Never Underestimate The Germans! - Little Boy Blue's World Cup Diary

Last updated : 13 June 2010 By Little Boy Blue

The day kicked off with a yawn-a-minute game between Slovenia and Algeria, picked up considerably with Ghana v Serbia although the outcome was identical, then those big bad Germans abandoned their typical efficiency to turn in the most swaggering performance of the competition so far.  And all after the Aussies had made such a bright start.  Its just not fair, is it?


After yesterday's matches, I got involved in a big debate in the pub about England's chances.  Opinion varied between 'England are rank rotten' to 'Ramsey's team drew their first game in 1966' and all points in-between.  My view was that both Algeria and Slovenia would see Saturday's draw as a glorious opportunity to put pressure on their group rivals and that their game in Polokwane would give the English plenty to think about.  What was I thinking about?  England (and the USA!) must be thinking they will take a barrowload off both of them.


Madjid Bougherra's presence in the Algerian side had me rooting for them but I was so disappointed.  Bougie himself strolled through the game but he and his team-mates must be back at their hotel tonight regretting a missed chance to get their campaign off to a flying start.  Rating Algeria a better bet than Slovenia, I expected them to make all the running but both teams appeared to have settled for a draw from the moment they kicked off. 


The daft 72nd minute red card to Adbe Ghezzal tipped the balance in Slovenia's favour, then goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi joined in the self-destruct process by making a mess of a tame shot from Robert Koren to throw the game away.  Ironically, Chaouchi was one of a number of players banned by FIFA following a punch-up in the African Nations Cup in January and was only cleared to play a few days ago.  I'll bet a few Algerians ain't too happy about that!  And I'll bet Rob Green and the entire England squad will now be feeling a lot better about their prospects.


The match between Ghana and Serbia worked out in exactly the same way, a needless red card surrendering the initiative, followed by the loss of a silly goal, but it was a much more entertaining game, Ghana deserved their 1-0 victory and the Serbs also played their part in keeping me glued to the telly.


Having fancied Ghana to qualify from Group D with Germany, I expected them to win more comfortably but, with Nemanja Vidic organising Serbia at the back, it was never going to be easy.  The longer the game went on it looked more and more likely that both sides were ready to settle for a point apiece but Aleksander Lukovic's stupid second yellow card reduced the Serbs to ten men after 74 minutes, then eleven minutes later Zdravko Kuzmanovic had a brainstorm, he handled in the box and Asamoah Gyan buried the resultant penalty kick. 


Victory for the Ghaneans was essential if they were to have the upper hand going into next weekend's game against Australia.  Despite a lot of bullish noises coming out of the Socceroos' camp, anything they could take from their opening game was going to be a big bonus but, after the Germans got a fright when a Tim Cahill header fell to Richard Garcia, only for his shot to be blocked by Philipp Lahm, the Aussies were simply blown away.  Lukas Podolski's shot just about ripped Mark Schwarzer's arm off and uprooted the net at the same time to give the Germans an eighth minute lead and a brave header from Miroslav Klose soon increased their advantage.


If it was somewhat surprising to clock former Rangers captain Craig Moore still playing at the highest level at 34, it was nothing short of astonishing to see him booked for dissent midway through the first half.  With the game running away from Australia, I'd have expected Skippy to be booting a few Germans into the air!!!  But Tim Cahill couldn't resist the temptation early in the second half and, while his red card for a lunge at Bastian Schweinsteiger looked a bit harsh, the challenge really wasn't too clever.  And his red card could have greater ramifications because he is automatically suspended from the vital game with Ghana. 


Now it was just a matter of how many the Germans would score.  After several close calls, Thomas Muller fired a right foot shot in off the post and substitute Cacau netted goal number four less than two minutes after replacing Klose to complete the scoring but Joachim Loew's team continued to impress.  The final whistle just couldn't come quick enough for the Aussies but, to their great credit, they kept right at it and I was glad they did not suffer any further embarrasment. 


No doubt the game in Durban was watched with special interest by the England squad.  Failing to win Group C would leave them with the prospect of facing the Germans in the second round on June 27.  Having seen the Germans open up with such an emphatic performance, everybody will be hoping to give them a wide berth for now.