Wednesday, 21 June 2006

Gehen Sie vorwarts, Deutschland - My World Cup 2006 Journal (Part 6)

Really excited over Germany's three straight victories in the first round of group games, I couldn't help saying a prayer of gratitude that the Germans have at least picked up some of the traditional form that was lost in the first two games.

The team played well, with each member playing his role in good condition and enthusiasm. The strikers were hungry for goals, as Jurgen Klinsmann aptly described, and the defenders did a good job in front of the net with assistance from the midfielders from time to time. All three goals were impressive, but I liked the first one most. It seemed that Miroslav Klose was determined to demonstrate through this goal his pride of being a German, as well as his loyalty to the country that he did not arrive until eight years old. The previous match against Poland was indeed an embarrassment for Klose, and his Poland-born team mate Lukas Podolski. This might also be part of the reasons why Germans did not play as good as they should be...

In any case, what Germany seemed a bit weak in its match against Ecuador remained the midfield, where the Germans did not show any significant dominance over Ecuador, which was in fact of no match to Germany in terms of strength and quality.

Interestingly, this was precisely where Germany invited harsh criticisms from my brother and his friends. Jurgen Klinsmann also reportedly admitted in an interview broadcast today that he was not satisfied with the team's performance either. The former German striker was quoted as saying that the German team of his time in early 1990s should beat the current one with five straight goals. The reason was simple: Germans should never allow its opponent to take control of any kind in the midfield, especially when the opponent is by no means a comparable match.

While I respect Klinsmann's dedication and determination to bring the best out of his national team in the World Cup, I don't personally agree with his comments. Indeed, he was one of the great players who made Germany as it was in its heyday, but Klinsmann should also appreciate the fact that Germany is no longer the Germany some 10 years ago. The German team is simply not as good as his generation, for whatever reasons. This is but a sad and disappointing fact.

My worries now go to the reaction of the German players. There has already been too much coverage over disputes between coaches and players in this World Cup, and Germany should never add to the list. I sincerely hope that the players would not misunderstand their coach, and take his criticisms as some sort of positive reinforcement to drive them even harder in the challenges to come.

Fahrt fort, stark zu versuchen. Gehen Sie vorwarts, Deutschland.

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