Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

Happy Geburtstag Karl-Heinz!
Rummenigge Remembered on the Occasion of his 59th Birthday

September 25th is the birthday of arguably Germany’s greatest player in the post-Beckenbauer era, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Rummenigge followed in the footsteps of Helmut Rahn, Uwe Seeler and Gerd Müller ensuring West Germany’s world class forward line was maintained.

Karl-Heinze RUMENIGGE Panini Inter de Milan 86“Kalle” was born in Lippstadt in 1955 and played for the local club Borussia Lippstadt until he was 18 years old and discovered by Bayern Munich. His move to Bayern forced him to give up his job as a bank clerk and concentrate fully on football. It paid off handsomely.

Rummenigge spent a decade in Bavaria scoring 162 goals in the Bundesliga. The young Rummenigge was a member of Bayern’s 1976 European Cup winning team against St Etienne, having necked a glass of Brandy before the game to calm his nerves!

By the 1982 World Cup in Spain, Rummenigge had established himself as one of the superstars in the game. By then he was twice European Player of the Year (1980 and 1981), and a member of West Germany’s European Championship winning team in 1980 where he was named Player of the Tournament.

Knee problems prevented him from performing to his full potential at the World Cup and manager Jupp Derwall used him sparingly. His most memorable contribution – along with his hat-trick against Chile – saw him come off the bench in the classic semi-final against France to inspire a German comeback from 3-1 down with a goal and an assist to eventually win on penalties. A tired German team could not overcome Italy in the final though and lost 3-1.

Rummenigge, by now an Inter Milan player, would end his international career at the World Cup in 1986. “Kalle” was once again not fully fit, but Franz Beckenbauer – now coach – was determined to bring him to Mexico. He featured in all matches, mostly as a substitute, as West Germany once again reached the final. He was captain in his 95th and last international against Argentina in the Azteca stadium. Rummenigge scored one of the West German goals as they attempted to comeback from 2-0 down with 15 minutes left, but Burruchaga won it for Argentina just three minutes after Rudi Voller had equalised – and Rummenigge became the first captain to lose two World Cup finals. 1987-88 Panini Servette Genève Karl-Heinz RUMMENIGGE

Germans everywhere will tell you that a fully fit Rummenigge would have made the difference in those World Cups and they would have two more titles to their name.

He spent his last couple of seasons as a pro in Switzerland with Servette before retiring in 1989.

He is currently Chief Executive Officer at the FC Bayern München group of companies.

Rummenigge may not have been as prolific as Gerd Muller, but he was a better all-around player. Not only did he score with ease, he possessed great technique and was a brilliant creative influence for his side and a true legend of the game.

Happy Geburtstag Kalle from all at BOBBY!

The Career of Der Kaiser
The Man Who Revolutionised the Role of The Sweeper

by Karl Hofer.

Beckenbauer-bayern-munich-soccer-clubOn 11 September 1945, when a once great nation was at the lowest ebb of its history, among the ruins of Munich a footballing legend was born.  As captain of both the national side and his hometown club, he would lead both to unprecedented success and to the pinnacle of the world game. His name was Franz Beckenbauer.

The son of a postal worker, Beckenbauer grew up in Giesing, a working class superb in south-east Munich. Despite his father’s apathy for the game the young Franz was a promising centre-forward and idolised World Cup winner Fritz Walter. He was also a big fan of 1860 Munich, who in those days were the more popular team in the city.

Beckenbauer later admitted of 1860; “It was always my dream to play for them” and he was all set to join them until he played in a fiery encounter against 1860 in the final of an under-14 youth tournament for his then club SC Munich 06. A series of physical confrontations with the centre-half who was marking him had such a strong effect on the young Beckenbauer that he decided to join neighbours Bayern instead.

Before he’d even kicked a ball for the Bayern first team however, Beckenbauer was engulfed by controversy. In 1963, at the age of 18, it was revealed that his then girlfriend was pregnant and that he had no intention of marrying her. This sort of behaviour was so seriously frowned upon at the time that he was promptly banned from the West German national youth team by the DFB, only to be readmitted after the intervention of the side’s coach Dettmar Cramer.

BeckenbauerWCHe debuted for Bayern’s senior side on June 6th 1964 playing on the left wing against Stuttgarter Kickers in the second tier of German football. In his first full season the team won promotion to the newly formed Bundesliga.

Bayern soon became a force in the new German league, winning the German Cup in 1966–67 and achieving European success in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1967. Beckenbauer became team captain and led his club to their first league title in 68/69. It was around this time that Beckenbauer began experimenting with the sweeper/libero role, refining the position and becoming the greatest exponent of the attacking sweeper game.

