Germany 1 Poland 0
Call me crazy, but this German team is actually entertaining. No, seriously, it is. And, no, it's not the drugs. At least I don't think it's the drugs. No, I think that I'm being legitimately entertained by the normally robotic Germans. I'm as shocked as you.
Granted, they've played Costa Rica and Poland, not exactly world beaters, but the Germans are playing attacking, fun soccer. Sure, I heard all the rumors of Jurgen Klinsmann trying to change the infamously dull German approach to a more offensive mentality, but I've also heard that David Hasselhoff is huge over there, and I wasn't exactly buying that, either. (Hasselhoff? Really?)
But it's true. Although they only scored the lone goal today, they easily could have tallied at least three, maybe more. Miroslav Klose and Lucas Podolski were both finding themselves with plentiful opportunities, created in a variety of ways, which you have to think they'll do a better job of finishing in the future. After all, there was no need for Germany to rely on Oliver Neuville's second half injury time goal to win. That's cutting it a little close. Phillip Lahm is quickly becoming my new favorite player. He comes forward and joins the attack from his left back position with a zeal that Roberto Carlos would be proud of. Every time he rouches the ball you get the sense that something might happen, an often it does.
Granted, it's easy to play an appealing style of soccer when you're dominating and hardly required to give a second thought to defense. It wasn't like Poland was exactly putting Germany under the gun (and Costa Rica did score twice, which has to be a concern for Klinsmann.) It remains to be seen if, when confronted with a top team, the Germans resort to their more conservative approach. But in the meantime, they're coming forward in waves and looking like they're actually enjoying themselves, a trait not normally associated with the German people. It's been a joy to watch and hopefully it continues.
"Well, Dave, I think that the team that scores the most goals today is most likely the team that's going to win."
Incidentally, Dave O'Brien and Marcelo Balboa are making a case for most unlistenable broadcast duo ever. Any sport. O'Brien is probably a nice guy, but it's clear he has a limited knowledge of soccer. I'm guessing he's just a dude who went to broadcasting school, took whatver gigs he could get, climbed the corporate ladder, and then ended up as the lead play-by-play voice for the biggest sports event in the world. Props to him for that, but he sucks. I'm sorry, but he does. I can't really fault him, though, as he's just a guy collecting a paycheck in his chosen profession. I blame ABC/ESPN for being so short-sighted that they figured they could just pick some random dude, hand him the rosters and a few talking points, and believe he would then adequately handle the job. Listen, I think I could do a decent job broadcasting, say, soccer or baseball or basketball, but there is no way I could do, say, rugby or cricket because I have no passion for or innate knowledge of those sports. And this is what ABC/ESPN has asked O'Brien to do. Tools.
Meanwhile, Balboa is so bad that it has gone past the point of him annoying me. Now I just find his pointless ramblings amusing. I loved Balboa when he was the crazy dude with the crazy hair who almost scored on a bicycle kick in the 1994 World Cup, but he's quickly become a caricature of the clueless sports announcer. He's like something right out of a Saturday Night Live skit. We really need to start a Marcelo Balboa drinking game where you take a slug everytime he either a) says something dumb, or b) mentions his playing days. You'd be toasted by halftime.
Today, after Germany hit the crossbar twice in the 89th minute. Balboa said something to the effect of, "Well, Germany isn't scoring now. That was their chance right there. At this point they're probably just chalking it up to it not being their day."
Of course, literally two passes upfield and ten seconds later the ball was in the back of the Polish net. I'm not exaggerating. It was ten seconds. Hysterical.
The only thing that punctuated Balboa's relatively lengthy silence following the goal was the sound of me laughing my ass off.