Forget the Bailout Bowl or the Lalas v. Ballack grudge match, the erudite among us know that Friday’s Germany-Greece quarterfinal is really a replay of the two nation’s infamous 1972 International Philosophy final, seen here:
(Never mind that that’s likely what a group stage game between Greece and England would have looked like: 90 minutes of both teams standing behind the ball then a late goal.)
In tribute to the play and thought of those 22 great minds, we’ve decided to construct our own philosopher’s XI here:
GK – Zeno of Citium – The original Stoic taught that negative emotions could be snuffed out by the virtue of Reason, and so he never dwells on giving up a goal.
SW – Rene Descartes – Useful to have as the last man back, since unlike many of the others on this team his cogito ergo sum pronouncement means he almost never gets caught unprepared while trying to think himself out of existence.
LCB – Francis Bacon – Uses the knowledge gained via senses to save his teams…uhh, chances in the defensive end.
RCB – Soren Kierkegaard – The first existentialist isn’t really a team player or a system guy, but he makes up for it with his ferocious individual man marking.
CDM – Thomas Hobbes – Ensures the lives of opposing playmakers are nasty, brutish and short.
Left carillero – Friedrich Nietzsche – Philosophy’s own Jermaine Jones, always bending the laws of the game and claiming he has surpassed soccer’s primitive value system.
Right carillero – Confucius – The ultimate teammate, always serving as a model for others. He knows that he would not appreciate it if one of his teammates were to hog the ball and never pass, and so he does not do it himself.
CAM – Sócrates – An unfortunate smudge on the manager’s team sheet means Brazilian attacking midfielder Sócrates – who replaced Hippocrates as the team’s physician/philosopher – starts over favored Greek philosopher Socrates.
LW – Thomas Aquinas – No tiki-taka for the ever-incisive Saint Thomas, who recognizes that just as the object of the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity are God Himself, the object of the footballing virtues – dribbling, passing and shooting – are goals themselves.
CF – Martin Heidegger – Has apparently decided that the reason there is something rather than nothing is because nothing is awfully hard to score goals into.
RW – John Locke – Begins each game with his own tabula rasa, learning from the opponent and adapting his ideas and methods to them in order to liberate his forwards upon the goal.