The last meaningful pass was arguably the most brilliant kick of the ball in what many agreed was the most enthralling and life-changing football match of the last 50 years. The German left-back hit the ball with that part of the foot immediately abutting the ankle - causing it to spin backwards as it flew forward. This movement meant that when it stopped, the ball would stop dead and, if the forward got to the spot at the same time the ball dropped, it would have been like he was kicking a ball that had been placed by a guiding hand right there for him. However, the ball was also moving faster than he could move and so, it stopped too close to the Chinese goal-keeper before he could get to it.
That was it. 15 second later, the final whistle went and all around the world, people sat back from the edges of their chairs and contemplated what this Chinese victory in the World Cup would mean for them.
Decades earlier, during a period in time when war-weary governments and populations decided that something extremely radical had to be tried - since everything else had been tried out with no resulting success - it was decided that membership of the World Government was henceforth to be decided by perfomance in the football World Cup. The US Americans tried to amend the decision to make the sport Baseball or Monster Truck Racing but, they were easily shouted down by conference members (some of who angrily waved sheaves of worthless US Treasury Bills).
FIFA President Raul Del Piero rubbed his hands in glee - exactly like a movie bad guy...
Obviously, the supremacy of the match referee could no longer be sacrosanct - the stakes were now too high to be left in the hands of one corruptible man. Manufacturers of goal-line technology rubbed their hands in anticipation - exactly like greedy fat-cats from the movies...
An old dilemma for racial purists in various countries now took on added significance: The world government, when your turn arrives, will consist of members of the team that won the Cup. So, do you deny yourselves the chance to run things because these men are of an unacceptable skin tone or, do you support the best from your country (regardless of their ethnicity) so that you got a chance to rule the world?
For many, the price was too high and they let it be known that they would rather remain outside the corridors of power than be carried there on the shoulders of those who they viewed as being "racially impure".
The President of FIFA, at one of his self-aggrandizing news conferences, goes on at length about how the arrangement benefits all human species, "The corruption is no more. Prejudice is no more. War is no more..."
Cynics, when they refer to this speech, point out that the corruption now only exists in the National Leagues and at FIFA itself. However, all (aside from the mentally unbalanced) agree that finding militarily-inclined persons alternative employment as football coaches was a good thing.
So now, the crowning moment of any General's career is the World Cup. Most who would have sought life-long careers in the military divert themselves to the football leagues. And unlike in the past when only a specific number of players represented every team, the World Cup now consisted of whole First Divisions competing against each other - it was still 11 versus 11 but, the pool from which teams could be drawn had now expanded to include every player in the First Division of each competing country.
This had brought an end to the practice of the best players in the world going to the leagues that paid the most money because, with the realisation of what was at stake, countries started diverting major chunks of their budget into developing their National Leagues. Also, no one wanted to spend money developing players that would end up winning the World Government for another country.
These resources were spent not only on stadiums and training facilities but also on educational institutions as, it was a rule that any person without at least a first degree would not be allowed to play in the Senior National Leagues (and thus the World Cup). And of course in the beginning, not long after this rule was announced, some countries started compelling universities to award Bachelors degrees in courses like Dog-walking and Soup-making but, following outcries throughout the global media, FIFA soon put a stop to this.
When it eventually became clear to all that the better prepared intellectually their representatives were, the better they would be capable of resisting/overcoming the machinations of entrenched bureaucrats at the world government, countries started taking the enhancement of their footballers intelligence very seriously. This meant that right from early in life, citizens were evaluated in order that those with the right mix of body and mind intelligence could be nurtured.
And it was always the experience of a lifetime to watch, as players you may have known from the times when they progressed through the Junior Leagues, to the Intermediate and, the Senior League, took their place in the centre circle at the beginning of a World Cup. You knew (as you watched them striving together to outplay their opponents) that you were looking at the best your country had to offer and, you knew, as their victory became assured, that you were looking at the next rulers of the world.
To be there as all this happened is an experience that words cannot describe.
FINAL PART TOMMOROW...