I had no idea how close these two teams and countries were linked in terms of soccer until the day before the game.
* The US advanced to the round of eight in 2002 only to be eliminated by Germany 1-0. Oh, did I mention there was a controversial non-handball call that would have given the US a penalty kick? Well now you know.
* US Head Coach Jurgin Klingsmann was the coach for the German team from 2004 – 2006 and for Bayern Munich (basically the best team in Germany) afterwards. He also scored 47 goals in 108 appearances for the German national team, including the 1990 World Cup squad. That included both Unified Germany and West Germany. If you don’t know why Germany was divided, read a book.
* Four current US soccer players (defensemen John Brooks, Timmy Chandler, Fabian Johnson and midfielder Jermaine Jones) were born in Germany. US players have also had a history of playing on German club teams, including Landon Donovan.
* United States Soccer has tried to adopt the German style of play for their national team. Similar to how the 1980 US Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team adopted the Soviet Union’s style of playing hockey. Except US soccer has been trying to implement this system for a while now.
Per usual, I included the Seesaw Sports brothers in my game time thoughts, if no other reason than I wanted to see how many World War two jokes would be used. My over under was set at 23.5.
Dan: “Germany is better, but they don’t need this game. They’ll go hard for a quarter to a half and then play keep away. Soccer is often a game of attrition and they aren’t simply thinking of this game only… Both teams advance.”
Todd: “Based on the very limited amount of soccer I watch, it seems obvious that the teams are going to be playing conservatively. Whenever a team gets even just a one-goal lead in these Cup matches, they try to string out the rest of the contest by substituting slowly and falling down whenever the breeze picks up. It’s disgusting to watch, but that’s how soccer is played. Since a draw benefits both sides, I find it hard to believe either squad will take ANY chances offensively.”
— Keep in mind that line about how soccer players fall down when the breeze picks up.–
— Just for future reference later. —
Doc: “I can see a 2-1 or 1-0 German win, but what are the odds they play the “rest their starters” game plan? It depends on what the Germans want to do. By the way, my ex-girlfriend is German and I fully expect lots of shit talking from her. She said earlier “This will be fun, good luck.” Is this what it’s like to be a Jets fan? Having other teams know their starting eleven is better than yours? Because this is awful.”
Before the game Jack Bauer himself (Kiefer Sutherland) narrated the US intro package. I’m already prideful to be a ‘Merican.
The US national anthem was followed by the German national anthem. I’m resisting every urge to make an Imperial March joke here. Mainly because …. well … is making fun of the German stereotype of being robotic even funny anymore? Throughout the game that was the LEAST offensive joke made at the expense of the Germans. I don’t know if I am desensitized or just an asshole at this point. Besides, I have a supervisor who is native German. He stands at 6’3″ and weighs 235 lbs. I’m 5’8″ and 165. Even I have zones I don’t enter.
Omar Gonzalez is starting instead of Geoff Cameron. Klingsmann has already won the “most obvious person who shouldn’t be starting” award this game. If a story comes out that Ronaldo paid off Cameron, it wouldn’t be that shocking to me.
The referees are from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. If I don’t see Borat on the sidelines, I am going to be angry. Also, I didn’t know those countries advanced past the 1980’s. I am also joined by a few of my co-workers. I’ll let you know their analysis as it seems fitting.
5 min: Germany has its first shot on net, but it looks like the German players are either bored or think this is a practice game.
7 min: One of my bosses yells out, “Are we in the Penalty Play?” I respond back, “That doesn’t exist … anywhere.” Soccer in the US folks, it’s catching on.
8 min: A German cross just missed and Howard is able to envelop the ball before any damage can be done. I don’t think the US has had the ball for longer than 5 seconds at this point in the game.
10 min: Gonzalez missed a chance to clear the ball on a German cross by missing it completely. Did a Ghana witch doctor curse our defense after Brooks scored the winning goal vs. Ghana? It wouldn’t shock me. The aspect of clearing the ball has not been a strong point for the US so far.
11 min: Germany crowded the net for another chance, but didn’t convert. Also, Germany gets a yellow card on Benedikt Howedes. One more yellow and he’s out leaving Germany a man down for the rest of the match. Unlike France, I’m secretly rooting for German aggression. Too soon? This is from my German Ex, “German Team seems to be very awake…sometimes they need too much time to get into the game. [Also] the US offense is a bit too shy….” The fact that line was said scares me. Germany has had trouble getting started lately? Now I know how France feels.
14 min: Gonzalez broke up a definite goal with a brilliant clear. He’s already done better than Cameron.
