Would anybody have complained if Germany v. Protugal had been the final match-up?
Okay, sure the Italians. And probably even the Dutch. The Greeks, yeah they would have wanted to defend their title. And have you ever heard a Swede bitch? Oh, and I bet the Turks can whinge up a storm as well.
Okay, except for 13 of the 14 other nations involved—Austria should be blowing some deity right now in giving thanks that they got to attend this little shindig—who would have complained that this would have been worthy of the final?
And we get it as a quarter final. Good for us.
Bad for one of Germany or Portugal (I'm hoping it's bad for Portugal) as one of them is going home after today.
Not that I have any particular love for die Germans. Every couple of generations they get a little bossy and start invading neighbors; and well, by the calendar on the wall, seems like we're past due for another attempt at über alles.
But I'm sick of Cristiano Ronaldo.Time to start acting like the best player in the world instead of a 4 year old. So dear Baby Jesus, if Ronaldo takes a blatant dive today, please give the ref the strength to card his ass.
Any number of players on the pitch could be the difference maker today. I'm putting it on Jens. If he kicks one of off his own knee today (a la at home to Fulham to start the last EPL campaign) the Germans are done. And I will laugh as he shuffles off to Stuttgart.
But if his secrets on how to handle Ronaldo and the Portuguese turn out to be more than complete bullshit, then I will cry as Kilnsy's CHB could have dropped those on some teammates during the last season at the Emirates.
Anyway, by the fault of some arrogant reffing, Joachim Loew won't be on the sideline. He's got a one match ban, which means he can't have anything to do with his team from half hour before until half hour after. Really? He can't run on the field if they win to celebrate? I believe the term to describe that is: "fucking stupid."
Bummer as the movie version of this match with Hackman [warning mp3 link] matching wits against MacLachlan would have been box office gold.
Livebloggamy to follow. Join us as I go get a sandwich and will be back a couple of minutes before kick.
Germany: Lehmann, Friedrich, Mertesacker, Metzelder, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Rolfes, Ballack, Hitzlsperger, Klose, Podolski.
Portugal: Ricardo, Bosingwa, Pepe, Carvalho, Ferreira, Petit, Joao Moutinho, Ronaldo, Deco, Simao, Nuno Gomes.
Sweet fancy Moses... No Foudy. Wow, maybe prayer does work. I don't know. I didn't try it, but I bet somebody who believes in it did.
T-minus 6: "Seven Nation Army" again. Is this now the default music for crowd chants at Euro 2008?
T-minus 5: Anthems. Germany first. And the Dodgers are pasting the Reds. Hope I didn't start Aaron Harang.
T-minus 3: Portugal's anthem. They look tiny. And Deco looks like a Care Bear.
T-miuns 2: Seriously, as they shake hands Germany looks like they are playing Lilliput.
Kick: So apparently new sod went down like 2 or 3 days ago and it's not really set. Players were puling up corners of huge pieces in pre-game. Could be an issue. But everyone thought that about the CL final and it turned out not to be, or did it? Was EBJT's kick shanked because of he slipped on loose turf, or just straight rain?
2nd minute: Germany having problems getting out of its end on consecutive throws.
3rd minute: Long ball from Germany and Ricardo ends up coming way off his line and outside the 18 to "handle" it. Has to use his feet. Podolski gets a visit from the ref as someone from Portugal cries on the ground.
4th minute: First chance from Ronaldo. He takes it down the left side and kicks one straight into Lehmann's arms. Piece of cake, but Lehmann has looked shakier on easier balls this year.
5th minute: German controlling the midfield a little better right now. But the Portuguese back line is pretty solid to this point and each of the 3-4 forays deep into Portugal territory have been turned away.
7th minute: Looks like the entire Portuguese midfield is going to sit deep to start. Great ball to Deco but his header to Nuno Gomes falls to Lehmann. Germany plays it forward, then back to maintain possession.
8th minute: Ballack fouled by Petit. Free kick for Ballack... Wastes it hitting a two man wall a good metric mile from the edge of the box. Throw for Germany.
10th minute: Exchange of possession in the midfield. Simao makes a run up the right side. Germany makes a nice tackle and couters. Long shot from Hitzlsperger goes to the side netting. Never a danger.
11th minute: And another good run from Simao deep down the right, but his cross goes right in front of Nuno Gomes who can't get his head on it.
