through hell and high water (and with continued ocean and atmospheric warming, sea levels will likely rise for many centuries at rates higher than that of the current century and in the United States, almost 40 percent of the population lives in relatively high-population-density coastal areas, where sea level plays a role in flooding, shoreline erosion, and hazards from storms AND globally, eight of the world’s 10 largest cities are near a coast, according to the U.N. Atlas of the Oceans but for goodness sake don’t lose focus on what matters) it’s time to introduce the final challengers and in this corner we have France (French: [fʁɑ̃s]), officially the French Republic (French: République française [ʁepyblik fʁɑ̃sɛz]), which is a sovereign state whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe, as well as several overseas regions and territories and in that corner we have Croatia (/kroʊˈeɪʃə/, kroh-AY-shə; Croatian: Hrvatska [xř̩ʋaːtskaː]), officially the Republic of Croatia (Croatian: Republika Hrvatska), which is a country at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, on the Adriatic Sea and the children, always the children, paraded out in the glory of god and youth and forgetting they’ll most likely grow to resemble the same values/lack of values as the folks parading them out and this anthem and that anthem and coin toss to see if they’ll arrest someone and lazy Susan and in and out of bounds and a slow start to this drip drip McDelivery Powerade and out again and Modric brings the ball in and Humpty Dumpty and still focusing on the babe faces which can change lives and Perisic almost in with his left foot and no foul and boom boom and a law originating from the 1789 revolution and reaffirmed in the 1958 French Constitution makes it illegal for the French state to collect data on ethnicity and ancestry which makes sense and owie and down and backwards header and foul and slip & fall and French field kick and OH OH Griezmann scores for France and this crowd is electric and Croatia is reassessing their thrust and Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system and a developed country with a very high standard of living and it is a member of the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean and hopes of reasserting with a field kick but no go and OH OH Croatia scores as Perisic moves it in and this game of gladiators is tied 1-1 and Bob’s your uncle and as Croatia tied this game, it’s good to recall that France remains a major destination for immigrants, accepting about 200,000 legal immigrants annually and It is also Western Europe’s leading recipient of asylum seekers, with an estimated 50,000 applications in 2005 (a 15% decrease from 2004) and if these FISA games don’t make a pretty good argument for pro-immigration policies well I just don’t know and speaking of inappropriate WORKD KUP behavior, Burger King stumbled badly while trying to counter the censorious attitudes in Russia and it ended up being harshly criticized when it offered 3 million rubles ($48,000) and a lifetime of Whopper burgers to any Russian woman impregnated by a World Cup player and that’s Moscow for you coming on the heels of 12 additional indictments against Russian hackers from the Mueller team (USA USA!) and a VAR penalty and a free kick for France and it’s in for France as Griezmann scores and France once again leads this game and VISA VISA VISA and after Austria-Hungary occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina following the 1878 Treaty of Berlin, the Croatian Military Frontier was abolished and the territory returned to Croatia in 1881, pursuant to provisions of the Croatian-Hungarian settlement and renewed efforts to reform Austria-Hungary, entailing federalisation with Croatia as a federal unit, were stopped by the advent of World War I but nothing seems to stop this determined Croatian team as Mbappe is sent away down the right and completely bins about three players with his turn of pace and so close for Croatia and Flip Floaty (TM) and crash bodies and +3 on the clock and loose ball and chitty chitty bang bang and at the half it’s 2-1 France and France is a secular country, and freedom of religion is a constitutional right and French religious policy is based on the concept of laïcité, a strict separation of church and state under which public life is kept completely secular (take that USA USA) and we’re back at this Heady Topper (TM) bout and flounder and fan mail and France on the March (so to speak) and almost in on these Croatian legs (!) and twinky and tumble and some velvet morning when I’m straight and floss every day and close but not as Rakitic rides a tackle and slips the ball in behind the defence, Rebic comes onto it and hits at a narrow angle with power and Lloris tips the ball over and Modric takes the corner but Rebic puts it out for a goal kick while battling with Hernandez which brings to mind that the Ottoman wars instigated great demographic changes as Croats migrated towards Austria and the present-day Burgenland Croats are direct descendants of these settlers and to replace the fleeing population, the Habsburgs encouraged the Christian populations of Bosnia and