Beckenbauer stayed with Bayern through the 1976-77 season, accruing a total of 461 appearances and 53 goals in all competitions. During that time, Bayern won four Bundesliga titles, four DFB Cups, three European Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and one Intercontinental Cup.

Der Kaiser also enjoyed success with the West German national team, for whom he made 103 appearances, winning the 1972 European Championship and the 1974 World Cup. He also won numerous individual honours, including the 1972 and 1976 Ballon d’Or awards.

beckenbauerHSVIn fact, everywhere Beckenbauer went success followed.

Beckenbauer finally parted ways with Bayern when he accepted a lucrative contract to join the New York Cosmos in 1977. He spent four seasons in New York and the Cosmos won the Soccer Bowl three times.

A return to Germany with Hamburg followed (1980-82) and despite playing a limited role he still helped guide HSV to a Bundesliga title.

He retired from playing in 1983 and quickly turned his hand to management, starting with the West German national side – and yet again success went with him. When West Germany won the 1990 World Cup, Beckenbauer became only the second person to win the Jules Rimet Trophy as both a player and manager (Brazil’s Mário Zagallo was the first).


Read All About It: England Win The World Cup! We have an original match report from 1966

This match report was  published on Sunday July 31 1966, the day after England became world champions. The report was written by Hugh McIlvanney (now of the Sunday Times)  who was then chief sports correspondent of The Observer, a post he held between 1962 and 1993. The piece, some 2,145 words long, would have been filed in the moments after the final whistle and at points you can sense McIlvanney’s journalistic instincts wrestling with the glorious emotion of the moment. In the circumstances, it’s an exceptional piece of reportage.


The greatest moment in the history of English football came at 5.15 this afternoon when Geoff Hurst shot the magnificent goal that made certain of the World Cup. It was Hurst’s third goal, England’s fourth, and, coming as it did in the final seconds of extra time, it shattered the last remnants of German resistance.

Germany had equalized with the last kick in the regular 90 minutes, and they had gone within inches of repeating the blow in extra time when Seeler lunged in on a headed pass by Held. But Moore took the ball coolly out of defence and lifted it upfield to Hurst 10 yards inside the German half. The referee was already looking at his watch and three England supporters had prematurely invaded the pitch as Hurst took the ball on his chest.

At first he seemed inclined to dawdle out time. Then abruptly he sprinted through on the inside-left position with a German defender pressing him. As Tilkowski prepared to move out, Hurst swung his left foot and drove the ball breathtakingly into the top of the net.

The scene that followed was unforgettable. Stiles and Cohen collapsed in a tearful embrace on the ground, young Ball turned wild cartwheels, and Bobby Charlton dropped to his knees, felled by emotion.

Almost immediately it was over and the honour that had escaped England for so long had been won. Soon the players, who had forgotten the crippling weariness of a few minutes before, were hugging and laughing and crying with Alf Ramsey and the reserves, who must go through their lives with bitter-sweet memories of how it looked from the touchline.


Moore holds the cup aloft

No failures
“Ramsey, Ramsey,” the crowd roared and in his moment of vindication it was attribute that no one could grudge him. Eventually, Moore led his men up to the Royal Box to receive the gold Jules Rimet trophy from the Queen, and the slow, ecstatic lap of honour began “Ee-aye-addio, we’ve won the Cup,” sang the crowd, as Moore threw it in his arc above his head and caught it again.

England had, indeed, won the Cup, producing more determined aggression and flair than they had shown at any earlier stage of the competition. In such a triumph there could be no failures, but if one had to name outstanding heroes they would be Hurst, Ball, Moore and the brothers Charlton.

Hurst, who just a month ago appeared to have only the remotest chance of figuring in the World Cup, had emerged as the destructive star of a feverishly exciting game, becoming the first man to score a hat-trick in the final. Ball, who looked like a boy, had done the work of two men. Moore, showing again that he is stimulated by the demands of the great occasion, played with an imaginative self-confidence that made it unnecessary for anyone to ask who was the England captain.

Beside him Jack Charlton was a giant of a player. And through the whole performance there ran the inspiration of Bobby Charlton. In the first half, when the foundations of England’s victory were being laid, it was his relentless but unhurried foraging, his ability to impose his experience and his class on the team’s play that counted most.

Pride in defeat
Every one of the others responded superbly and if some were sometimes short of inspiration, none ever lacked courage or total commitment. Of course the Germans were on the field too, and they let England know about it often enough. They may regret now that they set Beckenbauer to mark Charlton, for the young half-back had little opportunity to exploit his attacking genius until it was too late. Held and Haller, with tremendous early assistance from Seeler, did plenty of damage, but ultimately it was Tilkowski and his defenders who were left to save Germany.

