So, politely, I opined of him, “Do you know why the Germans don’t have any anti-English chants?”
“We do not regard you the way you regard us. I know plenty of anti-Holland chants, however. The most you’ll get out of us vs. England is ‘moo-ing’; which reminds everyone where mad cow disease came from… Oh! and the occasional ‘You only sing when you’re winning’ retort, in English.”
“[Text that can’t be printed here]!!!”
Eh. It is what it is. Perhaps, England should have, once again, played up to their expectations, and then we shouldn’t have to have this conversation ‘til July 11th?
That being said…
A contentious and fractious history, mixed with brotherhood and allegiance; the English and the Germans have formed a complicated bond on the European stage. The very word “Anglo-Saxon”, the base for both the English and German languages, conjures a common ancestor. And the legendary footie matches betwixt the Brits and the Gerrys, during World War I, are beautiful moments of peace in a continent of storm.
Following the guide of our World War I ancestors; every once in a while, footie trumps all. There are so many indelible images of England / Germany clashes: From the “Wembley-Tor” of ‘66, to Gerd Mueller’s extra-time shot in ‘70; Linkener’s equalizer in ‘90, tempered by Gazza’s red and a penalty shoot-out loss… and another peno loss, in sudden death, at EURO ‘96. Oh, and the 5-1 loss, for Deutschland, on the return leg of “Stand up if you won the war!”.
Sigh. I could continue with club football, as well. And I haven’t even gotten to the match yet…
I could start with, England’s trainer, Fabio Capello, releasing his penalty shoot out squad ahead of the Germany match. Huh? Like you would want to play to a draw?! Jus’ sayin’, Fabio, it really hasn’t worked out for England so well in the past.
And what’s with your pre-match press only existing for English reporters, Fabio? It is the WORLD Cup, one. And, two… they’re the first to crucify you.
Also, David James saying “this is just another game”? Child, please! You’re, like, 87 in football years. You should know better than to make a bald-faced lie. That being said, no one believes you anyway.
However, let’s hop on the Teutonic side of things: I’m happy to report that Bastian Schweinsteiger is match fit. (Not sure if he actually is, but I can guarantee he wouldn’t miss this match for the world.) Cacau suffered an abdominal strain in practice on Friday, and is not available. Nor is Jerome Boateng, who took a knock in the Ghana clash. Also, Mesut Oezil’s grandmother passed on Friday, so he may have a touch of the sads, but is expected to start.
So, Jogi’s probable line-up (and in parentheses, what I would do differently): Neuer; Lahm, Friedrich, Mertesacker, Badstuber (Jansen); Khedira, Schweinsteiger; Mueller (Trochowski), Oezil, Podolski; Klose.
And Capello? James; Johnson, Terry, Carragher, A. Cole; Milner, Barry, Lampard, Gerrard; Rooney, Defoe.
So, what does this all mean? Hmmmm… Intriguing match-ups abound.
Wayne Rooney v. our back four: If Rooney would slightly be inclined to live up to his pre-tournament hype, he’d be giving fits and starts to the Deutsche rear-guard. And, although he’s showed glimmers of promise in his last match, he has yet to fulfill the “greatest” tag he’s been given. If he gets on a hot streak, however, we’re in trouble.
Battle of the Captains: Stevie G and Herr Lahm go head-to-head today. Steven Gerrard, albeit, out of position. Look for Lahm to get the edge out of this pairing.
Klose v. the In-ger-lund back four: Klose will have a head full of steam after being forced to sit out the last match due to a shoddy red card v. Serbia. And, despite his advancing age, Jogi has faith that he’s still got it. What he does have, for sure, is a wealth of experience. Can he translate that in to goals? If Oezil is accurate on through passes, my answer is “yes”.
And speaking of Oezil….
Mesut Oezil v. Gareth Barry: Errrr… no contest. Oezil versus Terry? That may be a different matter…
Honestly, I think England would have to play out of their shorts to beat us. Not that they don’t have the ability, or the talent, on their squad to win. They do. But, they have yet to impress so far this World Cup campaign. Here’s to hoping their present form continues…
And, here’s to me, my mother and my fellow Germans watching the match amongst my frenemies (for a day), also known as the English, at the British pub I work in. I’m wearing a dirndl, and you can be sure when I hear “Two World Wars and one World Cup / England, England…”, I’ll reply, “No World Wars and Three World Cups / Deutschland rules the day!”
Auf geht’s Deutschland!