The Football Neutral World Cup FINAL: Germany vs Argentina

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Before we start… should you like the stuff that I write, do feel free to download my Football Neutral 2013/14 season review on Kindle.  Well over 300 pages of daftness. Less than £2! If you don’t have a Kindle the app is available for smart phones and tablets for free. Thanks!

Pre Game:

Obviously, I’m watching the game on the BBC.  Nobody in their right mind is watching it on ITV.  Not a single soul.  Even if they’re related to Adrian Chiles.

The BBC lot are all very smartly dressed.  I point this out to the wife.  She replies with “well they’re obviously not going to be wearing mankinis”.  Touché.

A quick flick to the ITV coverage reveals a load of blokes sat on B and Q wooden furniture on a beach.  Oh dear.

Lots of talk of this being the best World Cup ever.  Not for me, my favourites are Japan / Korea 2002 and Italy 1990 – althought this one has been a cracker, certainly more in the group stages.  The knockout stages have been a bit less memorable for sure.

Saying that, I was sat playing on my Xbox when Brazil played Germany, expecting a 0-0 draw.  The wife made me put it on (and she HATES football) because Twitter has exploded and we wanted to watch the carnage.  It was already 5-0.  Utter madness; every goal that day looked like those scored by Hungary in the 1950s, lots of walking the ball in.

This is Alan Hansen’s last ever game for the BBC.  Presumably as soon as Steven Gerrard retires he’ll walk into a job so the Liverpool bias can continue (Yes Alan, I’m not forgiving you for your dismantling of Matt Elliott in the 1990s).

The BBC showed a quick interview with Diego Maradona.  The wife looked up and said “alright Pat Butcher?”.

There is an air of Richard Hammond about Phillipe Lahm.

They’re going with the 1990 World Cup final kit configuration by the looks of it.  Argentina in dark blue.

Before we started, Carlos Puyol brought the trophy onto the pitch. Typical footballer, he had it in a Luis Vuitton case.

Based on the national anthems, there are a LOT more Argentinians in the stadium.  Also, all South American anthems are properly jaunty.

Sami Khedira injured in the warm up, so a competitive début start for Christoph Kramer. Bloody hell. What a way to start. Sad for Khedira, he’s been great all tournament.

We noticed the light on the top of the statue of Christ the Redeemer.  The wife wonders if he’s pretending to be a police car. We’re not exactly religious in this house.

1: Who’s betting this is a fucking 0-0 now?

2: Commentary is already suggesting that Argentina are nowt without Messi. I’d have nearly every one of their side in the Leicester team for sure.

3: The wife: “If I was a referee I’d hold up a card with “Chimpanzee That!” on it”.

4: It seems that Ezequiel Lavezzi has no neck.

6: They keep insisting that Argentina fans have crossed the border in some kind of re-enactment of an episode of wacky races.  “Camper vans! Cars! Buses! Even scooters!” Basic forms of transport then.

Wackyraces

9: It’s that weird boxing feeling out stage.  They do seem to be actually attacking though, which is a relief.  Pressure can kill these games.  Or, if you’re an office manager with a penchant for shit inspirational posters, MAKE DIAMONDZ!

11: Lavezzi keeps on rampaging down the right hand side and getting crosses in. The lack of neck means his centre of gravity is perfect.

13: Just dawned on me that nearly every football fan in the UK thinks that Martin Demichelis is rubbish. He’s just won the Premier League and is now playing in a World Cup final. All this despite having the handicap of having a ponytail for most of the season (he now looks weird without it)

17: Commentator just used the phrase “a pfennig for his thoughts”. BRAVO.

20: Higuain misses a sitter. Toni Kroos hits a header back to the keeper without looking, the Argentine striker is clean through and he fluffs it. Not even on target.

22: I wish I looked as good with a shaved head as Javier Mascherano does. I just look eight stone heavier.

23: We’ve just hit the 3,000th different pronunciation of Benedikt Howedes.

26: Sat trying to work out how expensive tickets for the final would be. I am betting a LOT.

28: The wife is laughing like a drain at the phrase “toe-end”. Child.

30: GOAL DISALLOWED – ARGENTINA: Great ball from Messi to Lavezzi on the right, lovely cross, Higuain touches it home and celebrates but he’s offside. Right decision.

31: Poor Christoph Kramer goes off, replaced by Andre Schurrle.  Kramer got a bump on the head a few minutes earlier and has to be helped off the pitch.  What a strange day for the youngster.

