Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Germany Poland

I appear not to be writing "amusing" titles for these posts anymore. In this case that's because I'm not sure I trust myself to not make reference to the war (the BBC were fairly restrained - Lineker with one half sly reference to the irony of their being an invasion of Polish fans into Germany) and Guy Mowbray (I think that's who it was) slipping one reference in, but giving it due reverance and placing it in historical context before quoting Basil Fawlty - a well handled moment I thought, and certainly more tactful than Motty would have been).

The game was another really entertaining affair - me and my esteemed housemate were both puzzled as to why the Poles appeared to be playing for a draw, even before going down to ten men. Germany had looked vunerable defensively before the tournament and their performance against Costa Rica did nothing to change anyone's perceptions on that, but they had looked impressive enough going forward to make anyone in this tournament think twice about trying to hold on for a nil nil against them. In addition to this a draw would have left them with a maximum of 4 points available to them - which Germany would already have and which Ecuador are almost certain to exceed tomorrow, meaning they would have had to hope that Ecuador beat Germany, when they would have no particular incentive to.

Anyway, the German's reversed the day's cliche tally (Spain are perenially poor in big tournaments took a beating today) by ensuring that the notion that Germany always score crucial late goals remains as true today as it is in popular mythology.

All in all though, this game started the second round of games (I'm finding it difficult to know what noun to use by the way - second "round" implies the post-knockout round, but so does the use of "phase" and "stage" - can we just all take it as read that I mean the bit after all the teams have had a go and are all getting a second go?) with similar levels of excitement and verve as the Germans did on day one, lo these 6 days ago...This tournament has been absolutely cracking so far and I'm hoping tomorrow doesn't disappoint. Much as part of me would like to foresake nationalism in favour of poeticism and underdog victory, I just can't quite bring myself to support plucky minnows aganist England.