Tag Archives: Klose

Technology debate rekindled in wake of questionable decisions

Two World Cup matches, two flashpoints. The widespread acclaim that greeted the referees at the outset of the 2010 World Cup has well and truly evaporated by now.

This World Cup has seen its share of controversial decisions. Having come back from a two goal deficit, the United States were wrongly denied a winner by referee Koman Coulibaly. The Malian official ruled out Michael Bradley’s late goal for a foul. Video technology would have revealed that no infringement took place in the Slovenian penalty area.

Kaká, one of the stars of world football, was dismissed for an apparent elbow against Côte d’Ivoire. Television replays revealed that Sebastien Lannoy was deceived by the Ivorian winger, Kader Keita. Kaká was suspended as a result of the incorrect decision.

The events of Sunday, June 27 will be impossible to forget for fans of England and Mexico. Frank Lampard’s legitimate goal against Germany, which may have had a profound effect on the outcome, was not given. A simple television replay would have given the referee the information required to make an informed decision. Goal-line technology has long been advocated by a large number of managers at both club and international level. A system similar to the famous Hawkeye technology  used in cricket and tennis matches could be utilised to great effect by FIFA. For some, the solutions are even simpler. Mark Ogden, The Daily Telegraph’s Northern Football Correspondent, shared a rudimentary, yet effective, idea via his Twitter page.

“Sandpit behind the line. If the ball is in, it will stop dead and won’t bounce. Simple.”

The suggestion initially seems laughable. On second look, it appears more sensible than ridiculous. In any case, it marks a marked improvement on incorrect or unfair decisions.

Sepp Blatter’s repeated rejection of calls for television replays are folly. Blatter, who once remarked that “we must never stop the match with videos or monitors to look at what has happened”, is clearly not a fan of other sports. Almost every other major sport has some form of “video referee”. In American football, coaches are given flags. In cases where a questionable decision is made by a the referees or umpires, the coach may throw one of his limited number of challenge flags onto the field and call for the referee’s decision to be ‘sent to the booth’. The match referee then consults the video replay and reevaluates his previous decision.

The apparent infallibility of referees in association football is misguided. As Carlos Tevez wheeled away in jubilation at having scored the opening goal in the Round of 16 match against Mexico, replays on the scoreboard at Soccer City showed how the Argentine was offside when Lionel Messi played the crucial assist to him. The fans, players, coaching staff and officials were instantly given access to a view at what had actually occurred. Mexico’s players were particularly incensed. They, rightly, angrily confronted Roberto Rosetti and his assistant. Having seen their mistake, the officials should have been given the authority to reverse the  decision. They were unable to do this. Mexico, demoralised by the goal, promptly conceded a second through a defensive error which may or may not have been the result of a lapse in concentration stemming from the earlier refereeing error.

The safety and welfare of referees is threatened by their inability to correct their mistakes. Referees have been targeted by tabloid campaigns and, far more worryingly, death threats. In the interest of fairness and in the interest of safety for their referees, FIFA must take positive action towards implementing corrective technology no matter what form that may take.

Germany rout sorry England

Germany 4-1 England


‘Das neue Deutschland’, the latest incarnation of the German national team routed Fabio Capello’s England 4-1 in Bloemfontein. Two early goals from Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski gave Jogi Löw’s young squad the advantage before Matthew Upson’s header brought England back into the game. Moments later Frank Lampard appeared to have scored a spectacular equaliser. In what will surely rank as one of the most controversial refereeing decisions in the history of the tournament, neither referee Jorge Larrionda nor his assistants noticed the ball cross the goalline. After the break Thomas Müller was the beneficiary of two superb counterattacks from Germany, notching a brace and ending all hopes of an English revival.

Germany started the game at a frantic pace. Mesut Özil, the World Cup’s outstanding player to date, found himself through on David James’ goal after his supreme first touch took him past Ashley Cole. Özil was denied by the feet of James, the first of many impressive saves from the Portsmouth goalkeeper.

James was powerless to prevent Germany’s opener in the twentieth minute, however. A long goalkick from Manuel Neuer reached Miroslav Klose following poor defending from John Terry and Matthew Upson, who allowed the ball to bounce for the Bayern München striker. Klose netted his fiftieth goal for Germany, holding off the challenge from Upson and stretching to prod the ball past David James. It was the archetypical ‘Route One’ goal, completely the opposite of Joachim Löw’s favoured method, but Miroslav Klose is peerless in such situations.

