Thursday, 7 July 2016

The Last Four Part Two

In reality after Portugal's comfortable victory last night, we are now down to three teams and today we are looking forward to another installment of the rivalry which stretches back two thousand years between the Gallic nation and the confederation of German tribes.

But before we preview this game, I just want to mention the bizarre penalty shootout that occurred between Germany and Italy in their quarter final on Saturday night. 

The Nationalmannschaft have not lost a penalty shootout in forty years, and as Thomas Muller stepped up to take the second German kick, the commentator invoked the commentators curse by kindly informing us that Germany had scored Twenty One consecutive penalties. 

The Nationalmannschaft went on to miss two more penalties, an unprecedented occurrence, yet still manged to win thanks to Italian ineptitude of the grandest scale.

I don't know if many of you are familiar with the equestrian discipline known as Dressage, but watch the following clips and  see if you can find any similarities between Zaza (the Italian culprit), and what you will see in the second clip. 

Blazing saddles from Zaza

In the next clip, skip to one minute forty seconds, you don't need to watch for long to get the idea, although you may enjoy the skill on show.

2012 Gold medal winning performance

It is quite obvious that Zaza had been getting ready to watch the upcoming Rio Olympics and had thought he was a horse who could dance.

I actually feel sorry for Zaza, he has become a figure of ridicule and has spawned a whole host of spoof clips based on his prancing. Here is one of the best.

Zaza Spoof

I do not think that many people realize that the state of Germany, as we more or less know it today, has only been in existence for less than one hundred and fifty years. In July 1870,  a conflict known as the Franco-Prussian war broke out between a Prussian lead German confederation of states and France. 

The outcome was a disaster for France, Paris fell, their leader Napoleon III was captured and the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine were occupied by the victors. 

In January of 1871, the empire of Germany was established with Wihelm as Kaiser and Otto Von Bismarck  as chancellor. 

Two things can be surmised from this conflict. Firstly, here were where the real seeds of the first world war were planted.
Secondly, in Bismarck's vision of a unified Germany, one can see where the favourite Nazi slogan of  Ein Volk, Ein Reich and Ein Fuhrer (One People, one Empire, one Ruler) came from.

For France to overcome, yet another German invasion tonight, they are going to have to dig deep and remain steadfast, not qualities they are usually well known for. 

What they need to do, literally, is to call on the spirit of the last place they managed the above mentioned, which was one hundred years ago at the battle of Verdun. 

The battle of the Somme which I mentioned on Friday was launched in part to help relieve the pressure the French were under at Verdun. 

Nearly eight hundred thousand men died in that battle which became a symbol synonymous with French fortitude, which is not surprising really seeing as how they are so few and far between.

They have done battle before on the football field, but the only really memorable clash took place in the semi final of the world cup of 1982. 
This is a game that will never be forgotten, not because it ended three all after extra time, or because the Germans won the penalty shoot out. (No surprise there)
No, the defining event was the near decapitation of the French substitute Dominique Battiston by the German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher. 
The clip below which includes interviews with some of the French players is excellent as it also gives us an insight into the minds of the French players and the inner fear they had of the Germans. The comments at 5.35 and 7.05 into the video sum this up to perfection.

France v W Germany 1982

Will home advantage help give the French the edge, or will their mental weakness trip them up once again?  We shall all be wiser this evening, hopefully after an exciting game. 
I am going with the Nationalmannschaft.


  1. great tackle by shumacher tho

  2. Best of luck Martial + Patrice Evra.

  3. that bit with the dressage was brilliant