They tried mightily, but in the end England’s spirit broke them. Germany had already won the World Cup, England had not, so they had a right to accept defeat with pride. They did, and the crowd cheered their lap of honour almost as much as England’s.


The teams line up before the game begins.

Wembley was charged with an atmosphere I had never known before. Long before the teams appeared the crowd was chanting and singing. When the band of the Royal Marines, who had played a tune for each of the 16 competing nations, came to play the national anthem it was sung as it may never be sung again. Deutschland Uber Alles boomed out in its wake and the battle was on.

The Germans began rather nervously, standing off from the tackle and letting England’s forwards move smoothly up to the edge of the penalty area. Charlton and Peters were able to work the ball along the left at their leisure and there was anxiety in the German defence before the cross was cleared.

Charlton wandered purposefully all over the field, bringing composure and smoothness wherever he went, again comparisons with di Stefano seemed relevant.

One of Hunt’s few imaginative passes set Stiles clear on the right and his high cross beat Tilkowski before Hottges headed it away. The ball was returned smartly by Bobby Charlton and Tilkowski had so much difficulty punching it away from Hurst that he knocked himself out.

The goalkeeper was prostrate, the whistle had gone and the German defenders had stopped challenging by the time Moores put the ball in the net. The crowd cheered in the hope that next time it would be the real thing.

Jack Charlton, carrying the ball forward on his forehead with a skill that would have done credit to his brother, moved swiftly out of defence and his finely judged diagonal pass let Peters in for a quick powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area. Tilkowski, diving desperately to his left, punched the ball round the post. Hurst met Ball’s corner on the volley but sent it much too high.

At that point Weber chose to give one of the agonized performances that have been the German hallmarks in the competition, but Mr Dienst quickly let him know he was fooling nobody.

Peters emphasized the eagerness of the England attack by surging in from the right to shoot the ball only 2ft wide from 25 yards.

Helmut Haller (far right) celebrates as he scores the opening goal of the 1966 World Cup Final

Helmut Haller (far right) celebrates as he scores the opening goal of the World Cup Final.

Then, stunningly, in the tenth minute England found themselves a goal behind. And it was a goal that anyone who had watched their magnificent defensive play earlier in the tournament could scarcely believe. Held glided a high cross from the left wing and Wilson, jumping for the ball in comfortable isolation incredibly headed it precisely down to the feet of Haller, standing a dozen yards out and directly in front of Banks. Haller had time to steady and pivot to turn his right-foot shot on the ground past Banks’ right side.

The equalizer
It took England only six minutes to reassure the crowd. Overath had been warned for a severe foul on Ball and now he committed another one on Moore, tripping the England captain as he turned away with the ball. Moore himself took the free kick and from 40 yards out near the left touchline he flighted the ball beautifully towards the far post. Hurst, timing his run superbly to slip through the defence, much as he had done against Argentina, struck a perfect header low inside Tilkowski’s right-hand post.

Moore held one arm aloft in the familiar gladiator salute while Hurst was smothered with congratulations. It was another reminder of the huge contribution West Ham have made to this World Cup.

Bobby Charlton reasserted himself with a sharp run across the face of the goal from the right and a left foot shot. It troubled Tilkowski but he gathered it at his second attempt. The Germans retaliated through Haller, who was just beaten by Banks in a race for a through pass but the most sustained aggression was still coming from England. Moore, playing with wonderful control and assurance, was driving up among the forwards, joining intelligently with moves initiated by Bobby Charlton.

Unfortunately, however, Charlton could not be in two places at once. Time and again the attacks he conceived from deep positions cried out to be climaxed with his killing power. After Ball had been rebuked for showing dissent he took part in one of England’s more effective attacks. Cohen crossed the ball long from the right and Hurst rose magnificently to deflect in another header which Tilkowski could only scramble away from his right hand post, Ball turned the ball back into the goalmouth and the German’s desperation was unmistakable as Overath came hurtling in to scythe the ball away for a corner.

Certain to score
Not all the uneasy moments were around Tilkowski, however. First Ball and then Cohen toyed riskily with Held near the byline. Jack Charlton, maintaining the remarkable standard of his World Cup performances, had to intervene with a prodigious sweeping tackle on the ground to get them out of trouble. It cost him a corner and the corner almost cost England a goal. The ball went to Overath and from 20 yards he drove it in fiercely at chest height. Banks beat it out and when Emmerich hammered it back from an acute angle the goalkeeper caught it surely.

When a Wilson header into goal was headed down by Hurst Hunt appeared certain to score. But when the Liverpool man forced in his left foot volley Tilkowski was in the way. Soon afterwards a subtle pass from Charlton bewildered the German defence but Peters could not suite reach the ball for the shot.

