In another qualifying match for the World Cup yesterday, Ecuador played Paraguay in Quito at 4:20 p.m. This was a do or die game in many ways, because a loss would definitely ruin Ecuador's chances of making the World Cup, and a tie most likely wouldn't be good enough. But Paraguay was going to be a tough opponent, and they were already high up in the rankings.
Earlier in the afternoon I was told that all classes after 3 o'clock would be canceled, and I was ecstatic to have the rest of the day off. But I was then told that classes were only canceled between 3-6 p.m. and I would have to teach at 7. I was not happy with this, to say the least. First, my mindset was already that of not having to teach later on. And the game would only be ending after 6, leaving me to then inhale my dinner and rush to the university. Also, if Ecuador won, no one would go to class anyway because they would be out celebrating in the streets, so I would have to rush down there to sign in and then wait a few minutes and leave.
It was totally pointless. But again like on Sunday a TV was set up in my hallway and I watched with my host sister. Towards the end of the first half Lauren showed up with a couple of beers. Like on Saturday, Ecuador was outplaying the other team, but just not able to score. There's one player on the team, #11, who always finds himself in the right place at the right time but just can't score. His headers always go too high or to the side. It's frustrating watching him play.
Halfway through the second half a substitute for Ecuador came in. It was the same guy who scored the goal on Sunday just after he came in. Apparently lightning strikes twice in Quito. Just a minute or two after he came into the came he scored again on a corner kick. The stadium went wild and we could hear people screaming down the street as well. It seemed as though the team was going to win and I might not have to teach.
Paraguay was a dangerous team and every time they got near the goal it was a close call, but finally the game entered the stoppage time, and with 3 minutes left, everyone was on the edge of their seats. And then it happened. With probably less than 3o seconds left in the game Paraguay scored and tied it up at 1-1. You could feel the air deflated out of the country. They didn't even get a chance to put the ball in play again because time ran out. It was the definition of last minute heroics.
And with that, the chances of making the World Cup probably blew away., along with my chances of not having class. I had to eat my dinner as quickly as I possibly could and then rush down to the university. Only 5 of the 10 students showed up and I told them that I wasn't going to keep class very long because I wasn't really planning on teaching, and no one seemed to care. We still had a normal enough class and finished out what I'd planned to do, but no one was into it.
People often live and die with soccer down here. The next big thing to look forward to will be the Cuenca vs. Boca Juniors game. The only problem is that no one seems to know when it actually is. I've heard 4 different dates now, and I just want to know so I can plan accordingly to get tickets and cancel my class.