The FIFA ranking of Germany mainly fluctuated from 1 to 3 since 1992, though in some other years it fluctuated and even reached the highest 19 in 2004. And its average is 5 till June 2014.Germany qualified for the semi-finals more times than any other country and they were hardly out before the quarter-finals in the world cup history. Despite all these astonishing rankings the fans hardly show their overwhelmed enthusiasm to Germany compared especially to Brazil and Argentina. There are quite a few reasons behind the scene what I had tried to discuss in my previous write-up entitled “Choosing and making a sports team favourite: a FIFA perspective”.
The opening few minutes was totally stunningfor the exclusive domination by Germanyover France. But then France started taking over possession. Fortunately, Germany did not take time. Germany led the match by 1-0 in the 13th minute. Here, it may be worth-mentioning that Germany’s common trend is to turn themselves pacified and intimidated after leading any match. As a result, the match loses its beauty, suspense, appeal and attraction, though in this match such attitude did not prevail considerably.
Germany missed a lot of opportunities in the same way. It was rather surprising to me. They attacked through in between the bar and the line and at the end cut back in search of a German in front of the goal. Every time it was so fast an attack that few players reached the area of the goal. German striker could have kicked straight the goal, though the keeper was every time ready blocking the goal. Otherwise, one or two German strikers should have reached there and taken the position. But alas! The same mistake was committed every time of the attacks. This was hardly seen in the other matches before. The other mistake which was hardly committed in the other matches was indifference of distance shots towards the goal. There could have been a number of shots from around the box even when the goal-line was clear. There are different advantages of long shots. The keeper may be intimidated, there will be wide chances of corner kicks and there may also be failure of the keeper especially when the shots are powerful or right near the bars.
French Benzema played astonishingly well and indescribably superb. His slight misses were heart-breaking. In the 11th minute a cross to Benzema right before the net was picked off by a German defender instead. However, German’s Hummels did not miss the opportunity a couple of minutes later. German Toni Kroos’corner kick was a great chance for Hummels who headed it dexterously. It was impossible for the keeper as it crossed just below the crossbar. So early in the 13th minute German’s lead 1-0 devastated the French players who seemed a little dazed and looked disorganised at the moment.
A dramatic scene was viewed in the 24th minute. It was a great miss for Germany indeed.A pass to MiroslaveKlose was just out of reach in the box. Then he fell down begging for a penalty which was turned down reasonably.
The gallery view in the 28th minute indicated that French fans were not optimistic at all. Now In the 34th minute they were moved, choked and then the fans sighed with a heavy heart. A great opportunity was missed. French Valbuena came along the left side and shot the ball tremendously. German keeper Neuer saved it but immediately the ball deflected to Benzema whose shot was also blocked followed by a corner kick which was also headed over the crossbar by GermanSakho. Then again in the 42nd minute Benzema was alone in the box and rightly tried to head a cross but no way—it was blocked. Yet in the 44th minute Benzema ran with the ball and shot right straight to German keeper Manuel Neuer who blocked a number of other balls miraculously. The goals were absolutely imminent. What was mostly interesting about Neuer’s saves was the perfect use of his one hand when the ball was out of the reach by two hands.
Some avoidable yellow cards were shown to GermanKhedira and Schweinsteiger in the 54th and 80th minutes respectively. It is also true yellow cards should not be avoided at any moment in any match. Injuries are a great setback especially for those who usually play well and never advance for any attacks upon their fellow opponents. Practically speaking, the fouls cannot always be averted but it does not necessarily mean that they should be overlooked. To my understanding one thing is very interesting. Even when a yellow card means very serious. One yellow in two consecutive matches means the player cannot participate in the next or the 3rd match. It is even so severe that two yellow cards shown in the same match means the red card ousting the player right away and no substitution for him. Still it is not all. A gruesome foul may punish the player with a direct red card and it is unknown whether he will miss the next match or more than one match or even the tournament. The cruellest foul took place in the following day. Belgium player flew high in the air and dashed on the back of the most innocent and best striker Messi who was diagnosed with a fractured vertebra and ruled out of the world cup.
Two interesting things have been marked. German Olivier Giroud was heard yelling “My face! My beautiful face!” And the other one was German decision of replacing kroos with Christoph Kramer in the name of killing time in the 92nd minute of the stoppage time for about 30 seconds, though the referee over-carried those seconds and the game was declared over after 94.30mins. The result remained the same 1-0 lead by Germany all through the match.
The writer is Assistant Professor of English at Northern University Bangladesh.
BDST: 2208 HRS, JUL 08, 2014