The hectic fluctuating pattern of the first half was stressed again before interval when Overath hit a bludgeoning shot from 20 yards and Banks turned the ball brilliantly over the crossbar.

Martin Peters scores England's second goal.

Martin Peters scores England’s second goal.

Bobby Charlton, moving through on Moore’s pass early in the second half, fell after being tackled by Schulz, but the claims for a penalty were understandably half-hearted. Cohen was making regular runs on the right wing but his centres were easily cut out.

Mr Dienst was at his most officious but he was entitled to reprimand Stiles after the wing-half had bounced the ball in disgust at a harsh decision. Hunt was crowded out in the last stride as he met a cross from the left, but after 75 minutes he had a hand in England’s second goal.

He pushed a pass to Ball and when the winger shot Tilkowski pushed the ball onto the outside of his net. Following the corner Hurst’s shot from the left was deflected across goal by Schulz, and Peters, strangely neglected by the German defenders, came in swiftly to take the ball on the half volley and drive it into the net from four or five yards.

A free kick given against Styles was guided accurately above the English defenders by Emmerich, and Weber should have done more than head weakly past. In the last seconds of the 90 minutes the English supporters were silenced by an equalizing goal.

Charlton was doubtfully penalized after jumping to a header and the free kick from Emmerich drove the ball through the English wall. As it cannoned across the face of goal it appeared to his Schnellinger on the arm but the referee saw nothing illegal and Weber at the far post was able to score powerfully.

Wonderful shot
From the kick-off in extra time England swept back into their penalty area. Ball had a wonderful shot from 20 yards edged over the crossbar by Tilkowski. Charlton hit a low drive that Tilkowski pushed against his left-hand upright.

The Gemans looked weary but their swift breaks out of defence were still dangerous. Emmerich moved in on Banks but when he passed Held was slow to control the ball and Stiles cleared. Then Held compensated for this by dribbling clear of the entire English defence and turning the ball back invitingly across goal. But there was nobody following up.


England appeal for a goal to be awarded after Hurst’s shot hits the crossbar.

When England took the lead again in the tenth minute of extra time they did it controversially. Ball made an opening for himself on the right and when the ball went in to Hurst the inside forward resolutely worked for a clear view of the goal. His rising right foot shot on the turn from 10 yards was pushed against the underside of the crossbar by Tilkowski and when it bounced the England players appealed as one man for a goal. The referee spoke to the Russian linesman on the side away from the main stand and turned to award a goal. The delayed-action cheers shook the stadium.

Then we were up and yelling and stamping and slapping one another as Hurst shot that last staggering goal. The sky had been overcast all afternoon, but now the clouds split and the sun glared down on the stadium. Maybe those fellows were right when they said God was an Englishman.

England's Jack Charlton holds the Jules Rimet trophy aloft as he parades it around Wembley with teammates Ray Wilson, George Cohen  and Bobby Moore following their 4-2 win.

England’s Jack Charlton holds the Jules Rimet trophy aloft as he parades it around Wembley with teammates Ray Wilson, George Cohen and Bobby Moore following their 4-2 win.

Rob’s World Cup Wire
Miroslav so Klose, English PL is tops & 23 World Cup questions

by Rob Shepherd.

Klose to Records

Mirosloav Klose, currently with 15 World Cup goals, needs one more to overtake Brazil’s Ronaldo and become the all-time highest scorer at the finals.

Ronaldo’s 14th goal, which equalled the previous record of France’s Just Fontaine, was the first of the 2002 final between the two teams in Japan and his second gave Brazil a 2-0 win and was his 15th.

But that is not the only World Cup record Klose, who was born in Poland, seeks tonight.

Should Germany win Klose will also achieve another record by equalling Brazli’s World Cup winning skipper of 2002 with 16 wins.

Klose, 36, has scored 70 goals in 135 game making him the country’s all-time top scorer ahead of Gerd Muller who scored 68 goals in 62 games.

He now ranks alongside Pele and German legend Uwe Seeler as one of only three players to have scored at four World Cup finals.

Klose’s contract with Italian club Lazio expires this summer and he’s considering one last move… possibly to a club in the MLS.


World Cup Posers

When it gets to semi-final stage all the pre-World Cup questions and hype seem so long ago.

The biggest speculation of course in the lead up is who makes the 23 man squad of each of the 32 countries..?

Now we are down to four here are 23 questions to pose ahead of tonight’s classic South America v Europe showdown (part one).

23. Who’s The youngest World Cup goalscorer..?
Brazilian legend Pele was only 17 when he became the youngest player ever to score at the World Cup, in 1958 in Sweden. He went on to become one of the sport’s greatest ever stars, and is one of just a handful of players to have scored in two World Cup finals.

