7 Reasons to be Glad We’re Playing Germany (Again)
It’s been a fraught week at 7 Reasons (.org). First we upgraded the website, then we redesigned the website, then we had a catastrophic failure of the website which left us offline for a day and then we fixed it, and are still tinkering with it to make it more stable. This caused confusion. We didn’t know whose turn it was to post yesterday. So, being diligent, conscientious humourists, we both wrote one. Sadly, we found our inspiration in the same subject. Fortunately though, we both said completely different things so, with apologies to readers in Australia, South Africa and Greece, we’re writing about England versus Germany again today. And possibly on Monday too (we’re a bit excited by it all).
1. The Great Escape. As comedy genius Bob Mills has observed, playing The Great Escape theme at England matches is pointless and out of context. On Sunday though, it could be in context. If we win, we will liberate ourselves from decades of World Cup tyranny at the hands of Germany. It actually could be a great escape. This may be the first match at which hearing The Great Escape played atonally on a trumpet will be meaningful, rather than just primal-scream-inducingly irritating. Then, perhaps, we won’t have to hear it again.
2. 5-1. The spectre of their ignominious defeat will loom large in the German consciousness. When we beat Germany 5-1 in Munich in 2001, Steven Gerrard was the architect of a lot that was good about our performance. And now he’s our captain! That should put the fear of God into them. Also, they can’t be unaware of the popular refrain, “5-1, even Heskey scored”, and Heskey’s in the squad too, so the Germans are at a psychological disadvantage before the game even starts. “Nein nein nein, es ist das Ziel Maschine, Heskey” will be the fearful reaction of the Germans upon his introduction to the game. Gerrard seems really up for it too. On Wednesday he said of the Germany game, “Bring it on!” . Well, he said “Brincchhh ii on”, in a voice so high that it startled dogs – I’ve had it translated.
3. Tyldesley. In commentary on Germany versus Ghana, Clive Tyldesley said, “…it’s a different Germany than we’ve seen in past tournaments”. This is excellent news. If Clive is right – and anyone who’s met a man named Clive will know that Clives are never wrong – this can only be good for us. After all, in past tournaments (except the one where the Russian linesman helped out), the Germany that we’ve seen have knocked us out (often on penalties). Bring on the different Germany!
4. Beer. Fabio Capello is coming to terms with the new challenges of managing at international tournament level. When we played well in the match against Slovenia…Slovakia?…no, almost certainly Slovenia, Fabio Capello attributed our much improved performance to permitting the England squad to drink beer on the night before the game. Germans, as we know, consume most of their beer in October so their team won’t realise its performance potential until November, by which time the match will definitely be over. It’s not tennis, after all. Is that match still going?
5. Common Bond. Germany and England have so much in common: They eat sausages, we eat sausages; they drink beer, we drink beer; they drive BMWs, we drive BMWs; they dress up in braces and leather hotpants and put a feather in their hatbands and slap each other’s bottoms, we…er…well…we don’t. Because it’s weird. But I doubt that lederhosen is what makes them good at penalties and, sooner or later, given that they’re so similar a nation to us, they’ll cock them up. After all, if the match goes to penalties Germany will have the pressure of expectation weighing on their shoulders. England certainly won’t.
6. Confidence. England had an uncertain start to World Cup 2010 but, on the evidence of Wednesday’s performance, we seem to be growing in confidence. We don’t have the self-possessed surety that the Brazil and Argentina teams seem to be imbued with, but there’s a way that we can attain that: By beating Germany. If we beat them on Sunday, our team will get the monkey off our back and will feel that they can take anyone on. The traditional obstacle to England’s progression in world cup tournaments will have been removed and we’ll believe we can accomplish anything. Except a Heskey goal, obviously, no one (except Germany) expects that.
7. Defences. The German defence looks suspect. Ghana created – and spurned – countless opportunities against them. The most notable of these occurred after thirteen minutes when Germany were totally undone by a fluid passing move at the right hand side of their penalty area. Sound familiar? Correct. That’s the same area that all of the brilliant creative interplay between Gerrard and Rooney took place in the England versus Slovenia match. They won’t be able to defend against it. “Take that, Mertesacker!” will be a particularly enjoyable thing to exclaim during the match when we score against them.
Our defence will be able to contain them. Most of the good attacking German play in this World Cup has occurred on the wings. And we have two fantastic fullbacks with Gerrard and Milner in front of them who’ll track back too. I don’t know what we’ll exclaim when we prevent them from scoring against us. “Blimey”, probably, or “crumbs”. But that’s what’s going to happen. We can win this. Be glad that we’re playing Germany on Sunday. Well…at least until kick-off. Then feel anxious as usual.