Germany 0-1 Spain
The soccer world, including myself, had bought so into this concept of a New Germany – one that reflects a more open society than we’ve been accustomed to – that it was a shock to see Germany revert to its old style of defensive play when missing one of its young guns through suspension. What was even more surprising was that the suspended man was not one of their players of Turkish or Polish ancestry, but the very German Thomas Mueller. Without him, Germany looked, well, like Germany, except without the dangerous counterattack that we expect.
Spain’s lack of a killer instinct could very well hurt them in the Final against the Netherlands, who have shown they will do anything to win. But it was still a beautiful performance by the deserving first-time finalists, with Xabi Alonso controlling the tempo from deep midfield and allowing Xavi and Andres Iniesta to create. Alonso stopped Bastian Schweinsteiger, so dominant on Saturday, from being the link between defense and offense, and that allowed Spain to stay in their patient passing game.
And I’ll leave the final thoughts on the game to my girlfriend, who studied in Germany.
“The Germans ran out of Fahrvergnügen during this World Cup game against Spain. Either that, or they had one too many bratwursts. Oh, wait, maybe that was their fans, as I sat in Lincoln Square’s Brauhaus, surrounded by lederhosen, steins of Stiegl, and mountains of delicious red sauerkraut and potato salad.”
Third-Place Match Preview: Uruguay v. Germany
Prediction: Look for a bunch of guys who got no playing time during the games that mattered to finally see the field.