The goal prompted a prolonged period of German pressure. Klose almost scored his second after remarkable build-up play from Mesut Özil and Thomas Müller. The Polish-born striker took the wrong approach, firing his low shot straight at the goalkeeper. Just minutes later, Lukas Podolski made no such mistake. Klose chipped through for Thomas Müller who, instead of taking the shot himself, clipped across the goalmouth for Podolski. The Köln striker threaded his shot from an acute angle through the legs of David James, giving Germany a deserved two goal advantage.

England were shellshocked. The Three Lions had failed to impress in the Group Stage but were in the midst of their worst performance under the stewardship of Fabio Capello. Despite their failings, England found themselves back in the match just eight minutes before half-time. A quickly taken corner was played short to Steven Gerrard. The England captain crossed high into the penalty area where Matthew Upson rose to glance a header past the poorly positioned Manuel Neuer. The goal reenergised England, who for the first time seemed capable of finding a way past a previously unbothered German defence.

They should have had an equaliser. Frank Lampard received the ball just outside the penalty area before turning and half-volleying over the outstretched Neuer. The ball ricocheted off the crossbar and bounced more than a foot behind the line before hitting the bar once more. Fabio Capello had already begun a passionate celebration. Jorge Larrionda and his assistants had failed to give the goal. A cacophony of boos reverberated around Bloemfontein with good reason. Forty-four years had passed since Geoff Hurst’s controversial effort was adjudged to have crossed the line at Wembley, but revenge was granted to Germany.

It appeared as if this terrific encounter between two of the world’s most exalted national teams would be overshadowed by the controversy. The outrage persisted throughout halftime and on into the second half until the 64th minute.

England committed players forward for an attacking free-kick, but Frank Lampard’s attempt was blocked by the wall allowing Thomas Müller and Bastian Schweinsteiger to break forward at breathtaking pace. Schweinsteiger, a mazy winger until two seasons ago, embarked on a staggeringly long run into the English half before laying the ball into the path of Müller. The Bayern München forward, who had only begun his professional career with the Munich club in 2009, was enjoying an astonishing performance and crashed the ball past David James to effectively end the game as a contest.

It soon became a rout, Müller again capitalising on a breakaway. Mesut Özil had been having his quietest game of the tournament thusfar but was able to muster another dash forward. He squared the ball for his former Under-21 teammate Müller, who finished superbly.

England failed to mount a sincere threat after the fourth goal. Wayne Rooney’s poor record in international tournaments continued. The Manchester United striker is one of the world’s most treasured footballers but his performances in this World Cup have been bereft of the energy, touch, movement or precision that characterise his displays for his club.

The final whistle brought the curtain down on an abject failure for England. For Germany, however, what was considered a bright future has become an exciting present. The DFB’s (German Football Association) policy of developing youth coaches and involving players from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds has been inspired. Under the guidance of Jogi Löw, this German team is sure to succeed at international tournaments into the next decade.

The young achievers’ reward for their dominant victory is a place in the Quarter Finals, where they will face the winners of Argentina versus Mexico. Löw himself has stated that he does not expect to win the 2010 World Cup but the possibility is there. With confidence surely rising this German team may not have completed their experimental venture yet.

Serbia hold on to upset Germans

The College View’s Niall Farrell was on hand to watch Serbia record their first victory at this summer’s World Cup against a much fancied Germany.

Unfancied Serbia got their first win of the World Cup with an effective performance against a German side unlucky not to equalise.

The first ten minutes saw few genuine chances, with both sides displaying a lack of conviction. One notable chance came after seven minutes as Lukas Podolski cracked a shot into the side netting.

As Philip Lahm arched a dangerous cross into the Serbian penalty area, Nemanja Vidic could only head as far as Podolski on the edge of the box. Podolski hit the ball powerfully with the outside of his foot but it fell wide of Vladimir Stojkovic’s goal.

The match did seem to have a streak of ill-discipline as four yellow cards were issued by the twenty-first minute.