12th minute: Metzelder catches an arm in the face. Okay not really. He fell and started going all wussy. Germans area apparenty capable of playing pansy as well. Get up.
14th minute: Klose down the left side. Might have been fouled as he cut back inside, but no whistle. The Portuguese counter, then give it back in midfield.
15th minte: Nice ball from Deco to Simao, runs just inside the line of the 18. He takes a nice shot right into Lehmann's arms again. Simao is the biggest offensive threat for either side this far.
17th minute: The Germans are doing a decent job preventing Portugal from stringing much together through the midfield, but once they get upfield, they are putting pressure on the German defense. Oddly enough, Germany has made almost zero effort to play this match in the air.
18th minute: Throw in for Germany. Schweinsteiger into the box, and it's deflected out for a German corner. Quick corner. Ballack makes run to it but his header looks more like a jump shot... And an air ball at that.
20th minute: Portugal earns a corner after a nice diagonal run through the box by Ronaldo gets cleared. Simao skies the corner. But as they play it back around... Oooh. Simao with aothher cross but Joao Moutinho couldn't make up his mind what to do with it. He first looked like he was going to dive to head it, then he pulled up and tried to get a knee on it. So it sailed wide.
22nd minute: So Portugal has blow the first quality chance of the match. But a littl.. GOAL 1-0 Germany.
I was just about to say a little more creativity from Germany. It's a nice one touch to Podolski who sends it across the box low to Schweinsteiger, who cuts nicely toward the center then buries it past Ricardo. Really, on replay that was a great feed from Podolski that hit Schweinsteiger right in stride.
23rd minute: Joao Moutinho is down, like Ribery down. Okay... restart. Joao Moutinho back up.
26th minute: Yellow for Petit. Free kick from about 30 for Germany.
GOAL 2-0 Germany.
Schweinsteiger with a great kick and Klose is totally unmarked with an easy header right in. Horrible defense by Protugal, and it wasn't just being out-heighted by 6 inches. If it wasn't Klose there was another German (Ballack?) waiting behind him to knock that in. Ricardo was helpless. And they are in serious trouble.
28th minute: Cross from Deco to the back post on the right side. Lahm clears it and Simao takes a corner.
29th minute: Corner comes into the box and hits about the 6, but there is nobody in red there and Germany clears it. Change for Portugal coming... probably Joao Moutinho out.
30th minute: Germany now moving with lots of confidence and look like they are just going to beat up the Portuguese.
31st minute: Portugal playing with good possession in Germany's third, but they aren't getting good chances out of the possession. Simao with a free kick in. Nice ball to Deco, but because Deco is a dwarf, he can't head it but instead opts for the toe punch.
32nd minunte: Oh, nice backheel from Ronaldo that finds Nuno Gomes on a give. Shot is blocked. That was pretty but it lead to nothing.
33rd minute: By the way, they have replayed the Klose goal about 7 times and Andy Gray keeps abusing Ronaldo for failing on defense so epically.
35th miunte: Nice feed from deep on the left side from Ronaldo to Nuno Gones. He can't get it under control at the edge of the six, so instead he takes a dive. No whistle. Good on the ref. Germany counters. Whistle, but not sure what for. Offsides?
37th minute: Ronaldo gets them a corner, but Lehmann makes a decisive move to grab a strong shot. It's odd, when Germany counters there are 5-6 red shirts already back to shut it down. When Portugal makes a break there are sometimes only 3 Germans at the back.
38th minute: German fans refuse to stop chanting "Seven Nation Army." This might cause me to stop cheering for them. Oof... Ballack took one in the face. And that looked legit. But I'd be wrong. On replay that was a bit of a nance move by Ballack to fall. Seriously, Germans are being bigger pussies that the Portuguese.
40th minute: Portugal give it up at midfield. Throw in for Germany. They swing it wide to the right but Schweinsteiger gives it up... GOAL 2-1. Game back on.
Off a quick counter, Ronaldo takes a shot from the right and Lehmann makes a good save, but the rebound comes out to the feet of Nuno Gomes, and he buries it as Lehmann is out of position and Mertesacker can't get a foot on it to deflect it wide [Halftime correction: He did get a toe on it, but only enough to deflect it where it was already headed, in the back of the net]. Bit of an unlucky bounce off of a good save by Lehmann, but we've got a game again.
