Friday, 25 June 2010
And I am sure that will be the first of many war related puns that will fire from nearly every media cannon, as England make there way to Bloemfontein, where hostilities with the ze Germans will once again be reopened.
Finally, after the embarrassment of the gifted equaliser against the US, and the barely watchable stalemate with Algeria, Capello has managed to find the illusive key to unlock the psychological shackles that seem to cripple England when ever they reach a major tournament. Almost from the first whisle, England seemed to play with far greater freedom against the Slovenia in the deciding final group match.
To label the performance, as something that would give promise to World Cup glory would be a slight overstatement, but it did prove that when England can get beyond the underwear soiling pressure, they are capable of producing something close to the football we see week in week out in the Premiership.
After the game the relief and joy that beamed from Fabio Capello's face, whilst giving an interview was palpable. "The mind is free" Capello exclaimed, before being baffled by a question that described England's performance as being released from shackles.
For a short time the minds of England's players are free to run unabated from the penitentiary they usually reside in. However, if the opening round was enough to lock 'em up, then the predictable engagement with Germany, is sure to throw away the key. This is a rivalry, that the Germans, always seem to have a psychological strangle hold over England.
The worst aspect of the rivalry, besides it being so one-sided in favour of the Germans, is that in their minds, England are note even seen as a rival. It ceases to exist. Something that was revealed to me in dry, flippant demeanor by a German friend and his compatriots over some beers last year. There I was, half cut after one to many bier's, surrounded by Germans that towered over me as though I were a school boy lost in the staff room of a German school. Admittedly, and with reason, feeling some what inferior to the friendly giants traipsing around me, drinking beers by the gallon, I mustered up the courage to mention the fierce rivalry between us and the Germans. Citing that the war, penalty shoot outs loses since Italia 90 and the 5-1 win in Munich had conspired to create hatred both ways. To which, astoundingly was met with a shrug of the shoulders, a chuckle and genuine confusion. "No, we do not see Ingland as rivals" they bellowed. "No (I could say nien for added dramatic affect but I will resist), we hate the Dutch." So, I asked "why this hatred for the dutch, and not England?" Almost jealous in my curiosity. The answer to which was that apparently, the Dutch use their motorways during the holidays season, and drive to slowly on the autobahn. By this point all I could do was cry in to my German Beer. Bloody dutch and their slow driving, stealing our rivalry.
So, If we do managed to over come the psychological warfare that the Germans will no dealt inflict upon us, albeit unwittingly, it will be an empty victory. Therefore we will have to reminisce on the Falklands, with the prospects of Argy-bargy potentially waiting in the Quarters.