World Cup: Was Germany 4 England 1 the greatest match ever?
After hiking to and from Durban for the much vaunted clash of Jogo Bonito it was a blessing to sit back and watch two European sides rarely associated with attacking verve go at other hammer and tongs for the full 90 minutes.
The spectacle may have left many watching at home with a bitter taste in the mouth but who can deny the game had real ebb and flow and for the most part was firmly in the balance.
Both teams have long been members of the North European school of defensive minded security but both backlines seemed to take the night off. What ensued was the most open encounter of this World Cup finals and possible the most expansive of the last three editions of the competition.
With a solid 11 hours to kill in Bloemfontein before kick-off I ended up thumbing through South Africa’s Sunday papers. One columnist was making his point that a nil-nil draw has the capacity to enthral more than a lop sided meeting between two teams at opposite ends of the talent pool.
I would agree that England’s draw with Algeria in Cape Town made for compulsive viewing but I would take tonight’s free-flowing goal fest over a bore draw any day of the week.
England’s defence were the first to implode as they gifted Germany a brace before the game was even a third of the way through. Matthew Upson then popped up at the other end to make amends for his Keystone Kops impression and then Frank Lampard conjured up the equaliser. Or so it appeared from where I was sitting.
The second half was no less pulsating with England camped out in the German half and peppering Manuel Neuer’s goalmouth everytime they got within range. We saw Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry all manfully attempt to grab the game by the scruff of the neck.
While all the action was going on in and around the German’s box they themselves managed to steal up the other end of the pitch and close out the game by finishing off two beautifully crafted moves.
The only thing sadly lacking from the match was an atmosphere to suit the occasion. Just as goalkeepers have been quick to blame blunders on the matchball it seems fans are happy to sit back, keep schtum and blame their lack of voice on the vuvuzela. Where would we be if Elvis had shut up as soon as Scotty Moore started strumming along?
I actually preferred this lackadaisical approach from the fans inside the stadium to the tired medley of warfare related ditties which past off as pre-match banter at the Bloemfontein Waterfront shopping centre.
Just one more chilly night down at the bus station before heading off to see if the Dutch can scale the same footballing hights of their greatest rival. England are out, time to sit back and enjoy the tournament.Tagged in: england, germany, south africa, world cup
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