22. What’s the biggest ever scoreline..?
The biggest scoreline in World Cup history – in fact the worst defeat in international football – is 31-0, Australia’s thrashing of American Samoa in qualifying in April 2001.


Zoff; Double record holder

21. Who’s the oldest ever World Cup winner..?
Italian goalkeeping legend Dino Zoff was part of four World Cup squads. He played in three tournaments and then finally won in Spain 1982 at the ripe old age of 40 years, four months and 13 days. He also holds the record of 1,142 minutes without conceding a goal.

20. How much has this World Cup cost..?
This will be the most expensive World Cup to date, with the Brazilian government spending around $14 billion dollars (just over £8 billion). That’s more than the last three tournaments put together and there were big protests across Brazil in the lead-up to the tournament from people saying it’s costing the country too much.

19. What has the Brazilian government hired in for the World Cup..?
Robots called Packbots have been hired by the Brazilian government to help boost security during the World Cup. The robots have heat vision, are super strong and light, and can even climb stairs and work underwater! They have previously been used to help find and rescue people trapped in earthquakes.

18. In how many different cities will matches take place during the World Cup..?
The 2014 World Cup in Brazil will see matches take place in 12 different cities across Brazil. Matches have been played in: Manaus, Fortaleza, Natal, Recife, Salvador, Cuiaba, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, Curitiba and Porto Alegre.

17. Which team was the last nation to win the Jules Rimet World Cup..?
Italy was the last nation to win the Jules Rimet World Cup in 1938, a year before World War Two started putting the next two World Cups on hold. It’s said the Italian Vice-President of FIFA hid the trophy in a shoe-box under his bed throughout the war to keep it safe.

16. What type of animal is the World Cup mascot..?
Fuleco the three-banded armadillo is the 2014 World Cup mascot for Brazil. The three-banded armadillo is an endangered species native to Brazil and his name is a combination of Futebol (football) and Ecologia (ecology).

15. Why was Diego Maradona’s famous goal against England so controversial in the World Cup?
In the 1986 World cup in Mexico City, Argentinean Diego Maradona scored a controversial goal that has become known throughout football history as “the Hand of God”. In the match against England, Maradona headed the ball into the net using his head and hand in what he later called: “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”.

14. How many spaces does the base of the World Cup trophy have for the future winners..?
The base of the current World Cup trophy, which was introduced in 1974, has space for 17 inscriptions – enough for every winner until 2038.

13. Who scored the fastest goal in a World Cup..?
Hakan Suker of Turkey scored the fastest ever goal in the history of the World Cup against South Korea in 2002. 10.8 seconds was all it took for the striker to score, a record which today still remains unbroken.England’s Bryan Robson scored after 27 seconds against France in 1982.

12. Who was the first player ever to get sent off in a World Cup..?
During the opening match of the 1974 World Cup the Chilean player Carlos Caszely made history by being the first player ever to be sent off by a straight red card in a World Cup.

11. How far did the World Cup trophy travel on tour..?
The total distance covered by the World Cup trophy during its world tour before Brazil 2014 was 149,576.78 km (92,942.702 miles). That’s more than three times around the world!

10. Who found the missing World Cup..?
On the 20th of March 1966 the original Jules Rimet World Cup trophy was stolen from an exhibition in London. It was found a week later by a small dog called Pickles, out on a walk with his owner.

9. How many players tested the Adidas Brazuca football..?
The new World Cup ball is pleasing to the eye… And proved fit for purpose… it has also gone through a rigorous testing procedure over the past two and a half years. It was tested by more than 600 professional players and 30 teams in 10 countries across three continents, making the Brazuca the most tested ball in Adidas’ history. So much better than the beach ball which ruined the 2010 finals.

8. When was the World Cup first televised..?
The World Cup was first televised in Switzerland at the 1954 World Cup, but it wasn’t until the 1970 World Cup that it was broadcast worldwide. Now it is one of the most viewed sporting events in the world. The previous World Cup in South Africa attracted an audience of 3.2 billion people: around 46% of the world’s population, and that doesn’t include people who watched in on their mobile gadget or in a bar or restaurant!


England; Crap at penalties…

7. How many World Cup matches have been decided by a penalty shoot-out..?
As of the start of the 2014 tournament a total of 22 World Cup matches have been decided by a penalty shoot-out since the rules came into effect in 1978. The most successful team at penalty shoot-outs is Germany with four wins, and unfortunately England is the worst with three losses without any wins.

6. How many people does the Maracana stadium seat..?
The famous Maracana Stadium in Brazil will host the final of the World Cup and can seat 73,531 people. The stadium opened in 1950 to host the World Cup, and a record-breaking 173,850 people paid for a ticket to watch the final match between Uruguay and Brazil, but the actual attendance to the match was around 210,000 – a record for a team sports match that still remains today.