Mesut Özil was dynamic as ever, and had a chance on twenty-one minutes with a header at the near post from a corner but the ball was cleared away by Neven Subotic.

Germany played a pressing game with the emphasis on attack, but Serbia couldn’t find a way to mount real attacks of their own within the first thirty minutes.

For all their lacklustre attacking, Serbia did do a great job of keeping the German attack, in particular Miroslav Klose, quiet. Klose was denied an space to move and the Serbs moved quickly to close down the Germans when they advanced into their third of the pitch.

The Germans had a succession of goal chances in the thirty-third and thirt0fourth minutes. Philipp Lahm played the ball to Bastian Schweinsteiger, who attempted a cross to Miroslav Klose three yards from goal on the left side. Left with no clear shot on goal, Klose was forced to head in back across goal but Vidic hoofed the ball clear.

Klose was the centre of attention again as he charged back and put in a clumsy tackle on Dejan Stankovic. Already on a yellow card, Klose was given his marching orders by referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco.

Serbia used the momentum gained from the sending off to get the upper hand in a match that had previously been swinging Germany’s way.

A free-kick was launched down the right wing to Milos Krasic who crossed to 6’’7’ Nikola Zigic at the far post. Zigic jumped and knocked the ball back for Jovanovic, who was able to finish past Manuel Neuer in goal for Germany.

A frantic finish for the first half ensued as a German corner was palmed away by Stojkovic only to find Sami Khedira. Khedira hammered the ball past the helpless Stojkovic, but it thundered back out after hitting the inside of the crossbar.

Thomas Müller tried an overhead kick as the ball came to him, but the ball was dramatically cleared off the line by a Serbian defender.

Germany came out from half time with a renewed vigour and desire to get an equaliser, and had their first chance of the second half nine minutes after the break. A German cross found Mesut Özil just outside the box, but Özil left it for Podolski to strike a fine shot at goal. Vladimir Stojkovic got in the way for Serbia to prevent a fantastic goal.

Özil’s class was again on show as he cleverly played Podolski in yards from goal with a clever flick. Podolski’s fierce shot again went into the side netting.

The tempo of the match went up a few notches subsequently. On fifty-nine minutes a German attack yielded a seemingly innocuous cross, which Nemanja Vidic foolishly handballed. A penalty was awarded, but Lukas Podolski’s poor shot was saved capably by Stojkovic to keep the scores level.

Serbia reversed the seemingly endless tide of German attacks after sixty-six minutes as Milos Krasic forged a chance out of his charge down the right wing.

Krasic passed to Jovanovic, whose shot came back out off the left post as Manuel Neuer looked beaten.

Nikola Zigic continued the theme of Serbian shots hitting the post on seventy-three minutes, as his close-range shot came off the upright and rebounded out.

Referee Undiano was a major talking point, as his rate of giving both free-kicks and yellow-cards dramatically slowed down in the second half, despite several tough tackles.

Serbia spurned a number of chances to kill the match off, with two clear chances from Jovanovic and Zigic in the seventy-fourth minute wasted.

Germany’s seemingly relentless drive for an equaliser lulled a bit in the following minutes, despite the introductions of the energetic Marko Marin and Cacau.

With less than three minutes remaining, a defensive lapse from Arne Friedrich let Milos Krasic go behind the defensive line and play the ball to substitute Gojko Kacar, but Kacar’s cross went well over the waiting Zigic.

Radomir Antic’s Serbia secured a famous victory through efficient defensive organisation, as well as a degree of luck that Germany weren’t in a finishing mood. The group is now delicately poised, with Ghana still to play Australia in the second round of fixtures. A victory there would take the Black Stars to the top of the group.

Özil pens German statement of intent

Germany 4-0 Australia

Germany’s latest World Cup adventure is off to the ideal start. The three time World Cup winners defeated the Soccerroos by a four goals and perhaps could have won by an even greater margin. The Australians, who enthralled fans en route to a place in the Round of 16 in 2006, must now plan for the game against Ghana without the talismanic influence of Tim Cahill. The Everton midfielder was harshly shown a red card by Mexican referee Marco Rodríguez for a mistimed lunge at the legs of Bastian Schweinsteiger.