Serbia to provide military service in the Croatian Military Frontier and Vrsaljko punting a volley miles wide of goal and something almost happened (imagine) and tippy toes and goodbye Columbus and frogs legs and conniptions Flaubert said a writers life is a dogs life but it’s the only life and Strinic wins a tackle superbly (!) on the left, and Croatia pour forward a FISA March and Pussy Riot for all the right reasons and OH OH France is back in with force as Pogba drives that sucker in which is a good time to remember that the French health care system is one of universal health care largely financed by government national health insurance and in its 2000 assessment of world health care systems, the World Health Organization found that France provided the “close to best overall health care” in the world (take that USA USA) and this game is 3-1 France and what a quick response by Croatia but no skewer and in April 1941, Yugoslavia was occupied by Germany and Italy and following the invasion the territory, parts of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the region of Syrmia were incorporated into the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), a Nazi-backed puppet state and arts of Dalmatia were annexed by Italy, and the northern Croatian regions of Baranja and Međimurje were annexed by Hungary (you see where this is going) but even still, this Croatian team says never say never or maybe say maybe and sad Dalic coach and who can blame him and OH OH seriously France is in again with Mbappe scoring for god (less) and country and this game is now 4-1 France and Érik Satie was a key member of the early 20th century Parisian avant-garde, best known for his Gymnopédies (take that Daft Punk) and boy do I wish I was at the horseshoe bar in Paris tonight and goalie kinda forgot where he was and it seems daunting that this Croatian team could bounce back from this setback in 20 minutes and as of 2017, Croatia has 91 professional theatres, 29 professional children’s theatres and 56 amateur theatres visited by more than 1.69 million viewers per year and the professional theatres employ 1,195 artists and there are 47 professional orchestras, ensembles, and choirs in the country, attracting an annual attendance of 317 thousand and really, keep that in mind, you know, priorities, and Lion King (not really) and owie double header (TM) and sartorial splendor and never say die and always say die and back and forth and two and fro and swing and a miss by Croatia and sadly, since the 1995 Paris Métro and RER bombings, France has been sporadically targeted by Islamist organisations, notably the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015 which provoked the largest public rallies in French history, gathering 4.4 million people, the November 2015 Paris attacks which resulted in 130 deaths, the deadliest attack on French soil since World War II, and the deadliest in the European Union since the Madrid train bombings in 2004 and the 2016 Nice attack which caused 87 deaths during Bastille Day celebrations and this French team is on fire (hire) and somehow Croatia actually got that 2nd goal from that previous flunderbus so let’s be clear, the score is 4-2 France with just 6 minutes left in this VISA VISA torpedo and Croatia is categorised as having established a very high level of human development in the Human Development Index, with a high degree of equality in HDI achievements between women and men and it promotes disability rights and recognition of same-sex unions in Croatia has gradually improved over the past decade, culminating in registered civil unions in July 2014, granting same-sex couples equal inheritance rights so, again, pretty evenly matched in this regard but in terms of World Cup sport and laundry, this game would seem to be a less than winding road and shoot into the clouds as symbol of defeat and add 5 minutes to make sure paint is completely dry and little pop up (!) and bring the boys home not band of gold and this game is over with France the world champions and when I was young and first became aware that I wasn’t always here but still feared death and then got older and feared death less and then now as I can totally visualize/imagine not being here it returns the favor in reminding oneself that it’s not the living or the dying that counts, but the being…. within reason, of course.

France 4
Croatia 2

Poland vs Columbia
Note to readers: you can find all previous Mikel Rouse Sports Blogs HERE

Note to readers: While traveling to Moscow to cover these World Cup adventures this writer was waylaid in La La Land for my health (I came for the culture) only to be asked “The culture? What culture? You’re in LA.” (to which I replied “…I was misinformed.”) and lost all track of time at Dan Tana’s only to find that WORKD KUP 2018 was proceeding at break neck speed and I was in danger of missing a link, so to speak, and thus I managed to find a hotel and creamery that specialized in Brandy Alexanders (get one Beatle drunk and look what happens) and ensconce myself in front of the biggest flat screen I’ve ever seen and get back to work at least and until they realize at the front desk that my name isn’t Harry.