5. How many countries have hosted the World Cup twice..?
This is the second time that Brazil has hosted the world cup. The first time was in 1950. Only five countries have ever hosted the World Cup twice.

4. Which country has played the most matches at the World Cup..?
Before the start of the 2014 tournament, Germany had played 99 World Cup matches, more than any other nation, with Brazil coming a close second with 97. Germany played their 100th match against Portugal on 16 June.

3. Which country has won the World Cup the most..?
Brazil is the most successful national football team in the history of the World Cup with five championship wins under their belt. Brazil has also qualified for every World Cup without the need for playoffs.

2. When did the World Cup first start..?
The first ever World Cup match was played in Uruguay in 1930. Thirteen teams from around the world competed and the host nation Uruguay became the first ever nation to win the world cup with a 4-2 triumph over Argentina.

1. Why do Brazil play in a yellow kit?
The Brazilian team originally played in a white kit, until they lost the World Cup at home in 1950. The kit was then seen as “cursed” and a campaign was launched to design a new one.

An 18-year-old named Aldyr Garcia Schlee came up with the winning design of yellow and green shirts with blue shorts. The kit was nicknamed the “Canarinha” which means canary.


Premier League Rules

English football rather than the England team can still claim to have had a good World Cup.

The Premier League had by far the highest number of players amongst the eight quarter finalists with 43.

Next was the Bundesliga with 25, Serie A 23, La Liga 15, Ligue 1 15, Erdevise (Holland) 11, and Primera Liga (Portugal ) 7.

The rest of the 45 players were spread across 13 other leagues.


Brazil Do It Wimbledon Style

The argument that Brazil are bruisers rather than Samba stars seems to be backed up by the fact that in their quarter final they committed 31 fouls over 90 minutes – which is the not just the most at this World Cup finals but since Ukraine committed as many against Italy in 2006.

Brazil have also received 10 yellow cards, Costa Rica top the foul play league at the moment with 10 yellows and one red.



Given the level of expectation Brazil have delivered in terms of getting this far – even if it has not been pretty to watch in the way most of us associate them.

In many ways the pragmatic tactics of Big Phil Scolari have been understandable.

David Luiz has said it is unthinkable, at least in the eyes of Brazil fans, not to reach for the final.


It was certainly unthinkable they didn’t get out of their group – and there were some wobbles at that stage – and too most of us it was unthinkable they would not reach the semi-finals.

But what would really be unthinkable is if, now they have reached this far, they set about trying to kick Germany off the park to reach the final.

Surely it must be hoped that having reached this far they attempt to turn on the Samba soccer..?

If not then the notion that this World Cup would be about a Rio carnival of Jogo Bonito would become hokum.

But I suspect it is unthinkable in the mind of Scolari that he would change tactics now, especially in the absence of Neymar.

In his eyes if he is hung on the alter of principle rather fantasy then so be it.

Yet In that respect this is where Brazil, and certainly Scolari, could well finally come unstuck this evening.

Germany, first under Jurgen Klinsman and now Joachim Low, have since losing to Brazil in the 2002 final (amazingly the only previous World Cup meeting between these superpwers) developed a far more expansive, attractive style of play from their old tradition of Vorsprung Durch Technik. It’s now more Uber Fussball if you like.

There is though still plenty of mettle in the German DNA. Don’t underestimate the fact they can still mix it with the best of them when push comes to shove.

If Brazil want to cut up rough again tonight then they are likely to find that Germany have an iron fist behind the velvet glove.


One to Watch:
Sebastian Schweinsteiger. In many ways he is up there with Iniesta and Xavi as the ultimate modern midfielder. Perpetual motion, tenacious, yet blessed with sublime touch and vision.

He has criticised Brazil’s aggression and now it is down to him to prove he has the courage to match and then let his finesse make the difference.

If Schweinsteiger is on top of his game, and he dominates Fernandinho, Germany can beat Brazil.


Beat the Bookie:

Given that Brazil and Germany are two giants of the World Cup it seem incredible that their semi-final clash will only the SECOND time in World Cup history the two superpowers have met at a finals since the tournament began in 1930.

It was in 2002 when Brazil (five times winners) went toe-to-toe with Germany (three times champions) in the final in Nagoya, Japan.

Michael Ballack who was the talisman of their team was suspended for Germany and Brazil, with their three R’s Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, won 2-0.

The same outcome tonight is 12/1.

Think it’ll be a bruising encounter..? Any Brazil player to be sent-off is 6/1.

Brazil to win and both teams to score in 90 minutes is 6/1.

