June 12, 2008

Chinks in the armour

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

After watching the Germany-Croatia game for 90 or so minutes in agony, I realized why it was so painful after it ended. Croatia didn’t win the game per se, Germany lost the game. Ze Germans were at what could be described at their worst. Their passes weren’t crisp, their defence was lackluster and — for the second game in a row — “wunderkid” Mario Gomez looked straight up awful. Michael Ballack wasn’t at top form and I’m not exactly sure why Jansen’s on this team. Even the breaks weren’t going the Germans way. The second goal was more about luck than skill — and a little bit of Jens Lehman’s fault. I don’t care if the ball glanced off Podolski (another good effort from the Pole), Lehman should have been able to knock the ball out instead of letting it bounce of the post and in front of the goal.

In the end, you could see the frustration from the Croat’s peskiness building inside the Germans and on their faces. Losing Bastian Schweinsteiger (I spelled it right first try!) for the next game because of his dumb red card will hurt the team, but then again, their next fixture is against “lowly” Austria.

Speaking of Austria, how big of a horseshoe do they have jammed up their collective asses to get that penalty kick with ZERO time left to tie Poland? About the size of the Alps I would think. Now Austrian vet Ivica Vastic can boast that he gets free beer for life, thanks to an Austrian brewery who promised that the first Austrian player to score in the tourney would gain that right. As for Poland, well they can’t help but be disappointed after getting a second straight stunning performance out of their goalkeeper Artur Boruc.

So since the second game of the day ended in a tie, the last two games of this group will have three countries on the edge of their seats, hoping for a victory and pass through to the next phase. Germany may be the front-runners, but maybe they aren’t the juggernaut I want them to be. Austria has looked better than anyone expected and if they learn how to finish with the ball, they could grab a win. Poland has Boruc playing great and that might be enough to beat a Croatian side that might already be looking ahead. Is it bad that I’m a little scared for Monday?

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