Monday, June 16, 2008

Euro 2008 Liveblog: Austria v. Germany

It had to be the group least likely to offer up a third round of meaningful games. But that's why they play, and we dare to watch. The ball is round, right? You never know. With that wistful notion fresh in our heads, let's gear up for Germany v. Austria. Battle for the Anschluss. And even better, potential battle for a place in the quarterfinal alongside group-winner Croatia.

For the Germans, the parameters this afternoon are simple. Get a point and go through. Nervous?

The endgame is less straight forward for the Austrians. First and foremost, they need to win. All three points will up their group total to four. That, combined with a loss or tie by Poland, and the hosts are into the quarterfinals.

Manager Joseph Hickersberger has said escape from the group stage would be "a great, great success." And if there's any way his modest dream were to be realized, you'd have to think one Martin Harnik will play a prominent role. The German-born forward's runs down the right wing were Austria's main, errrr only, source of consistent pressure in the Poland match.

Should history repeat itself-- Austria, with Hickersberger in the squad, knocked Germany out of the 1978 World Cup-- Harnik, Ivanschitz, Pogatetz, and the keeper Macho will need to play the game of their lives.

Lineups (has the Mario Gomez era come to an abrupt end?? What now for Austria's central defense with Proedl expected to miss out?) and live-bloggery after the jump.


* 21 Macho
* 14 Garics
* 03 Stranzl
* 17 Hiden
* 04 Pogatetz
* 20 Harnik
* 06 Aufhauser
* 10 Ivanschitz
* 05 Fuchs
* 11 Korkmaz
* 22 Hoffer


* 01 Lehmann
* 03 Friedrich
* 17 Mertesacker
* 21 Metzelder
* 16 Lahm
* 04 Fritz
* 08 Frings
* 13 Ballack
* 20 Podolski
* 09 Gomez
* 11 Klose

Ref: Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez (ESP)


Hickersberger talks some ivanSCHITZ before the game...

'We are not wetting our pants because we are playing Germany, we know they have problems and we know some are injured and they are not playing that well.

'They are not as good as they were in 2006 and we have home advantage, we think we have a good chance.'

If only his countrymen had been so brave 70 years ago...

-12 min: I'll give it to Reece, he improves with each match. Foudy continues to frustrate. And forget about Pedro Gomez. Shouldn't he be back in San Fran covering Barry Bonds's ass.

-10 min: What's all the talk about bowel movements with the Austrian team? Harnik says the Germans are shitting themselves (they may well be, but that's beside the point), Hickersberger assures us their knickers are dry.

-7 min: El Capitan apparently called a "player's only meeting" before the match. Those always work.

-5 min: The Gomez choice is certainly a surprise. He's had his moments, but just hasn't gelled with Klose and Podolski. And, as we noted last round, everyone on the team seems to hate him. Seriously, watch-- they will be yelling at poor Mario before the 10th minute.

-3 min: Schweinsteiger is out mate. Red card last match.

Song of the Germans playing: Alright all, what would you eat, what bodily function would you deposit in your shorts, whose fat sister would you fuck to see Austria knock off the Hun?

Note: Austrians = not good singers. Ease up on that boom mic, ESPN. Rather hear the crowd.

1 min: Lahm at left back means we have a World Cup 2006 backline for the Germans

1 min: And we are off!

2 min: No signs of nerves for the Germans. They're just kicking it around in the midfield. Looking for holes...

3 min: They take their first shot down the right, but the pass (Frings chasing) was long. Goal Kick.

4 min: Klose just picked out Gomez in the box and he skunked it!


6 min: Adrian Healy just crapped out his liver watching that replay.

7 min: Gomez runs into a pass from Klose and takes a low, hard shot that barely troubles Macho

9 min: The Austrians are frantic in possession. Germans always nipping it off them.

10 min: Harnik made a nice, if unchallenged, run down the right side. But there's Per Mertesacker and he strips Harnik clean. The counter- begins again. Germany could score 6...

11 min: Per's dad Prune is in the stands today I'm told.

12 min: Frings lucky not see yellow for foul on Harnik near the center line.

13 min: Stranzel not so lucky. Stuck a nice boot into Klose. It's one way to stop 'em I 'spose.

14 min: Gomez found Podolski at the top of the 18-... shot's blocked and cleared.

15 min: Corner to Austria...

16 min: Good service but cleared. Austria come back in, but it's out for a goal kick.

18 min: Metzleder with a risky tackle of Hoffer in the box. But Germany clear and the ref is off running...

19 min: Harnik swings one into Hoffer, but Lehmann is in there to snatch it from his feet. Best chance so far for Austria.

21 min: Lehmann's unnecessary touch means a corner for Austria, but it's Podolski back to clear.

22 min: Early still, but what's the first move for Germany if 0-0 holds? You'd have to think it's time for the Polish strikers to line up next to one another.

23 min: Ballack feeds Podolski at 25 yards out. A blast is turned aside by Macho for a corner.

23 min: It's played short but snuffed out by Austria. Cleared to Harnik, who gets as far as midfield before running into the nifty left back.