The match to go to penalties is 11/2.

BOBBY’S BET OF THE DAY: Corals also put up an enticing 11/1 for Germany to win 2-1 in 90 minutes.

William Hill offer 20/1 for David Luiz to be top scorer.


World Cup moment:

In 1970 it could have been the first meeting between Germany and Brazil at a World Cup finals.

Having beaten England, Germany were heavily fancied to beat Italy in the semi finals.

But at 90 minutes the game was deadlocked 1-1.

Gerd Muller put Germany into an early lead in extra time and it seemed they would prevail. What unfolded next was extraordinary;

Italy shook of the shackles of their rugged Catanaccio system and it became a nail biting end-to-end clash of Titans.

It reached 3-3. Penalty shoot-outs were not introduced until 1978 so the outcome of the game was heading for the toss of a coin. Really.

So both teams just kept attacking.

German star Franz Beckenbaur had dislocated his shoulder yet was playing with his arm in a sling. Really.

Then with the clock ticking down Gianni Riviera – the pin up of Italian football at the time – scored a winner.

Italy won 4-3 but would lose 4-1 to Brazil in the final.

The match between Italy and Germany though was dubbed “Game of the Century” (as in the 20th century).


Stoichkov Inspires Bulgaria in World Cup Shock Result from 1994



Hristo Stoichkov scores a great freekick as Bulgaria shock Germany in the World Cup of 1994 at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.

Everything was going according to plan for the Germans, leading through a Lothar  Matthäus penalty early in the second half of this World Cup quarter final.

But with just 15 minutes left Stoichkov stepped up and curled home this tremendous freekick to level the game. Three minutes later Bodo Illgner was picking the ball out of the net again after being beaten by the bald head of Yordan Letchkov and his now famous diving header.

It finished 2-1 and against the odds it was Bulgaria and not the World Champion Germans who were in the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Stoichkov scored again in the semi-final, but by that stage Roberto Baggio had already put the Italians two-up with a brace midway through the first half and they held on to make the final, while the Bulgarians would go on to lose the third place match to Sweden.

Stoichkov was one of the stars of that World Cup, a brooding, moody figure whose talent led to a move to Barcelona.


Coach Nielsen Remembered
Danes Will Tell You He Was Probably The Best Manager in the World…

by Rob Shepherd.

No doubt the FA will offer the family and friends of Sir Tom Finney, who passed away last week, a fitting tribute at Wembley when England play Denmark on Wednesday week.

So much has been written and said about Finney already but a fond Wembley farewell is a must.

Richard Moller Nielsen should also be offered respect before the World Cup warm-up.


Danish legend Nielsen passed away last week

Nielsen, who passed away a day before 91-year-old Sir Tom at the age of 76, was in his own way just as much of legend in Danish football as Finney was in the English game. Not as a player – Nielsen by comparison had a modest career – but as a manager.

For those who don’t recall, it was Nielsen who guided Denmark to their greatest achievement, winning the European Championships in 1992.

That such a small nation won the tournament was remarkable in itself. Even more astonishing was that they did so having prepared for the finals on the beach and went all the way to lift the trophy on the booze.

Denmark had failed to qualify for tournament, but just ahead of the finals in Sweden, civil broke out in Yugoslavia, who were forced to withdraw.

England, managed by Graham Taylor, were already at their pre-tournament camp in Finland when it emerged that their opening game would be against the Danes, not Yugoslavia.

At the time it seemed positive news because all Denmark’s players had dispersed for their summer holidays, so surely England would get off to a good start.

But Nielsen rose to the challenge.

He summoned his stars from their sun loungers in Spain, got them over to Sweden, and inspired the squad with a mixture of method and madness.

Danish Dynamite! - Goals from Jensen and Vilfort upset the Germans in the final

Danish Dynamite! – Goals from Jensen and Vilfort upset the Germans in the final

Work hard, play hard was the basic mantra.

Nielsen, who had controversially axed star player Michael Laudrup – but retained brother Brian – forged a team which rose to the occasion despite being less talented than the 1986 World Cup side.

The fierce team spirit was based on team bonding, which Nielsen achieved as much in the bar after games as on the training ground.

After grinding out an unexpected goalless draw with England in the opening game, Nielsen decided to reward his players with a post-match party that went on into the early hours and involved plenty of Carlsberg.

It proved a smorgasbord of success.

From that point on, the players started to feel they were probably the best pub team in the world.

England would fall apart – Swedes 2 Turnips 1– but the Danes just got better.


Richard-Møller-Nielsen, 1937 – 2014

And to complete the Hans Christian Andersen-style fairy tale, they eventually beat the hot favourites Germany in the final 2-0, with John Jensen scoring one of the goals and Peter Schmeichel outstanding between the posts.

