Friday, June 18, 2010

Serbia Escapes Handball Deja Vu And Beat Germany

First it was Kuzmanovic against Ghana, then in the second game against Germany, Nemanja Vidic decided to indulge in some deja vu and conceded a needless handball. Would it be too much to expect a third handball when Serbia plays Australia? That would be some record!

Let's see....Serbia were not pretty against Germany but they were effective. Against Australia, Germany's midfield were excellent with Khedira, Oezil, Schweinsteiger, Mueller always supporting Podolski and Klose. None of them had such joy against Serbia who played a very high defensive line and pressured the German midfield constantly.

However, 11 against 11, Germany could have gotten the better of Serbia, the youthful vigour of Germany may have been enough. But when Klose was dismissed for a second yellow card, Germany lost focus. The loss in concentration as the young German side reflected on a harsh decision resulted in Liverpool-bound Milan Jovanovic scoring the White Eagle's first goal in South Africa. Clearly, the Spanish referee was stunned by the Spain's loss and wanted to make sure another tournament giant suffers an upset defeat.

Germany kept up their attacking philosophy even with 10 men. They were let down by the poor finishing of Lukas Podolski who seemed intent to shoot everytime he got the ball. Thomas Mueller could not cross the ball at all and struggled on the right wing. I couldn't help but think about Ballack's absence in the German side. His leadership and awesome on-field presence would have settled the young German nerves and allowed them to get back into the game.

Perhaps Ollie Kahn's doubts over Lahm's leadership is correct, this is what Kahn said,
"Lahm still has to prove whether he has the leadership qualities for the whole tournament. A World Cup is very long and there are tough phases. As the captain, you must always be positive and courageous. Philipp is a great footballer, but I don’t know whether he is mature enough for this.” 
Ballack could have spurred Germany on in the face of adversity, Lahm's first difficult test as captain ended in defeat to Serbia.

Group D is now wide open and it all comes down to the wire, the final group matches will decide who advances. Germany's attacking football philosophy and talent will suggest that Die Mannschaft will go through.

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