USA 0 Germany 1: Three talking points
USA 0 Germany 1: Three talking points as both teams advance through to the last 16 of the World Cup in Brazil
Not so entente cordiale after all
Let us be honest right now. We all expected this to be Austria in 1982 or even East Germany in 1974, but was in fact a ‘blood and thunder’ game in keeping with 99 per cent of the rest of this World Cup. Germany were impressive in the pouring rain, going for USA’s throat from the start, and the brilliance of Everton’s Tim Howard that saw it goalless at half-time. The States were traditionally storng straight after the break, and no surprise it took a goal of sheer brilliance to break the deadlock. The Germans never stopped looking for a goal and Howard was in good form, so well done to Joachim Low and his side for showing the same attacking intent as they have from the start.
Germany’s likely opponents in the Round of 16 will be Algeria, provided Russia don’t break into a sweat and beat them while South Korea beat Belgium. This all could have happened by now, by the way. Germany might not like Algeria, they run lots. Behind defences. Behind defences that don’t like to turn….like Germany’s. The Algerians were outstanding against South Korea, providing a constant threat on goal. Their freedom was great to watch, and Low’s insistence on no natural full backs may leave Germany looking very static. Also, Manuel Neuer is the best sweeper-keeper in the world. At this World Cup, he has been woefully underused as Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker and Benedikt Howedes sit so deep. Will be interesting how that pans out.
We all love Jurgi
Tonight, this correspondent nearly tweeted a Four Weddings and a Funeral joke/line. Nearly. Might come back to it. It had Low looking at his watch while the rain hammers down. You know the line, don’t pretend you don’t. Anyway, the German boss has his critics in his homeland, but you can’t say he’s got it wrong yet. Attacking football and a willingness to play his best XI available, not his best XI on paper, means all of his mains tars are seeing some football, and he is getting to know his best options. Plus, let’s face it, he looked great in the rain. And that, at the end of it all, is all we need. Football managers looking great in the rain. Take note, Steve McLaren.