Early Doors

Teutonic World Cup tonic

Early Doors

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Just as Early Boers was wondering when it was officially allowed to start calling this World Cup boring, the Germans arrived and delivered unto us a tournament.

For all the fuss made over the Jabulani ball (sorry, Bobbity Green, but it won't be the last time you will hear that word), the goals have not been flying in at high altitude in South Africa. The night games had only provided two goals before Joachim Loew's side finally gave an evening performance worthy of the stage on which they are set by beating Australia 4-0.

There must be plenty of embarrassed boyfriends and husbands who managed to convince their other halves to give this football lark a go, only to be scrambling desperately for reasons to get excited about Uruguay 0-0 France.

If any lasted as far as the late kick-off in Durban then they would have seen the youngest Mannschaft side since 1934 deliver a swashbuckling and ruthless onslaught that both confounded and reinforced the stereotype that inevitably rises to the surface during a major finals.

This tournament had been crying out for a captivating performance from a big team, one that would help kickstart the viewing public's imagination. Being happy for, and proud of, the host nation will only stretch so far.

Yes, it was 'only' Australia and yes, it was ultimately a Socceroo side that had their best player sent off, but there is nothing like a good old World Cup drubbing to pique the interest of the casual fan who, like it or not, make it the occasion it is.

Just like Argentina's 6-0 masterclass against Serbia and Montenegro in 2006, goals from Lukas Podolski (Bundesliga Players' Flop of the Season), Miroslav Klose (a spent force at Bayern Munich), Thomas Mueller and Cacau finally justified the millions of pounds, euros and yen forked out for widescreen TVs, HD boxes and hop-based happy juice in anticipation of this year's footballing jamboree.

Loew has assembled a squad of players whose average age is so low that he felt compelled to use a weeks' worth of Just For Men in one night in a vain attempt to stay down with his kids. Early Boers's Euro 2008 alter ego, Early Döorß, once likened the Germany manager's appearance to that of Bryan Ferry, but nowadays it is more like Tony Blackburn.

Compare the way Germany swept aside the Aussies (FIFA ranking 20) to with how England stuttered against the USA (14) the previous night.

As learned from the more popular sports in their respective countries, both sides rely heavily on physical prowess and rough play to battle their way past more skilled opposition, but England allowed themselves to get drawn into that scrap whereas Germany stuck to the game plan from the first minute to the last and sent a message out to Group C: finish second and you're in trouble.

The only sign of relenting was when Loew substituted the exceptional Mesut Oezil (EB's pre-match tip for emerging star of the tournament) for the trundling Mario Gomez, with his team already four goals to the good. He must have had some money on that scoreline. 

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Not that the other teams playing on Sunday didn't try and make it interesting, but they were forced to do so through means other than putting their opponents to the sword with the best football of the tournament thus far.

Aleksandr Lukovic was sent off for Serbia en route to Ghana beating them 1-0 but, in particular, Abdelkader Ghezzal's sending off secured him a little piece of World Cup history as Algeria lost 1-0 to Slovenia.

Ghezzal registered the quickest ever World Cup sending off for two bookings by a substitute when his yellow card 48 seconds after entering the match was followed by a second less than 15 minutes later for his blatant and inexplicable handball inside the box.

He may have assured himself a claim to fame, but he may live to regret it when his moronic handball is repeated by broadcasters the world over in clips compilations at every World Cup from now until an even denser individual breaks his record.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The 'Golden Generation' label has been used to death over the past 10 years. There are a lot of new players in the squad now added to the remnants of the so-called 'golden generation' players. But, to be honest, the 'Golden Generation' wasn't very golden from where I was sat in the England squad. We didn't win any tournaments or do ourselves justice. You get called a golden generation when you win things." - Gary Neville kicks his country while it's down.

FOREIGN VIEW: "You can see how upset I am. To have my World Cup shattered that way is one of the worst things I have ever experienced." - A tearful Tim Cahill faces the media after his red card against Germany.

"IT'S GOOD TO TALK" OF THE DAY: In the moments after Steven Gerrard scored England's opener against USA, 1.5 million text messages were sent across the country, while another 1.2m were sent following Green's howler. Surely it should be the other way round? After all, "Gooooooooooooaalll!" takes more effort to type than "Noooooooooooooooo!"

COMING UP: We were all waiting for the Dutch to set this World Cup alight, but their bitter rivals Germany stole their thunder. Nevertheless, it's an exciting prospect that kicks proceedings off tomorrow with Netherlands v Denmark (12:30) followed by Japan v Cameroon (15:00) and Italy v Paraguay (19:30). Follow live text commentary of every kick right here.

The Armchair Pundit will be providing your daily cheat sheet, while there will be plenty on offer from our formidable cast of expert bloggers.

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