43rd minute: Now Germany looks the less confident side. They work it through midfield but Schweinsteiger with a mishandle at the endge of the 18. Might have been a handball from Portugal. The red on the counter and a selfish and poor shot from Ronaldo stops the threat. Really, that was stupid of him as he had other options on either side.
45th minute: Throw in for Germany deep in Portugal's third. Lahm with a feed to Ballack, oh, and just missed the near post. Ricardo with a nice save. Andy Gray pointing out the wide open Klose on the far post.
+:30: And on the other end, Ronaldo with a dangerous shot low from the left side. He had Lehmann beat, but it went just beyond the far post. That was close to leveling. End-to-end.
Half Good stuff there right before the whistle as both teams had chances. Portugal's was better but Ronaldo couldn't put it away. To be fair it was great work to make that shot come withihn a foot of the far post.
When was the last time anyone used the phrase "hum dinger"? That's probably what we have on tap here in the second half. Portugal knows they need a goal, so sooner or later they will have to press. Germany has looked okay countering at times, but once they were up 2-0 they went, understandably, tentative. Teams are back on the field and we're moments from re-start.
Kick: And we're off again. Dig the cross on Portugal's socks. Hadn't noticed that before.
46th minute: Meireles on for Portugal by the way.
47th minute: Germany with a bad giveaway at midfied. Ronaldo goes streaking down the left side and on a slight touch he goes down and starts crying like the biggest douche in the world. He draws a card for Friedrich because of it. Stupid ref, that's the wrong decision. YOU'RE ONLY ENCOURAING IT
49th minute: And now a yellow for Lahm. Yep, that was justified. Simao took him down (and that could have been a foul) but when Lahm rolled over he followed trough with his legs to hit Simao.
50th minute: Then on the restart Simao takes down Podolski and gets away with it. Getting chippy out there kids. BAcking up the card on Friedrich, he stepped on Ronaldo as he was walking away. So maybe it did hurt and was worth a card. Still, C. Ronaldo is a disgrace to y chromosomes everywhere.
52nd minute: Sloppy giveaway from Germany almost gifts Portugal a great chance but the flag was up.
54th minute: Boswinga with a run up the right and crosses it into Ronaldo who goes down and is clutching his ear. I bet he's hurt himself exhaling before.
55th minute: Long ball from Simao completely across the box to a nice large patch of unoccupied green grass, which lovingly accepted it. A turnover almost results in a break for Germany as the ball bounced in to space and Ballack almost raced to collect it.
56th minute: Low, bending cross from Ronaldo into the box. Could have been tricky, but Lehmann handles it. Pretty ball, just a bit short of anyone in red. Corner for Portugal.
57th minute: Argh... Pepe skies one over the bar. It went off Deco who flicked it back with his head right to Pepe who had an open goal in front of him, but he decided "Hey, watch me send this ball 90 degrees straight up."
58th minute: Schweinsteiger wants a call on the touch line. Doesn't get it. He should have. Portugal counters and a long kick from Ronaldo is blocked before it gets to the box. Now a corner for Portugal.
59th minute: Ball comes to the same spot as the last corner. Sorry, lightning only strikes once. Ball comes out, Germany counters. And Pepe is given a yellow for a professional foul on Klose. Actually, he just stood him up and knocked him down. I'm kind of with Andy Gray that the ref seems to be favoring Portugal on inconsistent calls.
62nd minute: GOAL 3-1 (Oops)
Bit of a replay of the second goal headed in for Germany, only this time it's Ballack. Schweinsteiger with a long free kick to the edge of the 6. The Germans just have more height, and they get past the last defenders. Shit read by Ricardo to boot. So, seeing how you can't coach "tall" I don't see how Portugal solves this one.
64th minute: Meireles with a shot from long. Deflected to Ballack who is promptly fouled by... Meireles! He could have gotten a card for that, or for the protesting, but nope.
65th minute: On the exchange of long balls, Lehmann collects and gets it upfield where German gets a throw in. Nani up and getting ready to come it. Andy Gray said he'd take Simao off as he's done nothing. Reall? Simao helped create the first 2-3 good chances for Portugal.
67th minuteL Nuno Gomes is off. Nani on. And Dave Bush apparently has a no-hitter through 7 for the Brewers.
