true faith – GROUP G – Ich Bin Ein Berliner

by • June 22, 2014 • tf blogsComments Off on true faith – GROUP G – Ich Bin Ein Berliner397

Aside from the usual hilarity about England’s failures, plus excitement at the struggles of aGermangraffiti Spanish team who have beaten them quite a bit recently, the Germans have been pretty quiet these last few days. They were all very impressed with Germany’s win against Portugal, but they quickly moved on from that to focus on the game against Ghana, knowing a win would see them through to next round (as expected), which is where things will start to get a bit more interesting.

Due to a combination of laziness, and illness (I’m currently at death’s door with man-flu), I shirked my journalistic responsibility and stayed in the bunker to watch the game, which was a nice change, having only been home one night of the past seven.

Because of that, I got to watch Iran very nearly upset the Argies, and then watch the build-up to the game – which focused mainly on Hummels’ and Neuer’s return from knocks, Schweinsteiger’s inability to crack the first team, and the Boateng (half-) brothers.

You probably all know the story of the first brothers to play against each other in a World Cup, but it’s huge news here still, four years on from the first meeting (as seen on the front page of many of the papers yesterday), in the city where they both grew up with (different) German mothers. Aside from when Kevin Prince played for Dortmund (on loan) against Jerome’s HSV, the older brother has never won a professional game against his younger brother (the score was 4-1 to Jerome before the yesterday’s meeting). Who would win this time?

Both sides started the first half creating good chances – Germany mainly through a lively
looking Mesut Özil, who seemed to break at will down the flank (although Müller never seemed to be able to get into enough space to benefit from some dangerous crosses). Ghana also had a little joy on the flanks, as well as a few good shots from distance to keep Neuer busy.

Even though Jögi Lerrve is trying to rely less on counter-attacking than Germany did in the past, they still have the players to destroy other teams once they go a goal ahead. Which I guess they would have done, had Ayew not nodded an excellent equaliser for Ghana two minutes after ‘the German Messi’ Mario Götze expertly headed Germany in the lead (via his knee).

In fact, it was Ghana who had more joy on the break in this match, catching Germany’s four centre backs out of position, or just using their superior speed to accelerate past the (nominal) full backs or into the gaps between the defenders. Ghana were good value for their go-ahead goal until – luckily for Germany – the old veteran Miroslav Klose scored the equaliser (his 15th goal in 20 World Cup games) with his first touch. He’s a hell of a player, still, and for me he’s a big loss up front (as is Schweinsteiger in the midfield).

Despite some end-to-end action after that – with both teams having good chances (possibly more so, Ghana) – the game ended two-two. All in all, the draw is probably a fair result and the excitement of the second half masked some of the more boring football on show in the first. As a result, we know now just how vulnerable Germany actually are at the back, and that Ghana (who have to be in a struggle to get our of the group now) are actually a sharp, but let down by some questionable decision-making when they do have chances.

Ironically – despite almost all of the build-up focusing on them – both of the Boatengs had very quiet games before being substituted.

I won’t get a chance to watch the USA – Portugal game later today as my football team have their last game of the season today, followed by beer, a barbecue, and then later a concert with the missus, so I’ll have to end my Group G report here. I mean, now Pepe’s suspended, the capacity for violence/hilarity is highly reduced, anyway…

Let’s just say that the Portuguese/USA fans (delete as appropriate) will find much to cheer about after today’s game, which has thrown the group wide open/taken Portugal completely out of the equation. And as for Ronaldo, he’s a genius/complete tosspot who isn’t fit to polish Shola’s boots.

NEIL CRANSWICK

 

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