Subject: [R] Some impressions from Germany-Brasil Date: 26 Mar 1998 03:39:00 -0700 From: email@example.com (Ariel Mazzarelli) Once again, we see that futbol is a cruel game. Germany did more or less what they wanted to do against Brasil and lost 2-1. Brasil did nothing of what they wanted to do except score more goals than their opponent. For those that like to invent conspiracies, I suggest that they investigate whether Romario was abducted by extraterrestrials for most of the game. It is hard to find a better explanation for the fact that he did not show up on the TV screen over stretches lasting around half an hour. Jurgen Kohler demonstrated the German strategical tradition of accepting a short term loss for a long term gain when he tried to cripple Cafu. A few minutes earlier, Kohler had unsuccessfully attempted to cleave Ronaldo's Achilles tendon and the referee had surprisingly let him go cardless. The TV commentators seemed to think that Kohler had made a bad mistake, but I kept thinking of those inexplicable German performances of the past which had miraculously placed them in a stronger position than if they had played up to their usual level (e.g. 8-3 defeat to Hungary in the 1954 WC in which they mauled Puskas and whomever else looked menacing, 1974 WC loss against East Germany which put West Germany in the joke bracket and sent their gullible cross-curtain neighbors into the group with Netherlands, Argentina and Brasil, 2-0 loss against Denmark in 1986 WC which led to the easiest available bracket whilst Denmark got fisted by Espa~a). Now it is an old observation that a friendly match a few weeks before the World Cup is an excellent opportunity to go out and break a leg, and clearly the Germans were going to avail themselves of the opportunity. Berti Vogts was the master of stone-facedness after the game, pretending to be angry at Kohler for his hasty red card. Go easy on the kid, Berti, he'll learn! Fortunately for Cafu, Kohler's ploy failed, and he had a good game. Andy Moeller did not have a good game. As a matter of fact, he had such a bad game that he would have probably preferred to be in the same transporter room that kept beaming out Romario. I lost count of the bad passes that Moeller made, but I estimate at least three excellent attacking chances were wasted when Moeller reached the decisive 30 meters with teammates on both wings and rather than shoot or give them the ball Moeller rolled it harmlessly to a random brasuca. If the referee had seen fit to grade Moeller's technique with the same critical eye that he had for Dunga's, there would have been a third red card on the evening. Which leads me to the second red card. Dunga. Dunga, Dunga, Dunga. I should first comment on how the game had evolved. The germans were spanking the brasucas around, and from min. 15 to 20 in the first half, there were four very high probability chances that were wasted either because the ball was kicked either where Taffarel could reach it or where no one could ever ever reach it. Bierhoff in particular showed a generous attitude as he tried to donate several pelotas to the crowd. So as the brasucas were beginning to think of excuses and insults to share with each other, Koepke made an elementary mistake and gave up a needless corner kick. Then the man marking Cesar Sampaio in the area, whose name escapes me, was so keen on making sure that he would foul the brasuca by pushing and grabbing the shirt and all the other technical refinements that are permitted when an opponent is close to one's own goal, that when the ball actually arrived Sampaio had absolutely no other thing to do than to stand where he stood and let the ball fall on top of his head and glide perfectly near the upper corner of the near post. The TV commentator gushed forth about what a great goal it was, I suppose because of where the ball went, but as I looked at the replay time and time again it looked like Sampaio was a prisoner being dragged around by a bullying guard and being forced to stand on the spot where the ball was going to land. If that's a great goal, well, it is a Chaplinesque greatness. Soon after that, the English referee grew weary of the German medical lessons and ejected Kohler. The half came to an end with the brasucas unable to control the game even though they had an extra player, but of course they did not really have an extra player because Romario was boozing it up with Captain Kirk for most of the half. So in the second half the German wiliness is seen again. By now it was clear that there would be trouble if any more knee exams were carried out, and so the victimizers became the victims. Now, think hard: if you need to score against the brasucas, and thus need the ball, and they have an extra player, who ya gonna call? Dunga, Dunga, Dunga. During the first half, Dunga had made a point of letting the fine English referee know that in the Dunga hierarchy, he did not deserve the whistle. Dunga then proceeded to lash out at what was arguably the most likely german red card recipient sans Kohler, and for that Dunga got a yellow card and the german got the referee's sympathies for the remainder of the game. But a mind like Dunga's is not satisfied with such a trifling creativity. So when the second half was under way and the usual scheme in these circumstances was scripted--brasucas hold the ball for 45 minutes, maybe take a shot or two, and frustrate the europponent--genius spoke up. The referee knew it was hopeless as long as Brasil held the lead on goals and on players? No problem. Germans likely to open up further weaknesses as the game progresses if they cannot touch the ball? We can fix that. To these questions and many others that us mere mortals will never be able to pose properly, Dunga had the answer: come up from behind Kirsten about 40 meters away from the goal on a fairly innocuous play and make sure the referee hears you cursing as you fly in and land on the opponent's hip. A few minutes after that, Kirsten fought through Aldair's running obstruction and toed a quick kill past Taffarel. A little gem. The remainder of the game consisted of the Germans doing stuff so that Moeller could piss it away, and Romario making a cameo appearance five minutes before he was replaced by Bebeto. Then as the end drew near, Moeller made yet another ridiculous pass, and this time Roberto Carlos made him pay by dashing up the field, catching the defense completely off-balance, and threading a perfect through ball for Ronaldo to run onto and do his thing. Koepke had no chance and so the brasucas steal a win without any serious injuries. A special mention to Klinsmann, who played an inspired 45 minutes and reminded us of his better days. He participated in the defense, in the midfield, and in the attack, and gave Bierhoff at least two excellent chances with some heady passing near the penalty area. This Klinsmann for 90 minutes, and an on-form Hassler instead of Moeller as No. 10 can make this team click.