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GAME 9: Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam


I'd like to dedicate this game to Johan Cruyff, Dutch master, who sadly passed away last week. He epitimized the true spirt of the game, never embracing all the nonsense that surrounds it. I think he would have loved the way football unified these guys today.

Brilliant sponteanous game by the banks of Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi this afternoon! I'd been wandering round for a little while looking for a suitable place to play-hard to do in this jam packed crazy motorbike town! I spotted a square where Thoian and his friends were sitting having a chat and coffee. I invited all the chaps to play and 3 joined in. Jason and Jeff, US airforcemen based in South Korea, and on leave in Hanoi, were walking by and agreed to play. Another local man joined the ranks and we had a 3 v 3. Only 10 minutes into the game, Rebecca and Andrea, also from the US, joined in. We really had a game on our hands now!

4 v 4 ! Each team made up of Vietnamese-USA players. In near perfect playing conditions, Rebecca and Andrea energised their respective teams; getting into great shooting positions and forcing the issue. Rebecca had played before and was an oustanding number 10; pulling the strings and positionally astute. It was end to end stuff. The local men were brilliantly enthusiastic, particularly Thoian, and totally immersed themselves in the game. Andrea scored with a fantastic looping effort and goals rained in as the passing on both sides became sharper and more effective. Chuc, who'd been watching patiently from the side-lines, joined in towards the end.

Although tight at 4-4 at one point, Rebecca's team ran away with it in the end 8-5!

A simple, beautiful, unifying game of footy that came out of nowhere! Best game in the world!

RIP Johan

(facebook/around the world in 80 games)

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