true faith – Group G Round-up

by • June 17, 2014 • UncategorizedComments Off on true faith – Group G Round-up478

Let me just start this Group G round-up from the Berlin bunker with some troubling Germany1news.

During half-time in the Costa Rica – Uruguay game (and what a game it was!) there was a video shown from the German training camp. A man in a wet white shirt and shorts was running across the beach. In slow-motion. For at least thirty seconds.

Who was this man?

A player? A celebrity? David Hasselhoff? Shola?

Nope – it was Germany coach Joachim Löw. Or, as he’s called here, Jogi Löw (pronounced Jergi Lerrve). A Middle-aged man turned into a sex symbol by virtue of the fact he doesn’t look like your typical manager. It’s like everyone here wants to have sex with this strange, metrosexual man. To be fair, even the Germans I spoke to found it a bit much. I mean, imagine it was Woy? Or ‘Big Sam’?

Luckily for you guys, a quick Google search can’t find that video.

Anyway, on to the Portugal game. After a rush home from work, I made it to a public viewing a few minutes from my flat, which was recommended by a neighbour. Compared to some of the places I went to for Euro 2012 and the World Cup in 2010 for this publication (is it still correct to call it a publication??), this had a few benefits: There was no admission fee, despite this being a Germany game, and there were places to sit.

There were also negatives, however: small, relatively expensive beer, long queues, crap bar staff, lots of kids and a generally very ‘hipster’ bunch of people. And the only thing worse than hipsters are German hipsters. Except for mackems.

Having said that, it was around the corner, and one of the lasses behind the bar fucked-up my order so much, that my change was actually more than I gave her. Result. Anyhow, onto the game…

Despite playing four centre-backs in a seemingly counter-intuitive plan to counter Portugal’s quick wingers (Boateng, Mertesacker, Hummels and Höwedes), Germany started brightly and benefited (as pointed out later, with great relish by German TV) from Pepe’s poor positioning leading to both the penalty and then the next goal, before he completely imploded by trying to provoke Müller with a soft headbutt. Surprisingly, Müller didn’t fling himself to the floor as expected, but still got the correct decision from the referee.

After that, as you all know the game was all over.

The loudest cheers of the night (during the game, at least) occurred, in ascending order, for: Hummels’ thumping headed goal; Merkel celebrating Hummels’ goal; and Ronaldo blasting a free-kick perfectly against a one-man wall.

Just to go back a bit to bring home how weird this place was – it’s a centre of art and culture, apparently – the loudest cheers of the night came as (at the start of the second half), the power save mode on the TV kicked-in. As the screen counted down from 120 seconds, the people in the bar chanted along the countdown, with a huge cheer coming when the screen went out. Then another long and loud cheer when a guy with a ladder came out to check on the projector, as the remote controls seemed to have no batteries.

All the while though, as this was going one, another (smaller) screen was showing YouTube documentaries against the World Cup, FIFA and the regime in Brazil. Like I said, it was a weird bar…

Anyway, the Germans are over the moon. I even heard a joke that, once they win the World Cup, they can take Poland again. They probably think they’re going to win the whole thing now, despite the fact they put four past a ten-man Polish team which is a few years removed from a European power.

But enough about the Germans. For now.

Let them celebrate and get their hopes up. They’re not gonna win the whole thing anyway. Not once the Nigerian coach puts Shola in the starting eleven.

I set my DVR-type thing to tape the USA – Ghana game, but it turns out it only recorded the build-up, which has affected my ability to comment on that game. I caught the highlights, but Diana Ross wasn’t playing for ‘Murica, and the commentator didn’t even mention it at all, so I don’t know what happened there. Maybe Klinsmann left her out for sleeping with Landon Donovan. Not that I want to start any rumours.

Anyway, it seemed to be an open game, albeit somewhat lacking in quality. And the Germans are happy with the winners, what with Jögi Low’s old boss in charge, and plenty of current and ex-Bundesliga players in the Yank team (including Hertha Berlin’s Brooks, who nodded home the winner).

Should make for an interesting match between the two teams to round-up the group on June 26.

NEIL CRANSWICK

 

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