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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Germans struggle in Football Countdown


Germany is miserable; the country is experiencing a serious identity crisis! You might think that this is nothing new but their embarrassing loss of 4:1 against Italy eighty days before the start of the World Cup, has further catapulted the mood of the nation into a downwards spiral.

Germany has always identified themselves by the quality of their football but unfortunately ‘quality’ is not a word people use nowadays when describing the German team.

The Germans lucky victory against weak opponents in the World Cup in Japan only covered the poor condition of the players for a period of time. But it seems now the cat is out of the bag, Germany fears for their national pride in the light of the upcoming World Cup.

Never has a coach of a national team been so openly criticized by the media as Jürgen Klinsmann after Germany’s defeat by Italy. To make matters worst his subsequent trip to his home in L.A. was interpreted as a means to escape the media attention.

A trainer leaving his team behind would not have gone down well in any country but in Germany this borders onto career suicide. Even the German Football Kaiser Franz Beckenbauer, who has been accredited with bringing the World Cup to Germany couldn’t hide his disappointments with Klinsmann’s behaviour in front of the media.

Beckenbauer has benefited greatly from his role as a host and organizer of the World Cup and is seen as the secret Foreign Minister after travelling around the globe no less than three times on a promotional tour. Klinsmann’s national reputation, on the other hand has suffered dearly. His obvious support for a paradigm change of the teams playing tactics and methods has not yet convinced the critics. After all, one cannot just turn the German team into Brazilian’s overnight.

Carlos Pereira, the coach of Brazil’s national team spoke out in regards to influencing the teams playing tactics so soon before the game: “You can compare the job of a trainer with that of a guy at a car wash. The players come in like dirty cars and we have to wash and polish them.

This might be true for Brazilian players who have been playing in the best international clubs all year long, but in Klinsmann’s case it’s more like building a brand new car.

So with a team mentally weak, tactically unfinished and technically limited as well as a trainer who regularly disappears, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel felt obliged to call in an emergency football summit meeting. There Mrs Merkel reminded Klinsmann of her own experience and advised him not to go of the beaten track. It all seems a bit unusual that the country’s leader needs to buoy up the national team trainer before the match has even begun.
Just imagine Blair calling in Eriksson and Sir Bobby Charlton to give them a motivational prep talk just before the World Championships.

At least the recent triumph over America has given Klinsmann some breathing space. Still, it doesn’t distract form the fact that Germany is nowhere near as good as it used to be.

But as we all know in football everything is possible. After all one only needs seven victories to win the World Cup.

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