And broke back and mountain combine in this weekend catapult cup of 2018 FISA WORKD KUP as Poland (Polish: Polska [ˈpɔlska], officially the Republic of Poland (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska[a] [ʐɛt͡ʂpɔˈspɔlita ˈpɔlska], a country located in Central Europe and Colombia (/kəˈlʌmbiə, -ˈlɒm-/ kə-LUM-bee-ə, -LOM-; Spanish: [koˈlombja], officially the Republic of Colombia (Spanish: República de Colombia), a sovereign state largely situated in the northwest of South America, with territories in Central America come to match meet is murder as we endure (enter) the half way mark of the Workd Kup with 32 games (and many Brandy Alexanders) to go as we get a national anthem dose from both sides and NIKE and World Cup Trampoline (TM) and it looks like the winner in national anthem goes to Columbia and how can seeing yourself on camera still have meaning these days (third party validation?) and this will be an elimination round for both of these teams so nerves are on their way and early bump on the head and free kick for Poland and ball out and with a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union and Poland’s capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw as nutcracker and double-header (seriously) and who wears short shorts Poland wears short shorts and Ospina is down with huge owie and indigenous people inhabited the territory that is now Colombia by 12,500 BCE as nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes at the El Abra, Tibitó and Tequendama sites near present-day Bogotá traded with one another and with other cultures from the Magdalena River Valley and Ospina back on his feet and header and now Mina is down with extreme owie with metal studs on hand and Zielinsky rising and Cuadrado up Bereszynski in on Falcao and slip and fall and won the header of Cuadrado and broken by Arias and pop fly and Pazdan brings it back in for Poland and more than a century after the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Poland regained its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles and in September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Germany, followed by the Soviet Union invading Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (no relation to PBR) and more than six million Poles died in the war as both of these teams are playing for keeps and a little payback as Lewandowsky is rammed in the back and in and immediately out and dry off the ball and pushing and shoving and where is the love and Mojica wide attempt and again with the crosses in the box and men seldom make passes at (enter preferred gender here) who wear glasses and close but no Columbian as Poland blocks and the robotic crowd shots (also referred to as emotion) and so close for Columbia and tear the news machine down, circle ‘round the stereo sound, make a party for the locals, locals stand your ground and Colombia was the first constitutional government in South America and the Liberal and Conservative parties, founded in 1848 and 1849 respectively, are two of the oldest surviving political parties in the Americas and on top of that USA USA, slavery was abolished in the country in 1851 and Sanchez sent off injury substitution with surf board stretcher air lift overhead hublot and Superstition Cross (TM) and header, footer, header, header VISA VISA VISA unleash speed in x18 and not to pick on Saudi (baby you can drive my car) Arabia, but feminism in Poland started in the 1800s in the age of the foreign Partitions and Poland’s precursor of feminism, Narcyza Żmichowska, founded a group of Suffragettes in 1842 and prior to the last Partition in 1795, tax-paying females were allowed to take part in political life and since 1918, following the return to independence, all women could vote AND Poland was the 15th (12th sovereign) country to introduce universal women’s suffrage (just sayin’ SA) and oh so close for Columbia and ima Lewandowsky you and OHHH OHHHH it’s in for Columbia and world peace is a reality in the crowd as Quintero in a reverse pass and Mina powers it home and these McDonald ads are on fire and Columbia feeling their oats right now but a drag flag (TM) and bounce roof of net offsides and Falcao is down but back up (like he never went down) and 2 minutes left in this first half and at the half it’s Columbia 1, Poland 0 as a knock on the door is followed by “Mr. Harry, the front desk would like to speak with you” and quiet time and pretend to be empty room as the second half of this game begins and Poland hopes to stay in this 2018 WK scene and James in the middle and Bereszynski heads it up and there’s no one there to receive (we’ve all been there) and Quintero shoots wide and why not and Permasol and Cuadrado on the run from Quintero and since the 1960s, the country has suffered from an asymmetric low-intensity armed conflict between government forces, leftist guerrilla groups and right wing paramilitaries and (no surprise here) the United States has been heavily involved in the conflict since its beginnings, when in the early 1960s the U.S. government encouraged the Colombian military to attack leftist militias in rural Colombia because, you guessed it, this was part of the U.S. fight against communism (which feels rather quant now) and McDelivery and Poland kick turn turn kick turn turn and Max he’s wearing a dress and no kidding and homosexuality in Poland was confirmed as legal in 1932 and Poland recognises gender change and trafficking women is ‘illegal and rare’ as Quintero takes the fifth corner of this game and here comes the change as man down for Poland and oh oh it’s almost there for Lewandowski and painful save right in the chest for Columbia’s goal keeper, his first save of the game, and a good reminder that during the boom in Latin American literature, successful writers emerged, led by Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez and his magnum opus, One Hundred Years of Solitude, which if you haven’t, you really should (maybe skip a few Yelp reviews) and we’ve got a yellow card on the field of dreams and shimmy and WANDA and what the body can do if given a chance and rolie polie owie (TM) and James met by Pazdan and later bounce off face as Poland desperately needs a goal here, or a lifeline, or whatever and Poland free kick and all the bodies crash in and hook it back in danger area and if you’re happy and you know it selfie and OHHH OHHHH at the age of 32 a lifetime dream (!) for Falcao as Quintero passes and Falcao drives it in and it’s Columbia 2, Poland 0 which might be a good moment to remember that the first documented phrase in the Polish language reads “Day ut ia pobrusa, a ti poziwai” (“Let me grind, and you take a rest”) which seems like a pretty good way to start dialog as this Poland team tries to keep the dream of WK alive with a flickering heart and OHHHHH Cuadrado drives it solo down the field and scores good grief and it’s now 3-0 Columbia and party time dance with Columbia legends in the stands and musicians, composers, music producers and singers from Colombia are recognized internationally such as Shakira, Juanes, Carlos Vives and others who might be singing in the streets today (with the help of auto-tune) and wholesome header (TM) and close for Poland but with just 10 minutes to go, seriously, and this near cinematic loss for Poland reminds one that in the 19th century, throughout partitioned Poland, numerous amateur inventors, such as Kazimierz Prószyński, were eager to construct a film projector (imagine, but again, Yelp wasn’t in the way) and in 1894, Prószyński was successful in creating a Pleograph, one of the first cameras in the world which took photographs and projected pictures AND was built before the Lumière brothers lodged their patent so there’s that if you’re going home sans trophy and so close for Columbia again but no and a yellow card and free kick for Columbia but no go and so many Columbia owie’s in this game which brings to mind that through health tourism, many people from all over the world travel from their places of residence to other countries in search of medical treatment and the attractions in the countries visited and Colombia is projected as one of Latin America’s main destinations in terms of health tourism due to the quality of its health care professionals, a good number of institutions devoted to health, and an immense inventory of natural and architectural sites so maybe they’ve got a little secret in terms of injury & owie (TM) and just 2 minutes left in this game and maybe there are no winners or losers in the game of football, life, but tell that to the lonely, the broken and the hopeless who form and shape the world and who’s disparity fuels the engine and primes the pump and folds over and over on itself and finally says, as in this match, game over.

