But, seriously, if you don’t know the history of the “Wembley-Tor”of ‘66, here’s a quick breakdown. (And if you want to know more about Paul, just youtube.com him.) In the ‘66 final, 11 minutes in extra-time, England’s Geoff Hurst shot at close range. The ball hit the under-side of the crossbar, and bounced--- Germans say on the line, English say over. The Swiss referee wasn’t sure if it was a goal (insert joke about Swiss neutrality here), so he consulted his Russian lineman, Tofik Bakhramov, who awarded the goal. The Brits went on to win their one-and-only final, 4-2.
Legend has it, that on his deathbed, Bakhramov was asked how he knew the ball had crossed the line, to which he replied, “Stalingrad”.
And Germans gave name to a goal awarded that wasn’t a goal: “Wembley-Tor.” Now, thanks to Manuel Neuer’s very excellent acting job (as he sold the hell out of it!), there is a new word in the German lexicon: “Bloemfontein-Tor”: In which a goal was scored, but not counted.
The football gods do always seem to come around, don’t they?
It’s a shame about this fracas, really. Because, the English will go on about how 2-2 would’ve changed the match. It’s another addition to a list of “if only” that the British have used since that win in ‘66, to excuse poor showings in international tournaments. When really, the only “if only” should be: If only we’d bothered to play as a team. If only…
But, give the English some credit. After Upson and Terry completely botched Neuer’s goal-kick and Klose’s subsequent goal on 20 minutes, and David James’ humiliation by Lukas Podolski on 32 minutes; the Three Lions showed fight when Upson headed in on 37 minutes. There was also, of course, Lamps’ disallowed goal on 39 minutes, as well as a Dafoe header that came off the bar.
England came out to fight… ish… at the start of the second half as well. As lumbering as they were for most of the match, they still were dangerous; most evidenced by Lamps’ 35-yard free-kick screamer that clanged, once again, off the crossbar.
However, on 68 minutes, we broke their backs as Lampard struck a free-kick in to our wall, and it was off to the races for Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Mueller, with “Der Bomber, Junior” scoring for the Nationalelf, bringing the score to 3-1. Two minutes later, he completed a brace after a nifty set-up from Mesut Oezil.
The back four was solid. The midfield was fantastic. And, Miro up front? Amazing, as well. Neuer has come in to his own as Germany’s number one; unbelievable, as a year ago he was number three. And I hope, that after the furor of the disallowed goal subsides, everyone will recognize the quality and superiority with which Germany played.
I feel badly for the Brits, as there are so many that I call friends. The FA is broken, and someone needs to do something to fix it. What that is, I may never know… But I’d tell Capello to look to Loew’s model, to give some up-and-comers a shot (Walcott, anyone?), and shake the old guard out of their reverie. After all, they can’t do any worse.
Finally, an embarrassing postscript: I was totally wrong about sitting Mueller for this match. Obviously! Oh, me of little faith!