Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Deutschland Uber Alles

Any respectable football lover can not let the events of the 8th of July 2014 go by without comment. The title refers to the now not used, but so well known first lines of the German National Anthem, Germany above everybody, everybody in the world.

It was an example of Blitzkrieg at its most brutal, Heinz Guderian (German general WWII) would have been proud. 5-0 after half an hour, 4 goals in the space of 6 minutes, a well oiled machine relentlessly and ruthlessly crushing all resistance it its path.

Last night you could have mistaken the Brazilians for the French in terms of their abject surrender.

In the words of Simon and Garfunkel "I'd rather be a hammer than a nail" and as I sit here in Israel typing these words, under a rain of rockets, I'd rather be in Israel than in Rio.

Does this result have a wider significance and how did it happen ?

Already last night, the fans were signing songs against the incumbent Brazilian president, whose popularity had received a boost as the tournament started. According to a colleague of mine whose wife is Brazilian, her whole family went home at half time in fear of violence in the streets.

The BBC has pictures showing fans fleeing in sheer panic from the Copa Cabana beach in Rio. We may not yet see a repeat of last year's civil disobedience, but after the final on Sunday, who knows?
The world won't care until the build up begins to the Olympics in 2016 which are also due to be held in Rio.

As to the football, ze Shermans, as we wrote yesterday, are the most consistent team in world football, but they never played with very much flair.. The joke used to be, that football is a game played for 90 minutes by 2 teams and ze Shermans always win 1-0.

However now the influx of the children of the Gastarbeiter who I have already referred to, have managed to fuse the traditional German values of discipline and efficiency with their extra flair which makes for a lethal combination. This is also true for a number of other nations in Europe, Switzerland, France and Belgium to name but 3 who have integrated immigrants and improved accordingly.

Brazil on the other hand, have other problems, lots of them not all to do with football, but which in an indirect way affect football.

Football is a global village and Brazilians because of the tradition and reputation of their footballers are a hot commodity. Young Brazilians players are leaving Brazil at an increasing rate at very young ages to play in all the leagues round the world, because of course if you are Brazilian, you must be good.

For a young Brazilian from the Favelas (Brazilian slums), the chance to escape the poverty and get rich quick is too good to be true. This trend has a negative side for the development of those said players. They leave Brazil before they have fully developed their abilities and are then open to mainly European influences which tend to stifle their natural Brazilian tendencies.

So can they bounce back?  probably, but I think it will take a long and Brazil maybe heading for a long stay in the footballing wilderness, which will not be a good thing for a country with such economic difficulties who are used to using the success of their football team as a form of escapism.

Check back soon for a preview of tonight's semi-final.


  1. to be fair everyone is jumping on the "bash brazil bandwago-" but this is a country who clearly in an off cycle, still made it to the semifinals of the world cup. they are one of the top 5 ranked teams in the world. they got crushed by a team that had everything clicking for one night- the germans hadnt looked that good since the first game perhaps. and brazil was missing its best player on offense and its leader on defense. not sure we should be writing the requiem just yet.

  2. Hope your buddy Anne Coulter didn't see this picture of Luiz.

  3. In reply to sjmybt
    The requiem had been written before this game. The fact that Germany were the bookies favourites speaks volumes about how weak this Brazil team is. In a home semi-final, with the backing of an entire nation, even a half decent Brazil team should have been the bookies favourites.
    The match itself showed starkly what people had been saying all through the tournament, Brazil have an uninspiring attack, a defence that appeared to have never played together and a midfield who were so easily overran. Like Ronaldo for Portugal, Neymar papers over the cracks of a what is a very poor team.
    In reality, this defeat may prove to be a good thing for Brazil in the long run as it will force them to take a long look at both their team and their tactics.

    1. all good points. and i'm not sure i disagree. nevertheeless there are 28 other teams that playing at the absolute top of their game (see wiggi's form vs class comment) didnt make it that far. from the comfort of my couch- they were lacking a competent striker to join forces with neymar. and the defense that had been reasonably stout coming in just fell apart. they have 4 years to fix this. i would not count them out

    2. 100% agree, I wouldnt rule them out for 4 years time either, but then I'm not even ruling England completely out for that tournament yet!
      Its not just the extra striker, its full backs who know how to defend, a midfield who can pass and tackle and David Luiz playing like a defender rather than the attacking midfielder he seems to think he is!
      With Brazil's history and footballing conveyor belt, they will always have a team who can compete at major tournaments, but last night (and the games against Chile and Columbia) showed that this Brazil team is far less competitive than previous years.