Poland 0
Columbia 3

Germany vs Mexico
Note to readers: you can find all previous Mikel Rouse Sports Blogs HERE

And it’s over the river and through the woods to Grand Master’s Flash we go in this 2018 World War (TM) mixup between Mexico, known as the United Mexican States (Spanish: Estados Unidos Mexicanos, colloquially: Mexico (Spanish: México [ˈmexiko] and Germany (officially: the Federal Republic of Germany; German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland), the largest country in Europe and not your fathers fatherland (?) and the children, the children parade out and these folks seem to actually know their respective National Anthems and final huddle and color field announcements and wipe the sleep from your eyes and off we go and header and footer and OH OH and NO NO but what a breathless start to this VISA VISA VISA and Mexico covers almost two million square kilometers (over 760,000 sq mi), and the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world and Ochoa reached for it and no go and remember German McCartney at 50 coach from 2014 who is now McCartney at 60 and ball knocked out of play and Mexico brings the ball in and ball sails into the crowd which is louder than a steam whistle and Chicharito drives it forward and stopped and free kick and Layún overshoots and back to field play and a swing and a miss from Mexico and a foul and free kick for Mexico and so close but no Montecristo and German drive and miss and in 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire and after World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic (who’s your daddy) and another quick shot by Germany and another short of the distance and header, header, bobble and Hernandez close and tight and tense McCartney at 60 my love does it good and POWERADE and Werner almost in the pocket and no panic from Germany with another shot and save by Mexico and with an estimated population of over 120 million, Mexico is the eleventh most populous and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world while being the second most populous nation in Latin America and slip and fall owie and free kick for Mexico and Mareno puts one up and out and chesty (TM) and Lazano in the box and set up and out and yank me crank me Chicharito barely keeps it alive at the half hour mark and Lazaro’s cross is denied (come again?) and blunder bust and foreplay under pressure and staying with it and cross to the side by Germany and the shared humanity and OHH OHHH it’s in for Mexico as Chicharito runs it and Lazano drives it in and its 1-0 Mexico and Germany is pissed, thus, the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to the establishment of a dictatorship, World War II and the Holocaust (facts are facts asshat) and after the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, two German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American, British and French occupation zones, and East Germany, formed from the Soviet occupation zone and following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990 and Kim Kardashian wore a very decisive hair (again!) at the made for TV MTV Movie and Additional Awards show and a punch up and free kick for Germany and blocked by Mexico in Buster Bluth hand as Mexico tries to keep this 1 point advantage but still drives it down the field and a swing and miss and vari-speed and we are at the half as Mexico leads Germany 1-0 and many Mexican cultural features including tequila (me like), first distilled in the 16th century, charreria (17th), mariachi (18th) and Mexican cuisine, a fusion of American and European (particularly Spanish) cuisine, arose during the colonial era and as we come back from the half it’s all but certain that defending world champions Germany will come back with a vengeance resembling Gottfried Leibniz’s contributions to rationalism and Facebook’s commitment to excellence and the paint drying ball continues to take a lickin’ and common taters and they’re never as good from the front as from behind and Germany down by a goal and heil header and header again and Salcedo of Mexico closes down a German drive and Lazano not happy with a call and Chicharito almost brings it home and Germany takes a shot and is blocked by Mexico (Buster hand) and presidents Porfirio Díaz, (a republican general during the French intervention) and William Howard Taft planned a summit in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, for October 16, 1909, an historic first meeting between a Mexican and a U.S. president and also the first time an American president would cross the border into Mexico (but sadly for Mexico, not the last USA USA) and there’s that WANDA again and at the 60 minute mark this German team it trying to even this score and the spirit of this aggressive German team honors the establishment of classical German idealism by Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling but will that be enough in the 2018 World War (TM) games and he loves you yeah yeah yeah and Mexico pushes it (I don’t push, I’m no pusher) and crowd roars and ballsack dilemma and corner fly area and Germany drives in and blocked by BBH (see above) and we’re at the 66 minute mark and Lazano is off the field and may have scored the winner goal in this 2018 WW bid against Germany and Draxler shoots and it’s over and although wine is becoming more popular in many parts of Germany, especially close to German wine regions (see WORKD KUP logo) the national alcoholic drink is beer, beer, and more beer and German beer consumption per person stands at 110 litres (24 imp gal; 29 US gal) in 2013 and take that USA USA craft tears and Germany brings the ball in and Draxler drives and misses and Chicharito almost