There are plenty of sound (and maybe not so sound) reasons why the French should forget about supporting their national team as they face Germany, arguably the more entertaining and therefore worthy team to go through to the semi-finals.
At 6pm on Friday, France will face Germany, their “favourite enemy” (after England of course) in the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup.
France have a score to settle after their bitter semi-final defeats at German hands in 1982 and 1986. Will they get their revenge? The nation holds its breath.
Putting aside the spirit of revenge for one moment, the German side does in fact have much to offer French supporters looking for genuine entertainment as the tournament progresses.
The German are the gentlemen
The French team hasn’t exactly played clean this year.
A vicious double tackle on Ogenyi Onazi in the last 16 left the Nigerian with a nasty ankle injury and a trip off the pitch on a stretcher.
Switzerland’s Steve von Bergen fared even worse when facing France in the group stage: a boot to his head knocked him out of the game and gave him a ticket for an immediate return home for treatment on a serious eye injury.
The Germans, meanwhile, have been (almost) perfect gentlemen on the pitch, collecting just two yellow cards during the World Cup.
They are one of the least aggressive teams in the competition, and at the same time they play a hard game. Isn’t that worth a tiny bit of support?
Germany are the kings of comedy
In the 82nd minute of Germany’s match against Algeria, Joachim Löw’s team prepared for a sophisticated set-piece free kick in striking distance of the Algerian goal.
It was one of the classic moments of the competition. Mesut Özil, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller surrounded the ball. Who was going to take the kick?
In the end, it wasn’t Müller, who seemed to trip over his own feet as he ran towards the ball and fell flat on his face, only to bounce back up and go charging headlong into the Algerian defence.
After the game Germany’s Benedikt Höwedes claimed Müller’s bizarre antics were a deliberate attempt to throw the Algerian defence off balance.
If it’s true, then German psychological tactics are light-years ahead. France have a hard – if not impossible – act to follow in terms of pure on-pitch entertainment.
It’s all about Angela
Let’s say it loud and clear: we cannot deprive the world of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s extraordinary outbursts of joy when Germany put one in the back of the net.
Yes, France’s President François Hollande’s support and enthusiasm for national teams is always correct to a fault. But he doesn’t have a scratch on Merkel.
The dour and austere politician has evidently undergone some arduous training to transform her into the hysterically overjoyed fan, clapping furiously, smiling continuously and posing for selfies with her handsome footballing heroes.
Clearly, she is at the heart of Germany’s success. Her efforts should be rewarded.
And also about the goalies
In many ways, the stars of the 2014 World Cup have been the goalkeepers. Nigeria’s Vincent Enyeama, Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa and Algeria’s Raïs M'Bolhi have all received high and well-deserved praise for outstanding performances.
Germany’s Manuel Neuer is a case apart. The man has an uncanny ability to be everywhere at once, as he showed in his extraordinary performance against Algeria, saving goals one second, then morphing into a sweeper outside the box, and finally into a playmaker.
As French magazine So Foot put it, 57% of Brazil is covered by rainforest, the rest by Manuel Neuer.
A man like that is capable of scoring the winning goal in a World Cup final – there’s no doubt about it.
With that kind of brilliance on offer, Germany are a team who deserve to go through to the semis, and tough luck to France.
And because it’s always nice…to support the winning team when the final whistle blows.
Date created : 2014-07-04