Tag Archives: Mertesacker

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.

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Germany beat Ghana to secure top spot

Germany 1-0 Ghana


Germany beat Ghana by a single goal in an enthralling contest in Soccer City. An unexpected win for Australia means that both teams progress to the Round of 16. Germany will now face England in what might prove to be the tie of the round, while Ghana will play Group C’s winners, the United States. In an entertaining match, both sides played for the win and created numerous chances. Mesut Özil, an early contender for player of the tournament, scored the crucial goal for Die Nationalmannschaft with a scintillating strike from just outside the penalty area.

Both teams, as they had displayed in their earlier games, played engaging, attacking football in the early stages. Both teams seemed eager to soak up pressure and unleash it back upon their opponents on the counterattack.

The best of the early opportunities came when Mesut Özil was played through on goal. The surging rush out by Richard Kingson smothered the Bremen midfielder’s shot before it could threaten his goal.

At the other end, Asamoah Gyan’s goalbound header was cleared off the line by German captain Philipp Lahm. Replays suggested that the Bayern München defender’s arm may have diverted the ball from it’s path but in any case it was accidental.

Tidy interplay between Thomas Müller and Sami Khedira allowed Cacau to get a volley away. Unfortunately for the Brazilian-born forward, his shot bounced into the arms of Richard Kingson in the Ghanian goal.

Ghana only needed a draw to progress but displayed plenty of vigorous intent in the first half but were unable to find a way past Manuel Neuer and his rigid defence.

The teams headed down the tunnel at the break with the scores somehow still locked at 0-0. Germany would need to be patient. They had looked menacing in the attacking third but had thus far been thwarted by a strong performance from the Mensahs, John and Jonathan as well as a much improved showing from Kingson.

The second half began with both teams showing the same offensive ambition. Asamoah was one-on-one with Neuer but failed to adequately control the bouncing ball and could only watch the Schalke 04 ‘keeper get his body in the way. The end to end marathon here was probably only bettered by the phenomenal duel at Wimbledon. Both sides taking turns to attack and break.

When it came, the breakthrough went Germany’s way. Philipp Lahm and Thomas Müller exchanged tentative short passes before Müller, with his back to goal, turned and progressed with the football into the penalty area. He spotted Mesut Özil on the edge of the 18-yard box and slipped a pass back to the Werder Bremen midfielder. The ball bobbled and sat up perfectly for Özil, who unleashed a blistering shot into the top corner. Kingson, who had until then been exemplary, could only watch.

The goal put Ghana in a precarious situation. A goal for Serbia in the match at Nelspruit would doom their hopes of becoming the only African team to qualify past the group stages. News of a goal did come soon after Özil’s strike. However, it was the Soccerroos and Tim Cahill that were celebrating.

With the lead secure and Ghana still posing an accomplished threat to their goal, Germany were content to control possession and the flow of the game. Terrific spells of passing were instigated by Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger, whose transformation from pacy winger to a central-midfielder has been seamless. The importance of Schweinsteiger to Germany’s chances cannot be understated, which is why it was so worrying for German fans to see him limp from the field of play clutching at his thigh.

With Australia holding on to a 2-1 lead against Serbia, the game ended with both Germany and Ghana progressing. The results presented an accurate representation of the group. Ghana will now carry the hopes of the African continent as its sole representative in the knockout phase while Germany have reached the Second Round yet again.

England lie in wait for the Jogi Löw’s youthful squad. The German personnel will look at England’s performance today against Slovenia and have nothing to fear. It should make for an entertaining match. This talented German side will be boosted by the return of Miroslav Klose and could be on the verge of making an unexpected run into the latter part of this World Cup.

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.

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.