drives it home and he’s down and there’s gonna be a penalty here for real and 78k in this stadium making their voices heard for this clash of cultures and Crimea and horrible ball in face owie and Marquez is in and is 39 and makes history playing in his 5th World Cup and the presence of the human being in the Mexican territory has left important archaeological findings of great importance for the explanation of the habitat of primitive man and contemporary man but there is absolutely no accounting for what’s going on north of the border and drop kick me Jesus and German electronic music has gained global influence, with Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream pioneering in this genre and DJs and artists of the techno and house music scenes of Germany have become well known and Germany almost in at 75:30 of this match and Draxler takes a shot and it’s up and over and fuss budget and Mexico almost drives it in again but no no and Diego Rivera, the most well-known figure of Mexican muralism, painted the Man at the Crossroads at the Rockefeller Center in New York City, a huge mural that was destroyed the next year because of the inclusion of a portrait of Russian communist leader Lenin, which, when you think about the 2016 USA USA election, why go to all that trouble and at the 80th minute this German team is bound and determined with not a trace of Arthur Schopenhauer’s composition of metaphysical pessimism and it opens up again for Mexico and a swing and a miss and again (like it’s a theme or something) and we’ve got 10 minutes left in this game and as long as Mexico stands their ground (mixed metaphor) this could be a win for Mexico and a loss for Germany and during the 1970s and 1980s, New German Cinema directors such as Volker Schlöndorff, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder brought West German auteur cinema to critical acclaim as one ponders the game in the life of a player and, interestingly, it is commonly believed that football was introduced in Mexico by Cornish miners at the end of the 19th century and by 1902 a five-team league had emerged with a strong British influence and Mexico’s top clubs are América with 12 championships, Guadalajara with 11, and Toluca with 10 and Antonio Carbajal was the first player to appear in five World Cups, and Hugo Sánchez was named best CONCACAF player of the 20th century by IFFHS and those are also facts as we enter the last three minutes of this action and Mexican fans sensing a win as this crowd cheers as if this is a home game for Mexico and not unlike the enlightenment philosophy of Immanuel Kant, this German team has to wonder about place in time and side by side and Germany almost in twice and almost is as almost does as one for all sense rebate and at 90:00 we have an additional 3 minutes and Mexico blocks and breathe in the minimum and Salt-n-Pepa the header and Gomaz says he was held (and how, in these times, is that a penalty) and game over and Mexico defeats Germany and at the edge of our seats it’s hard not to feel a sense of wonder at the sight of the Mexican supporters in Russia and simple respect given to these teams in the true spirit of competition and it’s hard not to be moved but we will do our best and dare to dream and forget to dream and run it up the flagpole of our shared defeat.

Germany 0
Mexico 1

Morocco vs Iran
Note to readers: you can find all previous Mikel Rouse Sports Blogs HERE

And…. welcome to this third match and second installment of WhatsApp (this is not available for trademark) 2018 action where privacy is a forgotten word but selfie is smoke ‘em if you got ‘em and we’re seeing Morocco (/məˈrɒkoʊ/Arabic: المَغرِب‎, translit. al-maġrib, lit. ‘place the sun sets; the west’ whose capital is Rabat, and the largest city is Casablanca, up against Iran (Persian: ایران‎ Irān [ʔiːˈɾɒːn] also known as Persia (/ˈpɜːrʒə/), officially the Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian: جمهوری اسلامی ایران‎ Jomhuri-ye Eslāmi-ye Irān) which is a sovereign state in Western Asia and with over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world’s 18th-most-populous country
and screaming bride launches this game of house board game of thrones and Belhanda misses a mark and Iran skips a beat and pushes the ball down the field in this middle match of WhatsApp 2018 as Amrabat tries to curl and the ball is out, a man is down and let’s go to the video tape and yes, all the players dove in deep and Amrabat brings the ball back and is blinded by VISA VISA VISA and Morocco is playing footsie with the ball and Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament and the King of Morocco holds vast executive and legislative powers, especially over the military, foreign policy and religious affairs as the ball is hit out and slip and fall and we’re 10 minutes into this and the ball sails across the entire field only to be head butted by Morocco and a stumble by Rezaeian and Morocco with Gene Kelly kick and it’s blocked by Iran and then a header by Rezaeian and stumble from El Kaabi and almost come to blows and Morocco tries to feel out Iran, who according to international reports, has an exceptionally poor human rights record as the regime in Iran is undemocratic, and has frequently persecuted and arrested critics of the government and its Supreme Leader (not exactly a love supreme) and women’s rights in Iran are described as seriously inadequate, and children’s rights have been severely violated, with more child offenders being executed in Iran than in any other country in the world which is probably why Morocco is so concerned and spaceship Belhanda is down with a grimace (you gotta keep an eye on Iran) and free kick and bounces