68th minute: Deco earns a free kick for Portugal at the top left from about 25. He sends it straight to about the 4th row of the stands. Nice.
69th minute: Nani cuts right across the top of the 18 and through about 5 Germans, but he is moving too fast for his own good and loses control.
70th minute: And Lahm with a nice shot. Looked like he had lost it in traffic but he keeps it on his foot and gets a strong shot from the top left of the 18 and it goes a bit wide. A good bit, but enough to make Ricardo move. Ricardo sucks by the way.
71st minute: Some one touch passing on the other end tees one up for Petit, who puts it right in the hole. "Hole" being Lehmann's arms, not the back of the net. Midfield is WIDE open now as Portugal is pushing forward. Looks like a change for each team coming up.
73rd minute: Nani collets one on the right side and gets in deep, but there are two white shirts waiting to clear any cross and they do. Corner for Portugal though. Postiga on. Petit off. Also a change for Germany. Give me a sec...
75th minute: Simao up the center. To Nani, and he puts up into a low orbit. Terrible. Hot tip if you are Portugal: Make Jens handle the ball. Take something off it if you have to. It's no coincidence your goal came from a rebound.
76th minute: Commentators are talking about Portugal's failures. If Spain win this, their Iberian counterparts are going to take the mantle of underachiever-chokers, aren't they?
77th minute: Germany has finally packed it all back. Portugal sending balls into the box and they emerge headed back toward midfield. Lather, rinse, repeat.
78th minute: Lehmann launches one about 85% of the way up the pitch. Portugal Noonan's it and it's a corner for Germany. Terrible corner from Schweinsteiger but it rolls out to Podolski who sends a rocket toward the basket that goes wide.
80th minute: And I don't think Portugal has any Turkey in them. This match is over. Corner here for Germany. Nobody on Portugal has grown in the last 20 have they? Another weak ball from Schweinsteiger gives Portugal a counter.
81st minute: I think Simao just made Scolari want to quit football with that last shot. From long, it went high and Portugal wasted a man advantage.
82nd minute: Shot from Ronaldo at the top of the box is blocked and the bounce comes toward Simao who is too short to get a head to it. That sequence pretty much summed up Portugal's day. Thanks for playing guys. Ronaldo, your tranny hooker awaits.
84th minute: So does C. Ronaldo break into tears before the final whistle or after? That's about the only uncertainty left in this match. Germany threatens but a nice close out by Deco who turns it back upfield.
85th minute: Cheeky little lofter into the box by Deco. Lehmann grabs it and Postiga takes him out. Only two players for Portugal were offside, yet the flag stayed down. Lehmann is getting actual attention. Ronaldo is jawing with the ref about something. Sand in the vag? Who knows? I can't lip read, much less lip read Portuguese.
Oh my... 3-2 Beauty cross from Nani. From the left side at about 30, he curled it right on Postiga's head. And he buried past Lehmann who had zero chance. Postiga did a nice job getting behind the defense. That was pretty sweet. And right as I was about to say the scorline would be the same as the WC 3rd place game.
89th minute: Germany doing a bad job killing time. And a nervous ball. But Postiga with a foul to get Germany off the hook.
90th minute: Four minutes of stoppage. Germany gets deep and the cross is blocked. Looked like it should have been a corner. Instead it's Portugal with more pressure and some nice one-touch passing. They get a corss in deep from Nani and from the back post it's headed back to the 6. Germany clears.
91st minute: But only for a second as the ball comes back to Potugal and Postiga sends a shot over the cross bar.
93rd minute: And another great cross from Nani. Portugal not going away. It comes back out and Nani collects it again, and another great cross, but Postiga is whistled for a foul. Lehmann with a long GK. Final minute here.
94th minute: Final seconds. A long pass to Ronaldo who gets it and sends it back to the middle of the box. Nobody there. It ends up downfield where Podolski gets in. He takes a shot that Ricardo collects.
Whoa... Neverous moments there from Germany and Big Phil is going to kick himself for not getting Nani in the game early as he had about 5 seeing eye crosses late in the match that all could have been trouble. But Germany gets the win and moves on to the semis. Thanks for playing Portugal. Really, they made a game out of it late when it seemed all but done.
See everyone back here tomorrow for Turkey (UF's adopted team) and Croatia.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Would anybody have complained if Germany v. Protugal had been the final match-up?