Episode #19: The curse

My first and everlasting impression of Moscow: sitting in a bus for 40 minutes to drive 1 and a half kilometers to get to the hotel.
One and a half kilometers. That’s not even a mile!
And it took 40 minutes.
I had never seen traffic move so slowly in my life, and I am from Miami, where traffic has no hour because every hour is susceptible to being traffic hour.

When it comes to traffic, Miami ain’t got nothing on you Russia.

I was with the Croatian National team and we were playing a game against Russia for the Word Cup qualifiers in Canada 2015.
We only had this one game to play and in ranking the Russian team is not that far ahead of us other than the fact that they have competed in the European cup and we haven’t.

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The game started and within the first ten minutes we were already down 1-0 off a bicycle kick goal. I’m pretty sure that that player is never going to score a goal like that ever again but of course she could only pull it off against us. What luck.
We assumed that the Russians expected to massacre us so when it became more difficult for them to score more goals it seemed like the referees jumped in to help.
Every ten seconds in the second half there seemed to be a foul. All for Russia of course. We didn’t even have to touch them and they were getting fouls. Usually other teams have to at least yell or fall or dive, but not in Russia.
Stats show that we had 26 fouls in the game…26 is a lot of fouls for a soccer match, and even if Russia had very little calls against them that’s still over 30 fouls that were constantly breaking the flow of the game. Ridiculous. One of our players even got a red card and got sent off, an accumulated two yellows actually, but for fouls that weren’t even fouls nor worth yellow cards in the first place.

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We lost the game 1-0 even though we scored a goal in the minutes of the game, which was taken away from us because the ref called a foul…go figure…
So we are all convinced that there is a curse on us like the curse of the Black Pearl. It seems this way for us because we are always playing against not only the other team but the refs as well (sometimes when were playing in our own country even) and the other team scores miraculous impossible goals or gets a penalty in the 90th minute or gets lucky with an own goal…and no matter what we do the odds never seem to be in our favor.