frenetic but to no avail and life is out of bounds and from above this looks like a game of Angry Birds (…I’ve heard) and Iran is going the wrong way (in the game) and free kick for Iran and insufficient guile there as we’re midway through this match and ‘Iran’s back line’ sounds strangely wrong and header this and header that and Iran’s Amiri brings the ball back in and the anxious faces eager for the ball look like children at Christmas, which, well, never mind, and Amrabat fixes his thigh highs laced with menace (thinking about watching Natalie Portman just barely keep her cool while eating extremely spicy wings) and the ball is pretty much a lonely hunter and Morocco is not challenging the center which Iran likes to keep tight (I know, I know) and is it header or footer and El Ahmadi does a poor job clearing it and serious Skip to My Lou on one side of the field and Azmoun down twice in a row for El Ahmadi and free kick for Iran and a swing and a miss at 34:45 of this first half and who thought of these haircuts and Morocco stagnant up top and Azmoun up, down, all around and back on his feet and plenty of lung power in this crowd and Zeyach keeps his head up and by the intense looks on these players faces, it’s clear that whatever you choose, sports, business, murder, it’s commitment that counts and header, header, footer, header and chesty (TM) and another free kick for Iran and a swing and a miss and a dream lover (so I don’t have to dream alone) and Morocco, making an effort to stab before the half, was the first nation to recognise the fledgling United States as an independent nation in 1777 and in the beginning of the American Revolution, American merchant ships in the Atlantic Ocean were subject to attack by the Barbary pirates and on 20 December 1777, Morocco’s Sultan Mohammed III declared that American merchant ships would be under the protection of the sultanate and could thus enjoy safe passage and, thus, the Moroccan–American Treaty of Friendship, signed in 1786, stands as the U.S.’s oldest non-broken friendship treaty (so it’s long overdue to be broken – DJT) and at the half it’s Morocco 0 Iran 0, a reminder that DNA detectives are searching for killers in your family tree and we’re back after the half and out of bounds and that was quick and Iran brings it in and a card handed out from referee from Turkey 6 Million Dollar Man slo-mo and a bit rough and tumble there and header and out and a reminder that at the 1943 Tehran Conference, the Allied “Big Three”-Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill-issued the Tehran Declaration to guarantee the post-war independence and boundaries of Iran; however, at the end of the war, Soviet troops remained in Iran and local pro-Soviet groups established two puppet states in north-western Iran, namely the People’s Government of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Mahabad and we get breaking news concerning WhatsApp (future) action from the USA USA president tweeting: “Thank you for all of the compliments on getting the World Cup to come to the U.S.A., Mexico and Canada. I worked hard on this, along with a Great Team of talented people. We never fail, and it will be a great World Cup!” which seems to sum up this WhatsApp 2018 action and Benatia swept away by Hakimi (I know, I know) and we’re at 51:00 of this challenge and spectacular mid-air crash and off sides exercise and Belhanda footsie and who doesn’t remember during the 2011–12 Moroccan protests, thousands of people rallied in Rabat and other cities calling for political reform and a new constitution curbing the powers of the king and in July 2011, the King won a landslide victory in a referendum on a reformed constitution he had blathered on about and a very tender header by Azmoun and one of these countries doesn’t allow women to watch men’s football and the unrepressed anger on these teams is palatable and on 4 November 1979, a group of Muslim students seized the United States Embassy and took the embassy with 52 personnel and citizens hostage, after the United States refused to return Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to Iran to face trial in the court of the new regime and all but certain execution and attempts by the Jimmy Carter administration to negotiate for the release of the hostages, and a failed rescue attempt, helped force Carter out of office and brought Ronald Reagan to power and we all know how well that went and getting Hakimi forward and at 60:00 this game is still 0-0 and swatted away by Amrabat as the Iran team suffers an owie and Morocco’s Shojaei’s number is up and Taremi’s coming on and a swing and a miss by Iran where Kaaba leaps and a view from on high and Iran misses again and it wasn’t a bad ball (!) and in Morocco women are at times sexually harassed when walking the streets, and a woman walking the streets of Casablanca while filmed by The Moroccan Times was harassed about 300 times so maybe missing football games isn’t the worst thing in the world and the screen goes blank in real time which is cause for imagination and making up something, so historically, Iranian literature has inspired writers such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson and one wonders if football inspires the same level of life and during the 1950s and 1960s, Morocco was a refuge and artistic centre and attracted writers such as Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams and William S. Burroughs and what a cut up that is (think about it) and this game is still 0-0 and I know that because I have a mobile phone but the screen still leaves a wide open and blank flat plank that requires patience and, again, imagination but there’s this: Iran is the apparent birthplace