What a difference a few weeks make. It wasn’t long ago that Joachim Löw, with his expensive jumpers and endearing, Swabian lilt, was the envy of world football.
The new Newcastle number eight favours a defensive midfield role, although he has more ability and passing range than Cheick Tioté, another Newcastle midfielder signed from the Dutch league.
This is Germany. Solid, steady Germany. The team who was set to end the reign of Spain as they built methodically on the foundations laid over the the last three major tournaments.
How do we feel when we, the audience, have been cheated on purpose?
Bert van Marwijk, who led Feyenoord to Uefa Cup triumph in 2002, resigned as Netherlands coach recently following their early exit from Euro 2012. The process of reverting Oranje to play the ‘Dutch way’ again can now begin.
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Where once there was a host of German superstars gracing the stadiums of Serie A, Klose, who scored 16 goals for Lazio last season, including a 93rd minute winner in the Rome derby, is now the sole representative of the Nationalelf in Italian club football.
“If in doubt, GET IT OUT!”
This is the catchphrase that constantly rang in my ears and haunted my thoughts as a young lad playing Sunday-league football in the late eighties and early nineties.
In its build up to last Sunday’s Euro 2012 quarter final between Italy and England, the Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport dedicated that day’s cartoon to national team striker Mario Balotelli, depicting him as King Kong mounting Big Ben, rather than the Empire State building, from where he swatted away footballs fired in by the English.
What if England had not only fluked their way past Italy but achieved a similar “miracle” in both the semi-final and, gasp, the final? What if England, THIS England, this bunch whose spirit and noble intent cannot mask their woeful technical shortcomings, had somehow actually gone on to win Euro 2012?
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