33: Howedes joins Shweinsteiger in the book.  Not the big book of “Most German Sounding Names”, but the ref’s notebook for an awful tackle.

36: Schurrle hits a great effort from just inside the box, set up by Muller, but Romero manages to make a decent save – if a South American one – meaning he doesn’t catch it, just punches it away. Don’t even know why South American keepers wear gloves.

39: Messi beats Neuer and the Germany defence only for Boateng to clear the ball from inside the six yard box.  A close-up of Messi makes me note that he has quite a fat chin for such a skinny chap.

44: Germany having a good couple of minutes. Great cross from Muller and Klose doesn’t manage to get on the end of it. 8 years ago he probably would, to be fair.

45: Howedes smacks a header off the post, and we’re still level. Everyone watching is moderately pleased that it might be goalless, but the game isn’t shite.

Half Time:

Ok, the BBC pundit team look like they’re going straight to a wedding after the game.

Higuain is being described as “slow and pedestrian”. They’re not wrong, he is rubbish. But he’s still better than Jo and Fred combined.

It’s really not a bad game.  I’m typing that with an air of surprise.

I really miss Alan Shearer’s island of hair.

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Goal of the tournament time. Let’s appraise them.

VAN PERSIE: Bit flukey.

CAHILL: He’s no Lilian Nalis.

MESSI: Seen him score better.

JONES: Just sad it wasn’t Cobi Jones.

RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, that’s the one.

LUIZ: Great goal, but the fact that he’s the worst defender in the world balances it out.

SCHURRLE: Wonderful goal as he made Luiz look like a prick as he scored it.

Whenever Gary Lineker does a link that says “there’s plenty more sport this summer” everyone just goes “NO” at their telly.

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45: Lavezzi off, Aguero on.  Feel a bit sorry for no-neck, he wasn’t playing badly. Aguero definitely a better player though.

46: Higuain offside again. He’s about as mobile as my house.

47: Messi not offside, gets through on goal, puts it wide.  Everyone still having a go then. Good stuff.

52: They’ve spent two minutes of this half showing a picture of Christ the Redeemer as the sun sets behind it. Well done and all, but can we watch the football?

53: Still some empty seats facing the camera. Who goes to the World Cup final and is more concerned with getting a bovril at half time?

54: Muller has a free kick given against him for pulling the shirt of Rojo. Replay shows it is clearly the other way around.  The referee is now giving decisions against Muller based on the fact he’s a gobby diver.  He is the German David Speedie.

56: Higuain chases a loose ball, Neuer runs out and punches it, then knees Higuain in the head.  Not really a foul, but not entirely sure how it ended up being a Germany free kick. German keeper knees attacker in the face in a World Cup game? Surely not!

59: Despite being my age, Klose is a lot quicker than Higuain.

63: Mascherano fluffs it in midfield and has to bring down Klose. Booking for the little Argentine.

64: Now Aguero gets booked for clattering Schweinsteiger.  Commentators trying to insist there’s some needle in the game.

66: Mark Lawrenson desperate for it all to kick off. Talking about Romero being the hardest man in the Argentina side because he’s the tallest.  Because Carlton Palmer was hard as fucking nails.

70: The press when talking about Messi are like the pushiest parent ever. HE CAN’T DO EVERYTHING!

73: My wife is currently trying to tweet about football just to anger me.

77: Higuain goes off. Which is for the best. On comes Rodrigo Palacio.  Who I think was the opera singer in “The Naked Gun”.

80: The wife has just used the hashtag “balladmirer” based on her amusing take on commentary.

82: Some kind of “intruder” on the pitch. Makes me sad that we never get to see them.

85: Gago – who I thought was at least 35 (he’s only 28) – is on for Perez. DEFENCE! DEFENCE! DEFENCE!

87: Two great tackles – Boateng on Messi then Schweinsteiger on Biglia to keep Argentina out.

88: The end of Klose’s World Cup career, the highest scorer in tournament history is replaced by Mario Gotze. Muller now going to play down the middle.

90: Three minutes of injury time. We’re heading to extra time, right?

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Full Time:

Extra time it is. Our Gary has just said something about teams in blue shirts.  Argentina don’t have much apart from Messi, and they’ve made all their subs.

Gary just spoke to an Alan, and the wife heard the voice of Hansen and presumed it was Shearer. She then asked me how long he’d been pretending to be Scottish. Brilliant.