of the earliest complex instruments, dating back to the third millennium BC and at 81:00 we are still at 0-0 and this crowd is both docile and content with the flat screen existence and who can blame them with the amount of saturation and reality and pixels that make the mind glitter and orb and contrive and at 85:00 it’s still 0-0 and in 1952, Orson Welles’ Othello won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival under the Moroccan flag but the Festival’s musicians did not play the Moroccan national anthem, as no one in attendance knew what it was and don’t you think there’s a metaphor here with god and country and football and the pageantry wrapped around sport and cars and the meaningless of it all and certainly a flat screen going blank gives one hope for a reset of sorts and at 90:00 it’s still 0-0 which begs the question: did anything actually happen during the lanky blank screen time as in a portal into another world and we are officially in overtime so there is a penalty kick competition which resembles watching paint dry and OHH OHH at 96:00 it’s Iran with a score making it 1-0 Iran and it looks like this game is complete and what better ending than Trump says he wants “my people” to sit at attention for him like people do for Kim Jong Un and imagine being part of the long con and imagine the grifter in/out of your imagination because your imagination is no match for the Grifter in Chief.

Morocco 0
Iran 1

Russia vs Saudi Arabia
Note to readers: you can find all previous Mikel Rouse Sports Blogs HERE

And it’s one, two, three what are we fighting for in this 2018 WORKD KUP (TM) opener with the likes of Russia begin and beguine again and Saudi (that’s what I like about you) Arabia and old enemies are now old friends and what goes up must come ‘round in this 2018 FISA action with VAR (more on that later) and unleashed speed as the ball turns over in the middle of the third and the back and forth and the field is striped as Golovin earns the corner and Genet takes one away and Al Sahlawi goes after the goal and oh oh oh it’s in play and oh oh oh then it’s not as Russia throws in (there’s been a lot of this of late) and KSA blocks and Golovin is on the side and lifted long, maybe too long and a matter of what kind of form you’re in and Zobdin says ‘it’s out’ but OHH it’s in and Gazinskiy scores, and Russia (Russian: Росси́я, tr. Rossiya, IPA: [rɐˈsʲijə]), officially the Russian Federation, is the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with over 144 million people as of December 2017, excluding Crimea (but obviously not for long, if you get my drift) and it’s 1-0 and this crowd is on its feet post 2016 USA USA election and a throw in for Russia and wait, wait, it could have been 2-0 but something happened towards respecting and keeping the flag down and pass by Smolov and moving the ball forward and the oldest Russian to play a World Cup and that ball is going, going… no it’s back on the field and Al Sahlawi argues and the statistics for brain injury in football are not the same as in football and man down and hope it’s not too bad but it’s not looking good but Kutepof still going and good recovery by Saudi Arabia (/ˌsɔːdi əˈreɪbiə/), officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), which is a sovereign Arab state in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula and with a land area of approximately 2,150,000 km2 (830,000 sq mi), and Saudi Arabia is geographically the fifth-largest state in Asia and second-largest state in the Arab world after Algeria and Saudi kick it to the fans and now USA USA not in World Cup action (which would have been yuge) and Smolov making a run and a free kick for KSA and poor marking (!) by Russia and a goal kick for KSA and finally, a whistle for the foul but Smolov’s at the end of the line and Al Faraj holding there but Al Shehri is the guy you want on the ball (so to speak) and oh oh Cheryshev goes for the goal and GOAL as he scores and following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world’s first constitutionally socialist state, and a lot of good that did and this game is now 2-0 for Russia as we near the half hearted and the goal founded busk duster of WORKD KUP (TM) action and Al Mayouf May be pushing it short and Kutepov denies and I think as the half nears, we give credit to Russia as they came out on this field with the ‘right attitude’ and at the half it’s 2-0 Russia and ready for the second half and already there’s a free kick and head bounce once or twice and twisty body angle and again, that’s the rhythm you get in and VISA VISA VISA and a little flick for the defender and differential and Smolov brings it down on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which was founded in 1932 by Ibn Saud, who united the four regions into a single state through a series of conquests beginning in 1902 with the capture of Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud, not to be confused with House of Cards now in its 6th and final season (USA USA) and Sahlawi at the half way line as the Russians are coming the Russians are coming want to preserve this 2-0 lead and the Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world’s first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space and by the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world’s second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction (take that USA USA) and Smolov, not unlike Ivan the Terrible, who nearly doubled the already large Russian territory by annexing the three Tatar khanates (parts of the disintegrated Golden Horde): Kazan and Astrakhan along the Volga River, and the Siberian Khanate in southwestern Siberia, swings and sort of misses