25 min: It's been Germany with the incisive passes, the clever turns and shots. Austria has been chucking the speculative long balls. And still they've had about the same amount of chances.

26 min: What the hell is on Pogatetz's face? (Aside from his nose...)

29 min: Attacking throw for Austria.

30 min: Lahm cuts off an Austrian through ball, lays it off to Ballack who spots out Gomez on the right. Gomez cuts in and... yup, shoots wide. Not much of angle.

31 min: Yellow card for Hoffer as he kicks Ballack harder than he's kicked a ball today. Of course, we missed it in real time for another bizarre, meaningless, super slo-mo replay.

32 min: Klose nods a Lahm ball toward Gomez, who is offside. It was defensed, but still... Klose is getting mad. As is the manager. Will the half-Spaniard make it to the half? Will he be allowed to ride the team bus home?

33 min: German corner. They look listless, but let's wait.

34 min: Frings's corner meets with Klose's noggin, but nothing comes of it. Goal kick.

34.30 min: First shameless and awkward plug for the NBA finals. Sure to be 14 more as we progress.

36 min: The Austrians continue to nibble. Just one Lehmann boner from utter disaster for the Germans. (boner... heh heh)

37 min: Sqeaky bum time for Beckenbauer? (we spot him in the stands)

38 min: Austria corner finds Garics, but he finds nothing. The Austrians recover and run in again. Throwing the ball in from both sides. Hoffer foul cuts off the momentum.

40 min: Hickersberger has invaded the German technical area!

41 min: What the fuck? Low and Hickersberger just got tossed! They're both leaving the field!

42 min: Magic! Low and Angela Merkel shaking hands in the stands. I'm flummoxed. Utterly and truly flummoxed.

44 min: and Bastian and Oliver Bierhoff appear. Party on the touchline.

44 min: There is still football being played. Frings chips one in from outside the 18... floats off for a goal kick.

45 min: 2 minutes stoppage time...

45 +1 min: Croatia and Poland are 0-0 at the half

as are we.

Halftime thoughts: Not a good day to be part or whole Spanish. Gomez, the German striker, has looked as uncomfortable as in the first two games. And he had an absolutely epic miss in the 4th minute.

Then there is Gonzalez the referee who, as they say, is not up to the level of the players on the field. Not even the Austrian players. He seems to know he's made a mess of it and is now on his heels. Is there any precedent for both managers being sent off? Just seemed silly.

Hey Germany fans!: Remember the good old days? Let me refresh your memories. Great song, I must admit...
Sportfreunde Stiller!!

46 min: We are off again. A draw does Germany, we all know, but lord knows they can't be liking this. Not with this referee. Not with the decent chances Austria have mustered.

47 min: The managers, we're told, were sent off for "constant bickering." Genius.

Of course, all German sounds like bickering, so perhaps the ref lost something in translation.

48 min: Ivanschitz sees yellow for a clip from behind on Lahm, who was flying toward goal. 30 yards out free kick...

49 min: Ballack scores!!! a laser!!!

All the captain's weight was behind that one. An absolute rocket, dead-aim into far corner.

Peace, Austria. Way to hang about for a while

Germany 1-0

52 min: Sorry. I'm told they're still playing. Austria will need to score 2 now to go on.

Germany are revitalized. The men in red know the deal is done.

53 min: Ivanschitz with a neat volley at the top of the box, but someFrings stands in his way.

54 min: Ballack's dream of adding yet another runner-up medal to his considerable collection (both club and country) is back on track.

Croatia 1-0, by the way.

55 min: Leitgeb on for Heiden, for Austria. That's a defender for a midfielder. Better now than later, I guess.

58 min: Podolski swings in a free kick. Promptly headed up and into Macho's hands. Booted deep. Austria's time of tentative, grasping possession has almost entirely ended.

60 min: The goal in the other match was scored by the Croatian Alonzo Mourning, we see.

60 min: Hitzlsperger the old Villan enters for Gomez, for Germany. Has the latter seen the last of the Euro pitches? I'm on board with Adrian and Andy in thinking Schweinsteiger will reenter the fold next round. With the Polish kids up front.

63 min: Saumel for Aufhauser, for Austria. Whatever.

Sidney Ponson placed on waivers today. Attention Sidney Ponson's live-in girlfriend. He's been released. Grab the baby and get out of there! If he's coming home tonight it ain't gonna be sober.

65 min: Austria again dicking around the outside of the box. But somehow every (attempted) cross ends up floating into the atmosphere. Like one of those beach soccer balls.

66 min: And that's it for Marty Harnik. Kienast is on.

68 min: Neat work in the box from Germany. Called offside. Maybe, maybe not. It's clear having Podolski and Klose together is the way to go for the Deutschland.

71 min: Free kick for Austria from about where they "earned" the penalty against Poland...

no such luck today. Low and hard into the wall.

72 min: 20 odd minutes to play. How bout a goal from Austria? Have we bled this tournament dry with yesterday's action? Doubt it. Lot of attacking sides left.

74 min: Awkward and contrived discussion of NBA finals, incident #2. Not bad considering...

