Sunday, June 25, 2006

WORLD CUP ALMANAC: DAYS 15 & 16

Berlin, Berlin, Wir fahren nach Berlin!

And so they are. The first quarter final is lined up, and my, is it a tasty looking one. Germany v Argentina. Proper quarter-final, that.

750,000 Germans reportedly crammed into the Fan Park in Munich yesterday at the old Olympiapark. I was not one of them, having been on the way there only to read on the train station information screens that the park was entirely full and the gates had been closed.

To the biergarten in the Englischergartens then. A bit of trepidation here though. You see, we had spent a few hours there earlier in the day. Being a beautiful, sunny afternoon sunbathing was, naturally, the main activity. And when I say naturally, I mean naturally. Man, woman and child, but sadly mostly man, sons and daughters, but sadly mostly sons, of M√ľnchen, naked as the day they were born.

Quite a sight, and I can firmly say that following this particular vision my bratwurst eating days are definitively over.

Going back to the Englischergartens to watch the match, and I feared for my poor eyes. Would Germany's march to the quarter-finals be celebrated by, well, getting jiggly with it?

Thankfully the thousands who crammed around screens between the trees were generally appropriately attired, and rejoiced in their side's continuing progress.

If a national football team can't capture a zeitgeist when a country is hosting a tournament, then something is massively wrong, and in a country as football-mad as Germany the weight of enthusiasm behind Jurgen Klinsmann's team is naturally stupendous.

But the former World Cup winning striker has ridden the euphoria expertly. His childlike exuberance at every goal scored or chance created is perfectly in tune with the buccaneering spirit his team have embraced and which has transferred itself onto a giddy nation.

Now they face their first real test, against many people's favourites for the tournament. Argentina's overcame a stubborn Mexican side by virtue of a moment of brilliance from Maxi Rodriguez, precisely the sort of match-winning intervention good sides are able to produce even when not playing well.

Given the styles of play both teams employ, next Friday's quarter-final should produce a game to match the occasion. Let's just hope the Germans realise that you don't have to take your clothes off to have a good time...

3 Comments:

Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

Germany-Argentina should indeed be the best match of this World Cup thus far (Unless the Ecuadorans stand up and take out England!) ... Argentina has an incredible bench and attack, but I think Germany will prevail .. the team seems to be having fun and playing great at the same time

1:25 p.m.  
Blogger Karlos said...

Should be a cracker next week. Germany I thought were excellent in the first half against Sweden but I still feel they give away a lot at the back and a better team might punish them. At times the defence is made to look very average

The home support is defintely spurring them on and in my humble opinion allowing them to play above their level.

Will be very interestign to see what Argentina can create against them.

1:51 a.m.  
Blogger Tommy77 said...

This one is going to be a cracker lads. The Germans are so behind their team and are starting to genuinely believe anything is possible. But Argentina have the most potential of any team and like you say, their bench is awesome

4:47 p.m.  

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