and a free kick for Saudi but to no avail and Al Faraj second on the green for the ball and Hawsawi across the field and those WANDA ads should be making everyone dizzy because the kingdom is categorized as a World Bank high-income economy with a high Human Development Index and is the only Arab country to be part of the G-20 major economies (not to be confused with the recent G-6 plus 1) and Russia has the ball and Cheryshev on the end of it and Saudi push it push it and over the Russia hosting of first World Cup becomes her in a foul against Russia and the belly boat of time and the arch of madness, of how we forget and ignore what’s right in front of us, the crisis, the love, the family of man and the ball is in Russia control and under Peter the Great, Russia was proclaimed an Empire in 1721 and became recognized as a world power and ruling from 1682 to 1725, Peter defeated Sweden in the Great Northern War, forcing it to cede West Karelia and Ingria (two regions lost by Russia in the Time of Nobody knows the Troubles that I’ve Seen) and Oh Oh Oh Golovin drives it in and its 3-0 Russia in this second half of FISA WORKD KUP (TM) action and Saudi has to be asking what was all that oil about and it is now believed that the first modern humans to spread east across Asia left Africa about 75,000 years ago across the Bab-el-Mandeb connecting Horn of Africa and Arabia but facts can be slippery things and when you add history, science, religion, you get at best, a mix but we’re gripped in victory and defeat as Bahebri has come in for a free kick and either Russia or Qatar Airlines is controlling the field with the bareback emotion of a ‘come from behind’ kind of feeling, which reminds this crowd of Catherine II (“the Great”)(“they love horses, don’t they?”), who ruled in 1762–96, presided over the Age of Russian Enlightenment as she extended Russian political control over the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and incorporated most of its territories into Russia during the Partitions of Poland, pushing the Russian frontier westward into Central Europe much like this Russian team is pushing this Saudi team all over the field as everything is going in Russia’s favor in this first game of World Cup action and Al Faraj loads one up and the ball is once again back in Russia’s hands (feet, whatever) and just because the Saudi team is in green, does that mean the managers have to wear green ties and running backwards is definitely a skill to cultivate and boy, will there be a party in Red Square tonight, but it’s worth mentioning that the Islamic prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca in about 571 A.D. and in the early 7th century, Muhammad united the various tribes of the peninsula and created a single Islamic religious polity and following his death in 632, his followers rapidly expanded the territory under Muslim rule beyond Arabia, conquering huge and unprecedented swathes of territory (from the Iberian Peninsula in west to modern day Pakistan in east) in a matter of decades because, as in all sports, that’s what one does, and the ball floats as if it’s a symbol of hope or distress and the crowd is painted, like really painted on their bodies and faces and who goes out in public like that and the Russians are slowing it down, which is what a 3-0 lead will do to you and it’s a subtle reminder that on December 31, 1999, President Boris Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned, handing the Russian Presidency to the recently appointed Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, who then won the 2000 presidential election, who then in 2008 became Prime Minister who then in 2012 became President again who then in 2016 kinda became President of the USA USA (this can be hard to follow) but that’s not to take anything away from this Russian team and their control of this first game in the 2018 WORKD KUP (TM) as life is long and loud and longer still and one has to wonder how this Saudi team is feeling, having been trounced by the superior abilities of this Russian juggernaut, for Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries that have “religious police” (known as Haia or Mutaween), who patrol the streets “enjoining good and forbidding wrong” by enforcing dress codes, strict separation of men and women, attendance at prayer (salat) five times each day, the ban on alcohol, and other aspects of Sharia (Islamic law) but, and this is a big but, in the privacy of the home behavior can be far looser, and reports from the Daily Mail and WikiLeaks (making elections fairer and safer worldwide) indicate that the ruling Saudi Royal family applies a different moral code to itself, indulging in parties, drugs and sex, because, as in all sports, that’s what one does and this clock is ticking down on the sunset of the House of Saud but there’s still some chest bumping resistance and did that Russian take a knee and this is looking like a shutout and OHH where did that come from as Cheryshev scores again and it’s 4-0 and what a way for this game to end from the beginning to the end to the begin the beguine again and you may ask as this game comes to an end: why are they still playing and Russia gets a free kick (just to make things really painful) and good grief Golovin strikes for yet another goal and its now 5-0 Russia and it’s quite a day for Golovin and for the Russians and maybe it’s a good time to reflect on the absence of USA USA in this 2018 WORKD KUP (TM) but maybe more significant, to reflect on the change of life, the deranged churning of history, the remembrance of fallen hero’s never far from our thoughts and feelings and the unshakable sinkhole of an American Dream.

Russia 5
Saudi Arabia 0