Seventh ever World Cup Final to go to extra time, apparently.

Joachim Low presumably went for a massive wee during the break. He’s back now.

91: Chaos in the Argentina box as Germany start as they mean to go on. Ball then straight upfield and Boateng makes another good tackle.  He’s been excellent tonight.

93: Based on my wife’s terrible football tweets, my mate Kris Travis has called her “the female Adrian Chiles”.  Wow.  That’s COLD.

95: They’ve just – for the first time in this world cup – found some fans in the crowd that don’t react when they’re on the big screen.

96: Great ball from Rojo on the left to Palacio, Hummels misses his header but the sweeper keeper Neuer puts the man with the ridiculous rat-tail off.

100: Argentina now struggling to get the ball. You have the feeling that Palacio isn’t the man to score a winner if it gets lumped up to him.

105: Kroos gives the ball away in midfield with a pass that looks like it involved a 99p plastic Shoot football.

Half Time Extra Time:

Everyone now both wants penalties (because they’re fun) but doesn’t want penalties (because it’s a dodgy end to a fun tournament)

I can see an Argentina fan taking pictures with an iPad. The worst crime in the world.

zSRER

106: The name “Garay” always makes me giggle like an idiot.

108: Nobody has had cramp yet. Making this the most hardcore extra time ever.

109: Schweinsteiger gets a cut under his eye after a blow from Aguero. Commentators trying to make out that it was intended.  I don’t know it if was, but he’s now off the pitch getting patched up. Nasty cut.

112: GOAL – GERMANY – MARIO GOTZE: Schurrle carries the ball down the left, drawing defenders away.  He whips a cross in, Gotze takes it on his chest and slides it in on the volley into the bottom corner.  Quality goal from a great player – who can’t guarantee himself a place in this German team.  Now maybe even Dortmund fans will forgive him! I think Germany just about deserve it.  Now for a manic last few minutes.

116: Neuer now doing his sweeper bit again, to a massive roar from the crowd.  Easily the best keeper on the planet right now.

117:  Messi goes close with a header.  No right winning it, as he’s three foot tall.

119: Germany playing with a good tempo and high up the pitch.  Howedes almost in midfield.  Ozil replaced by Mertesacker.  Muller still looking for a goal.

120: Messi wins a free kick on the edge of the German box.  This should be the last chance… but Scweinsteiger is down, delaying things.  Messi decides to shoot, and that’s going to be it.

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FULL TIME – GERMANY WIN THE WORLD CUP

The first World Cup for the reunified Germany, and I don’t think anyone (short of Argentina fans) will be complaining.  A great tournament for them, and any team that massacres Brazil 7-1 in their own country should really be winning the trophy.

I’m sure people will talk about Messi being disappointing, but he’s still had a half decent tournament.  He’s still one of the best in club football, just like Ronaldo.

Players like Schurrle – not exactly a first teamer at Chelsea – have looked brilliant in this tournament.  Muller is now the best number 10 in the world.  The investment in grass roots football in Germany over the last two decades has paid off.  Arguably the best club football in Europe at the moment, and now the best national team in the world.

Credit Argentina, too.  They tried their best, they didn’t sit back and they made the game as entertaining as it was.

There is nobody in the England side who works as hard and cares as much as Bastian Schweinsteiger does in a Germany shirt.  He took a kicking all night and kept on going.  What a leader on the pitch.

You know the phrase “football is the real winner” – it is here. German football has a great grass roots base, is cheap to go and watch and every club is owned – in part at least – by the fans.  Why can’t it be like that here?

The German players formed a guard of honour for the Argentina team. How sporting is that?

Neuer wins the golden glove for the best keeper at the tournament – to the surprise of nobody.  What a tournament.  He hugs Angela Merkel, which was properly funny.

Best player of the tournament goes to Lionel Messi, which I don’t quite agree with.  He was good, for sure – but James Rodriguez or Thomas Muller for me.  Rodriguez does win the golden boot though.

Lionel Messi goes back up to get his runner up medal.  Looks broken.  He’ll be back though, 31 at the next World Cup.

Schweinsteiger leads the German team up the steps.  He’s not the captain, but he is a proper leader for sure.  Angela Merkel is all over every player as they come up.  Can’t imagine David Cameron doing that, can you?

Thanks then, Brazil. That was a bloody great month.

Man of the Match: Bastian Schweinsteiger

Match Rating: 7/10

 

 

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