09 June 2008

Warum, Jungs, Warum?

Okay, I'm not in London.  But I am following Euro 2008, and today when I was at the gym I was able to see a bit of Germany v. Poland (I don't have ESPN2 at home, so I just read about the matches on BBC News).  

Now, two years ago I was in Germany during the World Cup, and I got to see all the Germany matches.  I watched them with my then-boyfriend, who had himself trained to be a professional soccer player, but given it up.  We were mystified by Germany's strategy, or really lack of strategy:  they would invariably cluster down by their own goal, attacking whomever came close but almost never as a team pushing up the pitch toward the other team's goal. Instead, one member of the team would get hold of the ball, and he would dribble up the field, or pass it to Odonkor (I think - it's been two years).  In either case, Odonkor would bicycle up the field at amazing speed, all by his lonesome.  Whenever Germany made a goal, it always seemed to be either an accident or immense good luck, like Miroslav Klose's in the quarter final.  Yesterday when I was reading up on the ongoing competition, I paid special attention to an article in which it said that Joachim Loew had worked on Germany's strategy, encouraging them to play a more offense-orientated game.  So I was naturally very interested to see today's match, and to see that...they all clustered down by their own goal, attacking whomever came close but not pushing up toward the other team's goal.  I was slightly surprised to see that Lukas Podolski scored both goals - not that he's not a great player - but my surprise was somewhat mitigated by the discovery that Klose had passed to him for one of them.

Germany, what are you doing?  Don't get me wrong:  I loved Jurgen Klinsmann, who seemed a charming fellow.  But it seems to me that the result of his World Cup strategy was that "die Jungs" (as he delightfully called them) were fine until they hit the really big time, i.e., the
semis, and then they couldn't count on luck, or Odonkor, any more.

That Miroslav Klose, though, eh?  Well, I would, wouldn't I?  Although I have to say I liked him better before he got those preposterous blond streaks in his hair.  Still, he can somersault in my bedroom after he makes a goal any day!  And I love milk too, so, you know, we've got a lot in common.

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