Friday, September 12, 2008

Finland v Germany, WC 2010 Qualifiers, Sep 10

This ended 3-3 with Klose thrice having to get the Germans level after the Finns had gone ahead. It could have been different had he not missed the chance for the fourth, which came when the score was nil-nil as he stunningly shot a simple header wide.

It was the most unusual of games. A game of defending any cross or lobbed ball poorly, a game of crossing well and heading the ball home brilliantly. It also had a goal that came from a bicycle kick but which really was a goal because of bad goalkeeping.

Credit to the Finns for scoring thrice and really taking the game to the Germans. In fact they had a few chances to score a fourth and a fifth themselves. And it was great to see the fans celebrate even after it ended in a draw in spite of thinking what could have been. Hope to see more of them and learn more of them.

But what's become of the Germans? Yes, they have that fighting spirit intact and it is too ealry to press the panic button for a team that just ended a major as the Runner-up. And yes with or without Ballack they have goals in them...if it is not Podolski, then its Klose. Schweinsteiger, Hitzspelsberger and of course Ballack have a few in them as well. But their defence is a nightmare, especially for a team that will be expecting a near championship run in South Africa 2010 (it will be 20 years since their last WC trophy and they would think it's about time).

I thought at Euro that the Metzelder Mertesacker combination was the weakest link in the German team. Guess what...they got worse. Two guys called Tasci and Westermann had the central defensive roles and they were bad. At least Metzelder tried to push forward like a libero, these guys were doing...well nothing. But none where as bad as Lahm. There has to be a strong case for Lahm to be playing in midfield in stead of the back four. He gets caught out of position and while he is fast, often sees attackers go past him. And let's not even begin mentioning his performance against the crosses. A disaster. Fritz as right back was surely an improvement over Friedrich. He gets forward more often and that encourgaed Shweinsteiger to attack from the flanks becuase he knew he had support.

Enke in goal after the Lehmann era's end, was not great either. And letting that bicycle kick get into goal is not something that Ollie Kahn (commenting in German on whatever channel I was watching on) would have allowed. Not Jens Lehman either. I was surprised that Lehman had been first choice for Euro and after looking at Enke am still left surprised that there are no better German goal keepers in the Bundesliga or elsewhere. Maybe, he had an off day. We'll see.

It will be great to see the Germans play the Russians (if I get the chance to see it of course). This is the Euro semi-final that should have been (had not Russia already played Spain in the group stages?). I expect goals in that one. mmmmm....

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