The rout was initiated early on. Lukas Podolski’s form in the Bundesliga was a matter of huge concern for the passionate followers of Die Nationalmannschaft, but his powerful finish past Mark Schwarzer in the eighth minute quelled any uneasiness surrounding his inclusion in the starting eleven. The move began with Mesut Özil defying the Australian midfield before sliding a precise through-ball in the direction of Thomas Müller. The Bayern München forward pulled the ball back across the goalmouth where it was met by the onrushing Podolski who promptly opened the scoring with a forceful effort through the hands of Mark Schwarzer.

From that point Germany were the only team displaying any meaningful attacking impetus. Müller and Özil were at their inventive best. The duo, both members of the Under-21 side that captured the European Championships in 2009, and Podolski operated in an impressive three man line behind Miroslav Klose.

Klose’s selection was another contentious issue for the German public. So much so that Jogi Löw was forced to defend the Bayern München Stürmer in the build-up to this fixture after he had failed to instill confidence following wasteful displays in the World Cup warm-ups.

It would have been forgivable to believe that Klose’s dreadful form would continue when he lashed a perfect cross from Lukas Podolski high and wide little more than twenty minutes into the game. Klose’s grimace perhaps betraying a lack of confidence. Redemption was swift. A wonderful cross from the deep-lying Philipp Lahm drew Schwarzer foward where he was beaten to the ball by a brave header from Klose, doubling Germany’s advantage on the half hour.
The intrepid Mesut Özil was unlucky not to add to the tally shortly after. Another dazzling passage of play saw the Werder Bremen starlet clip the ball over Schwarzer only to see it sliced off the line by Lucas Neill. With the first half ending, Germany continued to forage for a third goal. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira combined attacking intent with their defensive duties as they persisted in attempting to force passes through a brittle Australian defence.

Any faint hopes of a SoccerRoo revival were scotched ten minutes into the second half. Tim Cahill, playing as Australia’s lone striker, lunged clumsily at the feet of Schweinsteiger and was promptly dismissed by the Mexican referee. Television replays suggested that the decision was a harsh one.

The red-card any lingering Australian attacking intentions and allowed Germany decelerated the tempo. Captain Philipp Lahm continued to move the ball forward while the Polish-born pair of Podolski and Klose demonstrated the same chemistry that was so compelling in the 2006 tournament. The twosome combined magnificently just after the hour mark before Schwarzer denied Klose, who failed to make further indentations into the World Cup goalscoring record of Ronaldo.

Klose was soon substituted by Joachim Löw and replaced with Cacau. Müller crowned his enthralling display with a well deserved goal in the 67th minute. Podolski marauded towards the Australian penalty area. He laid the ball off tidily to Müller who dragged the ball away from Scott Chipperfield before emphatically powering a low shot against Schwarzer’s right post and into the goal.

3-0 soon became four. The recently introduced Cacau scored his first international goal as the architect, man of the match Özil, squared precisely for the Stuttgart striker. Cacau’s first-time effort beating the goalkeeper and adding a justifiable gloss to the scoreline.

Marin and Gomez were brought on with the day’s business concluded. Jogi Löw is certain not to dwell on the implications of this handsome victory beyond the forthcoming showdown with Serbia, who were outplayed and beaten by Ghana in the group’s earlier fixture.

The 4-0 margin was little more than Germany deserved. The warm feelings generated in the Bundesrepublik by their passage to the Semi-Finals in 2006 may be replicated if they can continue to present further exhibitions of glorious teamwork and one-touch passing. For a side that was so ravaged by injury in the weeks preceding the tournament this performance was an impressive reminder that once a World Cup has started, die Nationalmannschaft will always rank amongst the chief protagonists.

Guest Blog: Die Mannschaft

Veteran blogger and journalist with DCU’s College View, Niall Farrell examines the prospects of perennial contenders Germany.

“You can never write off the Germans.”

Odds of 13/1 mean that the old maxim is again in vogue. Germany are not fancied by many pundits, despite an impressive run of form in qualifying and a fine run of form from star players.

German football is on a high. For a few years now Bundesliga enthusiasts have raved about the league and its balance of profitability and fan-friendliness. This year, the Bundesliga chickens came home to roost. Bayern Munich have made the Champions League final with a spine of German players- something that would have been almost unthinkable a year ago.