15 min: Gonzalez did it again. He is becoming my favorite defender not named DaMarcus.
17 min: US got lucky on a non call on Beckerman. Maybe these whatever-stan referees will work out.
28 min: Jones was just taken out by the referee. This has got to be a bad omen for anyone who wants the US to win.
35 min: This German offense is scary. If this is what they look like when they are not fully clicking, I want out. They have out possessed, out shot and otherwise imposed their will on the US. No wonder the US wants to model their offense after Germany. Maybe we need to start offering American citizenship to the best sixteen and under players and their parents from Germany, England, Brazil, Italy and France. US Soccer, where we steal your best things to kick your ass later. It can work.
37 min: Gonzalez is called for a yellow card. Great, the ONLY US defender who is doing serious work has a yellow card. Again, the omens are not good today.
42 min: German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (say that three times fast) begs for a card, but one isn’t coming because of a horrid flop on his part. Even announcer Ian Darke admits soccer players need to man up and not be wimps. This is why soccer isn’t more popular in the US. Americans value toughness and the culture of soccer involves flopping, which is the opposite of that.
45 min: Bradley loses the ball again for the 9,000th time this World Cup. My boss yells out, “Get your shit together Powder. Get a lightning storm or something.” I begin to write it down. He sees me, “You better not fucking write that down.” I am going to get chewed out when he reads this, but totally worth it.
I’ll keep this anonymous, but I got this message at halftime, “If the US beats Germany, I offer celebratory sex.” As if I needed more reason to want the US to win. LETS GO USA. U-S-A!! U-S-A!!
47 min: Gonzalez saved another potential dangerous ball by clearing it out. I am now told he is the highest paid defender in MLS. I can see why, he is very good at what he does. Wait, why was he on the bench until now? They just cut to the German coach Joachim Low. With his hair the way it is, I can picture him yelling “NEIN! NEIN! NEIN!” on the sidelines, very similar to a parody of a German. Think Inglorious Bastards and you’ll get it.
55 min: Howard makes a brilliant save to his right, full extension dive, but the ball finds its way to Thomas Muller’s foot. Muller now has eight goals in eight World Cup games. 1-0 Germany. I don’t think anyone could have saved that shot. It was one of those balls that magically found a man who scores more often than Tucker Max.
57 min: Ghana tied Portugal 1-1. If they tie, the US advances regardless of what happens. If Ghana wins by 1, they advance. Please Ronaldo, I take it back, you’re nothing like A-Rod. You pay kids hospital bills, you’re the best player in the world. I’m sorry.
62 min: Beckerman gets a yellow card. This game is starting to get rough. Still, out of all the European countries to out tough, Germany isn’t going to be one of them. If you do, it shall not be easy. Use this strategy against (insert European nation you dislike here).
64 min: Bradley loses the ball again. Did he learn possession of a ball from Tiki Barber? He is having a horrid three games. This obviously can’t continue. Or if it does, please let someone else start in his place.
72 min: I think Dempsey just broke his nose again. Is that a soccer record? Two broken noses in three games? Well it should be.
73 min: Jones and midfielder Alejandro Bedoya collide at the top of the penalty area. Yup, I don’t recall any pro sport where teammates collide and said team wins that day. Maybe when Johnny Damon collided into a teammate in 2003, but that’s it. Also, if Jones broke his nose, that means the trend in US soccer is you must score a goal and break your nose to be considered cool. Brooks … please don’t follow this trend.
80 min: Ronaldo scored to make it 2-1 Portugal over Ghana. Oh yes, who loves Ronaldo ….. everyone.
89 min: Dempsey basically gets steamrolled by a German defender, but a German tripping over himself is then a foul on Beasley? FIFA referees, where sanity is lost. I give up trying to figure out penalties anymore.
90 min: Four minutes of extra time? Why can’t it be five like it was last game?
93 min: With the US driving, Lahm of Germany blocks the best opportunity for the US to tie the game. Nothing you can do, just a brilliant play by a good defender. Germany wins this game 1-0.
No love loss between these teams. The US will now play Belgium in the round of sixteen thanks to Ronaldo beating Ghana, 2-1. Therefore, no waffles or Jean-Claude Van Damn movies until after the game. Regardless, the United States advanced out of the Group Of Death (it really was) and has advanced in two consecutive World Cups. The first time that has ever happened.
Random, but since I said I see Germany winning 2-1 or 1-0, does that mean I was right on my prediction? I’d say I was half right. USA!