The ball rasps the net and drops in little bounces till it comes to rest on the cushion of grass behind the goalpost. The striker had cradled it in his broad chest, let it drift downwards, and booted it on-the-volley, twelve inches above the turf. The winger had deftly dummied it past himself, and torn after it down the flank. It had been a speedy counterattack, and he had only needed to skirt one tired lunge before floating it into the penalty box. It had started as a goal kick. The goalkeeper had launched the ball straight down the middle of the pitch, and seen the ball travel to number 10. Number 10 had feinted this way and half-turned that way, sweeping the entire opposing midfield out of his way. Then, he had lobbed the ball over a couple of legs to his team mate on the wing.
Football is rather like real life. No, football is real life dramatised in a grassy arena. You have to play the game; throw in hard tackles; ride the tackles of others; deal with censure and yellow cards; be buoyed by the cadence-cries of the fans cheering you on; throw the ball back in, when it goes out of play; rely on your team mates (be they family, friends or workmates). And football replays all life’s real problems in ninety minutes. It figures that we hate a goalless game.