“Die Mannschaft” have taken Bayern’s success and the rude health of the Bundesliga and crafted a team that on first glance don’t seem all that talented. On second or third viewing, the German team bear the usual hallmark of efficiency but with a flair that is usually absent from German lineups.

The main strength of the German team lies in a settled midfield. Michael Ballack, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Hitzlsperger and Piotr Trochowski were all in the 2006 World Cup squad. Added to these four experienced campaigners is the youthful exuberence of Marko Marin, Mezut Özil, Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos amongst others.

Up front, Klose and Podolski are also veterans of World Cup 2006. Mario Gomez and Patrick Helmes have not been on form, but Stuttgart’s naturalised Brazilian Cacau gives the squad some attacking options.

If there is a weakness in the German team, it is in defence. René Adler and Manuel Neuer are both capable goalkeepers but whichever ‘keeper wins the number one spot; he will be behind an increasingly shaky defence. Per Mertesacker and Philipp Lahm are regarded as world-class, but in truth Lahm is more of an attacking full-back and Mertesacker often shows a real lack of consistency. Arne Friedrich is the only defender with any top-level (World Cup) experience and serious questions will be asked of Serdar Tasci, Heiko Westermann and Marcel Schäfer as Germany progress to the latter stages of the World Cup.

Germany’s progress is far from assured, though. In a group featuring Australia, Ghana and Serbia, a strong showing will be required to qualify from the group.

World Cup Finals History:

Veritable aristocrats. Germany have qualified for every World Cup, and were winners in 1954, 1972 and 1990.

1954 was the year of “Das Wunder von Bern”- a final in which the Germans (competing as West Germany) faced the Hungarian Aranycsapat (Golden Team). The Aranycsapat, featuring the mighty Ferenc Puskás and Sandor Kocsis, then all-time top scorer at a World Cup final. West Germany won out 3-2, and became the only fully amateur side to win a World Cup.

1974 saw West Germany again win despite facing overwhelming favourites The Netherlands in the final. The Dutch, complete with Johan Cruyff and their total football philiosophy, were defeated by a West German side featuring Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller and Uli Hoeness.

1990 was Germany’s last World Cup as a divided nation and the country celebrated by winning again- beating Argentina 1-0 in the final. This German side was the one of Lothar Matthäus, Juergen Klinsmann and Rudi Völler.

Germany have finished second four times at World Cups, and finished third twice including at the last World Cup on home territory.

Coach: Joachim Löw

Löw took over as manager of the national team after a spell as assistant manager of the Klinsmann regime that led Germany unexpectedly to the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup.

After starting his managerial career with a stint at VfB Stuttgart, Löw won one German Cup and reached the final of the European Cup Winner’s Cup before moving to Fenerbahce for a brief period. In 1999 Löw was appointed head coach at Karlsruher SC but returned to Turkey with Adanaspor after he failed to avert relegation with Karlsruhe. Another short spell in Turkey followed, and Löw eventually moved to Austria with FC Tirol Innsbruck- winning an Austrian Championship. Months later, Innsbruck declared bankruptcy and Loew was left jobless again. Before being appointed as German Assistant, Löw served as manager of Austria Vienna for one season.


Star Player: Bastian Schweinsteiger

After years of hard work at Bayern Munich, the midfielder is at last attracting the attention of big English and Italian clubs. Schweinsteiger is an immensely creative player who also chips in with goals- as his record of nineteen goals in seventy-three international appearances will attest to. Schweinsteiger has been at Bayern for all of his playing career and was a star this season in the Bavarian sides’ stellar 2010 campaign.


One to Watch: Marko Marin

Born in what once was Yugoslavia, Marin is hot property in German football.

‘Matchbox’ Marin is an attacking midfielder in the Zinedine Zidane mould, but can also play as a winger.

Now a regular in the Werder Bremen side that look set to claim third place in the Bundesliga, Marin moved to Werder for 8.5 million from Borussia Moenchengladbach last summer.

Marin is a flair player in the Werder team- succeeding Diego as the main creative force.

At Moenchengladbach, Marin won promotion to the Bundesliga in 2008 and a year later won the European Under-21 Championship. In his first full match for the German senior side, Marin scored against Belgium.

If Marin gets the licence to fully use his attacking ability he could well be a major string on the German bow.