But every player in the squad will point to Nielsen as the man that made it all happen.

So let’s hope Wembley offers Richard Moller Nielsen as well as Sir Tom Finney a minute’s applause. And raise a glass.

To get an idea of how big an achievement that success at Euro 92 was, click below;

England’s Triumph in Munich was a Disaster for English Football!

by Rob Shepherd.

Don’t Mention Ze Score!

It was an intro I couldn’t resist when I reflected on England’s 5-1 win over Germany on September 1 2001.

It was an incredible night in Munich. The adrenalin was pumping. It was pay back time for Italia 90, Euro 96 and the last night at the old Wembley when Germany demolished the Twin Towers and Kevin Keegan.

A touch of Fawlty Towers-style jingoism didn’t feel out of place.

To trounce Germany in Bavaria by such a margin was almost surreal.

I think that is why that game more than any other England match is captured best by a picture of an electronic scoreboard.

Soccer - World Cup 2002 Qualifier - Group Nine - Germany v England

Deutschland 1 England 5.

Later some of the players admitted they kept looking up at the neon lights after the final whistle to make sure they weren’t dreaming.

In terms of the record books it will go down as one of England’s all-time great wins. Yet on reflection I suggest it was one of the WORST results in England’s history. And one of Germany’s BEST.

The outcome convinced everyone that Sven Goran Eriksson, in his seventh match in charge of England, was a tactical genius.

And that a crop of very good young-ish players were a ‘Golden Generation’.

But a brave new world proved to be false dawn for England, while at the same time it was a wake-up call for Germany, convincing them they had to change things after their demise at Euro 2000, to erm, Keegan’s England.

Given hindsight it would be churlish to say England just got lucky that night in Munich. It was a tour de force of counter-attacking football.

But it was also one of those games where every time England pressed a button green lights flashed.

It meant that even when, and not long after, Eriksson was prepared to jump ship and go to Manchester United, or when other frequent flirtations seemed to get in the way of his job as England manager, he was fire proof.

Even when Eriksson’s affair with England had outlasted its stay, it was a bit like Rick and Ilsa in Casablanca who always had Paris; Eriksson always had Munich.


England’s smashing of Germany gave Sven Goran Eriksson (left) breathing room

And while the result did put England back on track to qualify for the 2002 World Cup finals after the Keegan regime had lost its way – and it was a night always to remember as well – looking back it proved how one-off, stunning results can be misleading.

So in the wake of defeat against Chile and looking ahead to Tuesday’s tough meeting with Germany, whatever ze score, a sense of perspective is needed.
It’s not what a team does ahead of a tournament, it’s what they actually do when they get there.

And in terms of expectation, another potential bloody nose for England at Wembley on Tuesday against Germany, a decade on, would not necessarily be a bad thing.

England often do best when expectations are low. In the wake of that seismic night in Munich expectations for that era became far too high.

More to the point, the powers that be at the FA might look into what measures the Germans took after they were caught with their lederhosen down on that mad night in Munich.


The odds on England beating Germany 5-1 again are understandably long at 200/1, with the German’s priced at 100/1 to turn the tables to that extent.

More likely, if you think Germany will win, is a repeat of notable success in 1972 when they effectively knocked England out of the European Championships with a 3-1 win at Wembley.

It was a night when Germany wore green shirts and England were left green with envy of a German midfield maestro called Gunter Netzer who ran the game in the rain.

3-1 again is 16/1, a German win 5/4.

England to win? That is 2/1.

The draw? That’s priced at 5/2

1-1 is 11/2 and 2-2, which could be worth a tickle, is 12-1.


Odds from Bet 365

Deutsche Snazz!
The Kit That United a Nation


Handy Andy: Brehme scored the winner from the spot in the final


Team:  West Germany

Home or Away:  Home

Years Active:  1990-1992

As Worn By:  Jürgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthaus, Rudi Völler, Andreas Brehme, Pierre Littbarski, Olaf Thon, & Thomas Hässler



Organised. Efficient. Predictable; That’s the stereotypical view of the Germans.

So when they graced Italia ’90 with this rather fetching number the world gasped in collective surprise.

But this wasn’t the Germany of old. The Berlin wall came down just a few months before the 1990 World Cup, so there was an electric atmosphere all over Germany at the time, and Adidas delivered a kit for the the national side to wear in the tournament that matched the sense of history the soon to be officially unified nation was experiencing.

And so it came to pass, rather fittingly perhaps, that Germany (officially still West Germany due to the qualification process beginning two years before) lifted the 1990 World Cup – Albeit in a somewhat organised, efficient and predictable manner…

Rate this kit: Is it Wunderbar or just plain Scheiße…???