75 min: Neat build-up leads to an Austria corner.

76 min: But Gerry ain't fucking around today. Defense is mean and attentive.

79 min: Klose is led in, where he meets with the ball-- and Macho's gut. Corner. Ouch.

80 min: Everyone but Hasselhoff in the box there with Low. Boris Becker among them, we see.

80 min: Frings corner plinkos around the box. Safely in the hands of the ailing keeper. The counter breaks down.

81 min: Austria keep on churning. Keep on showing their lack of skill. Plenty of graft though.

82 min: Ollie Neuville on for Podolski, for Germany. Safety first.

83 min: and why Andy Gray was Neuville in the second division this season? Because some shite American keeper couldn't keep his club up last year. Kasey Keller you dog. (and don't tell me about Fulham. That was all Bullard and McBride. They stayed up in spite of Keller.)

85 min: Austria stay on the attack. Ivanschitz led a bit too far and it's another goal kick.

86 min: Austria fans have a right to cheer. The morons who signed that petition to have the team withdraw from the finals should be ashamed. Solid effort.

89 min: Hitzelsperger to Frings to Klose, in tight, but a straight save from Macho.

90 + 1 min: Garbage time now for Germany. The break down the field 3 on 1 but nothing comes of it.

90 + 2 min: Can Austria muster one goal from open play? Reaching for straws here, I know.

90+ + 2 min: Borowski on for Fritz, for Germany. We're on our way out. (Act accordingly.)

90 + 3: FULL TIME. Germany win 1-0. They are into the quarterfinals

In closing: So there you have it. A game effort from Austria, but that one touch of class was enough for Germany. At no point did the Austrians give their countrymen a moment's hope. That said, they gave little away.

Going forward, the left side of the bracket is set. Germany will play Portugal. Croatia face those Pesky Turks. Can't go wrong with either of those. We await. Until next time... Thanks lads.


Andrew said...

why with gomez? why? he hasn't shown anything - NOSSIN'! - all tournament. Just put Podolski up front with Schweinsteiger on the left.

jjf3 said...

Schweinsteiger isn't available (cards), but I am a little surprised Gomez is still in...

Andrew said...

ahh yes, how could I forget his red last game? germans always pushing down the slavs

jjf3 said...

My brain says 3-0 Huns, but then I see Jens in goal, and I think anything is possible...

The Fan's Attic said...

Aufhauser, Ivanschitz, Fuchs...there's a joke there somewhere.

Andrew said...

and THAT's exactly why Gomez should never fucking play.

The Fan's Attic said...

the poland-croatia lineups are dominated by I's, K's and C's.

Andrew said...

with podolski and klose, at least we know why the germans always invited themselves east.

The Fan's Attic said...

i have a feeling ballack is going to score one this half and then the floodgates will open for the Huns.

The Fan's Attic said...

granted, i have all sorts of feelings which never turn out correct. like that time i thought i had a chance with the homecoming queen. boy was i wrong.

The Fan's Attic said...

nibble? boner?

don't tease the germans like that.

The Fan's Attic said...

now maybe gomez will come off the pitch. gomez must have compromising photos of loew.

Goat said...

ESPN's GameCast described it thusly:

"The Austrian coach is having a bit of a ding-dong with the German coach Low and both have been sent to the stands by the rather over-fussy ref. Ridiculous."

The Fan's Attic said...

no subs?!! is that shrinking violet gomez still on the field?

for fuck's sake.

jjf3 said...

Finally, a free kick that goes in...

The Fan's Attic said...

well, i had the wrong half...but ballack did score.

i know, i went out on a limb there.

The Fan's Attic said...

is that the first goal off of a free kick in this tournament?

Goat said...

TFA--perhaps you should look up that homecoming queen.

Andrew said...

Ballack makes me loins quiver.

Perhaps why I named my UF fantasy team after his, (cough) manparts.

Andrew said...

TFA - yes.

The Fan's Attic said...

well, i found someone better, later in life. so, all-in-all things worked out.

so RHS homecoming queen, thanks for filling my teenage mind with dirty thoughs, but i won't be needing you any more.

ballack on the other hand, if you didn't play for chelsea, i would like you a whole bunch more.

Andrew said...

Excellent use of the world flummox!

Andrew said...

Ballack: East German + Chelsea = Fail.

Still, he is my Germany's Hauptmann Fantastic

Goat said...

What's with people biting the ball? First Lehmann, now Pogatetz.

Andrew said...

Gomez off. Thank God. He won't be in the lineup against Portugal.

The Fan's Attic said...

From gamecast:

German change; the worst player I have seen in the tournament, Gomez, is replaced by Thomas Hitzelsperger.

Andrew said...

The Austrians are a tad pluckish this half. More so than last half.

The Fan's Attic said...

glad to see i didn't miss anything during my meeting with the boss.

Andrew said...

Neuville still playing. How?

Goat said...

Joe Borowski is shit.

Goat said...

TFA--is that like "dropping the kids off at the pool?"

The Fan's Attic said...

well, they both give you a sense of relief once you're done, so i guess it is kinda the same thing, but not quite.