Monday, June 14, 2010

Group D: Achtung, Baby!

Germany v. Australia, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban  attendance 63,030

Result: Germany 4  Australia 0  Take Away: Australia didn't play badly and they were lucky not to give up six or seven goals.

Durban, the largest city on the east coast of the African continent with a population of 3.5 million, lies on the shores of the Indian Ocean.  It offers a subtropical climate and beautiful beaches.  Bathers are warned to be aware of sharks lurking in the warm ocean waters.  They should have warned the the Aussies that they might also be found in the beautiful new Moses Mabhida Stadium.  

All analogies and jokes related to German precision and efficiency should be inserted here.  They fit.  Die Mannschaft hit the target early and often and looked fantastic rolling to an easy 4-0 victory over an outclassed Aussie side.  Concerns over the loss of Captain Michael Ballack and keeper Rene Adler to injury before the tournament were mitigated, at least on this day, by a ridiculously strong performance.  

Lukas Podolski opened the German account in the eighth minute.  Coming off a poor season with his club FC Cologne, Podolski rewarded manager Joachim Low's decision to stick by him with a left-footed missile from 14 yards.  His partner upfront, Miroslav Klose added to the tally in the 26th minute.   Klose rose up to head home a long cross from Phillip Lahm, notching his 11th World Cup goal, more than any other team has in its entire squad.  It ties him for fifth on the all-time list. The 2-0 scoreline at intermission understated the German dominance.

After that it was all schnitzel and beer.  Aussie Tim Cahill was sent off for a hard tackle in the 55th minute.  Most felt it a bit harsh, but Cahill went in late and hard and I think the Mexican referee was right to show him the red.  Thomas Mueller and Cacau, just after coming on as a substitute, rounded out the scoring and Germany was every bit as good as the final result suggests.

The Germans have been by far the most impressive team thus far, but of course Brazil, Spain and Italy have yet to be heard from.  Concerns about the team's youth seem overblown as untested players like Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira were excellent.  Germany served notice that they are a serious contender for the Cup.

On the other side, the Aussie ship seems to have sailed.  Fielding a relatively old side the Socceroos were no match for the speed and technical brilliance of the Germans.  As always they played hard, but they are now up against it.  I imagine their next match against Ghana on the 19th will seal their fate and they aren't likely to be seen back this way anytime soon with a lack of young talent in the system.


HK said...

Interesting to see a very flexible and precise German team. Germany is always a contender, but given the spotlight that's been put on the Spaniards, English and Brazilians, this young team can make things interesting. It is still very early in the Cup but it was fun to see a good performance at last. You blog is great and its is amazing to see that you are doing the World Cup!

The Hammer said...

Gracias, mi amigo. Thanks for the kind words.

HK said...

Keep up with the World Cup comments. I love your views of the games. I hope the level of football pics up a bit; tomorrow's Portugal vs Ivory Coast game should be one of the best of the 1st round. Congrats on the blog and the great stadium pics you are posting!